Imran Khan should show some flexibility and accommodation as an Opposition politician.
Imran Khan, has been no ordinary Prime Minister. His enormous following, especially amongst the youth, borders on idolizing and hero-worship. His autocratic and authoritative style of governance, marginal performance, contempt for the opposition leaders bordering on hate and taking a tough position against the US without valid reason has left a mixed legacy with consequences for the country. It would not be far-fetched to assume that Khan, subconsciously or consciously has been influenced by leaders who stood up to the US, like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Fidel Castro. These leaders of developing countries fed their people with hope, nourished their egos and built their national pride but the countries went bankrupt and people eventually suffered. The PTI government’s management and especially its handling of the economy was a huge disappointment. Imran Khan, however, refuses to accept his government’s short-comings in being unable to lift the economy and considers it was part of a larger plot that he was removed from office. He now seeks to play the role of a fearless opposition leader arousing people’s sentiments against the national and global order.
Imran Khan refuses to accept the fact that the dissident PTI parliamentarians were disillusioned with his leadership as it was not sensitive to the economic hardships their electorate were facing. And the bleak prospects they were anticipating of their political survival in case serious attention is not paid to redressing the economic situation and improving governance.
What is of serious concern is that Imran’s feeding his followers with a narrative that has no basis and its negative ramifications are both domestic and external. The foreign office and the security establishment had clearly stated that the memo was a routine or a common feature in diplomatic working and should not be blown out of proportion. The National Security Committee, NSC, after reviewing the contents of the communication and deliberating on it, maintained its original finding that there was no foreign conspiracy. But Imran Khan was not prepared to accept any decision that is contrary to his line of thinking. This is a sure prescription of promoting a lawless polity where leaders themselves are breaking the law. For Imran Khan the manuscript became an expedient vehicle to launch his movement against the government, the establishment and judiciary with scant regard for the sanctity of the Constitution and the highly adverse consequences that could follow. It would not be an exaggeration that he was playing with fire and dragging the country into chaos for short term political gains.
The writer is a retired lieutenant general of the Pakistan Army and a former federal secretary. He has also served as chairman of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories Board.