Writing on the Wall
Is Pakistan headed towards further chaos? The coming times are pregnant with possibilities.
April 10, 2022 - a date to be remembered in the political history of Pakistan. It has changed various perceptions and people’s perspectives about state institutions. After a long blame game, raising controversial stories and unveiling state institutions, Imran Khan met the same fate of leaving the government. It was an unprecedented move when, for the first time in the political history of Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted from power after losing a no-confidence vote. To date, not a single prime minister has ever completed a full five-year parliamentary tenure in Pakistan.
However, he seems to have left behind a cult following that mostly comprises youth and educated people. For them, Imran Khan alone has created a legacy of resistance and defiance against the powers that be, whether local or international. If this is true, how will this mass perception impact the future course of action in Pakistan’s politics? Will this popular opinion have a make-or-break impact on general elections? Will it redefine the limits of the functioning of the Judiciary, the Parliament, the Establishment, Administration and Media? Will it bring coherence or chaos?
To answer all of these questions, it is important to reflect on the political term of the Imran Khan government. He is a popular leader but due to his misgovernance and bad economic management, he was losing his popularity. Sustained policies were required to overcome the financial burden of the state and drag it out of economic insecurity but with frequent changes, it was not possible. One cannot deny the fact that the state faced issues related to the pandemic. Though the pandemic was handled well, economic challenges associated with it were poorly managed. Imran required potential and suitable manpower to deal with the issues skillfully but he failed.
Another serious blunder was his team going into the IMF program. The conditions of the IMF program were the harshest ever in the history of Pakistan, especially it had a fragile economy. The PKR experienced a free fall, interest rates skyrocketed, utility prices shot up, and life became unaffordable and painful. As a result, Imran’s popularity nose-dived. People were disappointed in his policies and weak government. Overall, he failed to keep his promises of punishing the corrupt that happened to be his pre-election mantra. But he lost the local bodies election in KP and was bound to lose the next general election.
The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of Government and Public Policy, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, National University of Sciences and Technology. She can be reached at email@example.com