Challenges before Imran Khan
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By VBN Ram
Issue Net Edition | Date : 01 Aug , 2018

The results declared by Pakistan’s Election Commission –place Imran Khan’s PTI as having secured 116 seats-out of the needed 137. As is planned by his party, the deficit will be cobbled up by clubbing up independents and some small political factions.

Imran Khan won on a doctored pitch at a time, when, for a fresh and “perceived to be clean” political leadership there was a nation-wide itch and an opaque, transparency lacking ecosystem ( deliberately crushing former Prime-Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Mariyam Nawaz ) was set-up by the deep State (ISI-Military) –so that its diktats remain unchallenged by a toothless Imran.

Boss-Subordinate relationship, the world over- and since antiquity rest on the premise that there will be no insubordination by the subordinate, therefore, the deep state in Pakistan after learning its lessons since Pakistan’s creation and more particularly during the three Prime-Ministerial tenures of Nawaz Sharif –specifically his latest, which witnessed episodes such as the Dawn Leaks ( which referred to the inaction by the Pakistan Army to contain terrorists ) and the references made by former Prime-minister Sharif to non state Pakistani elements foisting the Mumbai terror attack – were perceived to be blatantly provocative acts by the military, and consequently, the latter designed the political pitch to ensure that Imran Khan’s guggly gets rest of the political batting clean bowled due to them being comprehensively clueless.

According to Dawn: “Mr. Khan has tried to put his and PTI’s best foot forward, but the ECP has delivered a stunningly disastrous performance. The shocking mismanagement of the process of counting and announcing results at the polling stations has made it necessary that the entire ECP leadership resign after election formalities are completed and a high level enquiry be conducted at the earliest.” This newspaper has been far more forgiving of the ECP bloopers than all the political parties save the victorious PTI. Said Shehbaz Sharif – Chief of PML-N “ even for a sulah pasand (conciliatory) person like me this is a bit too much and we reject the result “

The above undemocratic and unjust act has galvanized all political parties –other than PTI , these parities met to work out a joint action plan to challenge the poll results and call for a free and fair re-election. This demand has been initiated by Jammat Ulema –e- Islam ( JUI-F ) represented by Senator Sirajul Haq; Sind Governor Mohammad Zubair; Gilgit Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman ; Azad Kashmir Prime-Minister Raja Farooq Haider ; Awami Nation Party Chief Asfanddar Wali Khan ; Qaumi Watan Party ( QWP ) Chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao and National Party President Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo and several MMA leaders, among others.

Those who attended the aforesaid meeting decided to refrain from taking the oath of office.

However, as per the latest news reports, Imran Khan’s PTI –has got a reprieve, since some political factions influenced by Bilawal Bhutto’s PPP have refused to join the bandwagon of the “ no oath takers “

Pertaining to the above PML-N Chief Shehbaz Sharif has, in an address to the media said he has sought time for consultation with party leadership on the specific issue of refusing to take oath, while on the rest of the protest plan- his party has fully endorsed the decisions taken. He has said he will make his decision known after his party leadership has taken a stand in this regard.

Many senior Pakistani journalists opine that the losing candidates with margins slightly more than 10,000 votes or thereabouts, will petition the courts for justice, if the Election Commission does not order a recount.

To say all of the above does not bode well for Pakistan’s democracy is a gross-under-estimation. The entire issue has to be seen in the light of the defeat of the militant parties which have been mainstreamed in Pakistan’s politics in the recently held polls. They, despite the assertive military and the uncaring judiciary, will be more than a match for the deep state, the latter having to depend on the political crumps of the former. Such a situation, therefore, is an existential threat both for themselves as well as for a relatively untrained and politically unsavvy Imran Khan.

The aforesaid has been graphically illustrated by Sen. Sehar Kamran, who, writing in The Nation has candidly stated “ over the past year a new peculiarity has emerged in the aftermath to Operation Rah-e-Rast , Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasad. Some militant organizations have been seeking to move more legitimate political platforms……… For a country like Pakistan where democracy remains fragile, this phenomenon is extremely dangerous. “

Pakistan’s Election Commission, in league with the third umpire, the deep state did everything except adhering to the Constitutionally mandated norms of conducting the polls. The most fundamental flaw being, not allowing the duly authorized representative of political parties to be present at the time of counting. It is noteworthy this is a complete negation of the concept of a “ free and fair election. “ In many constituencies many of the eligible voters were debarred from entering the polling booths and exercising their franchise (this makes vast sections of the eligible electorate disenfranchised ) this again is a mockery of a free and fair election.

IMF Bailout:

Pakistan is a bankrupt nation with foreign reserves of less than $ 9 billion, which can at best meet two months of imports. The conditionality for a bailout would place such stipulations on fiscal and monetary discipline, which would be really hard to adhere to even by states on a sounder financial track. To make matters worse Pakistan has been put on the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) due to its terrorist connections (which chokes its financial and banking inflows)

Imran Khan should not be under the delusion that the Kashmir issue will be resolved on his terms. Even the CPEC, sooner, rather than later will wreck Pakistan’s financial framework, as has been the plight of other neighbouring countries courting China.

The observers of the recently conducted polls , especially those from the EU, have unequivocally dismissed Pakistan Election Commission’s unsubstantiated claim that the polls were “ free and fair “

The portends are ominous, what is called for is political maturity and financial discipline, both of which are lacking.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author


Postgraduate in business management from XLRI Jamshedpur, is widely travelled and immensely interested in and concerned about contemporary geostrategic developments. He has been a China watcher and has researched extensively on Asia-Pacific affairs. He has also written on developments in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Maldives.

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