The historic victory of Imran Khan’s narratives
PTI penetrates Punjab, destroys PML-N’s myth
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All political forecasts, estimates and predictions fizzled out when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won by-elections on 20 provincial assembly seats with a landslide claiming 15 of them. This is how it got a licence to oust the short-lived PML-N and its allies' government any time of its choice. All analysis of anchors in television talk shows proved wrong. Well done Imran Khan.
All those who thought Imran Khan’s PTI was brought to power with the tacit support of the Establishment in the 2018’s general elections were found looking for words to avoid the embarrassment including this scribe.
But the question is how could Imran Khan do all this despite having been ousted from the government well before the end of its tenure. He built two narratives that attracted the attention of the people at the grass-root level. Firstly, the Anti-Establishment narrative through which he was held responsible for all the eventualities that led to the success of the Vote of No Confidence against him as Prime Minister.
Imran Khan was keen to promote Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to the position of next Chief of Army Staff that not only annoyed the sitting chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa but sent ripples to the rank and files of the Pakistan Army. He also meddled in transfers and postings of senior generals that were resisted. Needless to say that it is not in the DNA of the Armed Forces to allow any outsider in this process.
Secondly, he exploited the Anti-Americanism sentiments in the minds of the people at large accusing American official Donald Lu of threatening the Pakistani Ambassador to the United States of serious consequences if the then Opposition initiated Vote of No Confidence motion was not allowed to pass. This Cypher was received in the first week of March and was kept under the arm for three weeks that Imran Khan waved in a public rally in Islamabad. He accused the United States Administration of hatching a conspiracy in collaboration with the Opposition parties. He also accused the American diplomats of regularly meeting with his party members of the National Assembly who changed their loyalties and had decided to vote in favour of the Vote of No Confidence.
Imran Khan remained consistent with these above-stated narratives. During his election campaign before the by-election in Panjab, he overstated them attracting the attention of the general public as well as the voters.
Besides this, IK kept targeting the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in particular and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in general for manipulating interference in the recently held by-elections. He did not mince his words and said on several occasions that he had no faith in the CEC accusing him as a facilitator of the PML-N though without any evidence.
Why would Imran Khan take confronted position against the Chief Election Commissioner is very simple to understand. His foreign funding case has been pending with the Election Commission for more than six years and the current situation is that the CEC has saved the judgement and the same could be pronounced any day any time.
IK and his party’s position is that PTI’s foreign funding case be decided along with the PPP and the PML-N against whom petitions have been filed with the Election Commission.
After victory in the Punjab by-elections, Imran Khan has toughened his stance and is stressing the need for urgent general elections demanding from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announce the date for fresh polls.
But the leadership of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) that met in Lahore under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has resolved that there was no question of early elections and the National Assembly would complete its tenure.
In addition to this, the PDM meeting also resolved that all component parties would join hands to save Hamza Shehbaz Sharif’s government in Punjab using all constitutional means at its disposal.
The political situation in the country is far from being stable given every day the worsening situation of the national economy. Besides the fact that an agreement with the International Monetary Funds (IMF) has been signed, the funds have not yet been released. Political instability would further deepen the crisis.