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Imran Khan Clings to Power after Losing Majority Keeping Pakistan's Tradition of a Leader Never Completing Term Alive.

MG is a keen political observer and commentator who has a ringside seat to the turbulent years of the present political scenario

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Background

Pakistan has had a long tortuous history ever since its inception in 1947. Starting with the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan in 1951, to the removal of Nawaz Sharif in 2018, no Pakistan Prime Minister has ever completed his term. It is disconcerting to note that all the Prime Ministers of Pakistan have either been shot dead, murdered, hanged by a farcical judicial trial, or simply removed before completion of their term. Pakistan has a dubious distinction as the only country where no Prime Minister has ever completed his term. I wonder if Pakistan would like to consider this as a record to be proud of.

A look at the list of removed prime ministers reveals a macabre fact; A tale of death and destruction more like a dark tragedy from Shakespeare like Macbeth, Hamlet, Cymbaline, Julius Ceasor; a list that cannot be hidden. Topping the list is the gruesome hanging off Zulfikar Ali Bhutto after a kangaroo trial in the middle of the night in Rawalpindi Jail and blowing to smithereens of his daughter Benazir Bhutto with the connivance of the Pakistan president after a public meeting.

The same game has started again and the present incumbent Imran Khan, a political lightweight who had been positioned by the army to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan is now on the verge of being removed. The army has given the green signal for the removal of Khan who is fighting tooth and nail and cooking up all stories to try and remain in power.

Imran Loses Majority

The previous Prime Minister Navaz Sharif was removed after the army became uncomfortable with his style. The fact that under his regime the previous president of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf was sentenced to death for treason to the nation and connivance in the murder of Benazir Bhutto was the added impetus. The army in Pakistan is referred to as the establishment has been calling the shots since 1958 when General Ayub Khan carried out a military coup and promulgated martial law. As things stand the establishment has a constitutional rule in the governance of Pakistan, which is unheard of in any democratic country.

The army brought up the charges against Nawaz Sharif and got him sentenced to 10 years in prison but on a bargain- plea was allowed to go to England in exile.

The army positioned Imran Khan as the Prime Minister of Pakistan and he expressed his gratitude to the army chief General Bajwa by giving him a three-year extension. But Imran Khan was a total failure as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He had been a famous cricket player who was captain of the Pakistan cricket team but playing a cricket match is a different game from being the Prime Minister of a diverse country like Pakistan; instead of leading Pakistan forward, he was bending backwards to be on the right side of extremist groups. He thought he was very clever when he stoked the embers of obscurantism by publicly stating that the blasphemy laws were essential for Pakistan. Many Pakistanis want the laws scrapped.

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Imran Khan also built up euphoria in the country in favor of the Taliban and girls were encouraged to sing songs like "Salam Taliban." All this evaporated within 30 days when the Pakistan Taliban, a sister concern of the Afghan Taliban launched attacks on the Pakistan army all over; in addition, there was a border clash between the Taliban forces of Afghanistan and the Pakistan army.

His worst performance was on the economic front where the Pakistan rupee has been devalued immensely. There is runaway inflation and Pakistan does not have money to even service its debt payments. It has been put on the grey list for terror financing by FATA and the country has lost prestige in the World. Imran Khan is one of the singular leaders of the world to whom Joe Biden has not even spoken once during the last two years. He put all his eggs in the Chinese basket and now has mortgaged its economy to China and China is extracting its pound of flesh.

The army saw the drift and realised they had done a mistake in putting Imran Khan in the Prime Minister's chair and with a little encouragement the opposition was able to unite and have pressed for a no-confidence motion against Imran Khan. Imran Khan however has not thrown in the towel and he's fighting tooth and nail and bribing members of his own party who have left him to come back.

Imran Khan has also angered the army when in a public speech he referred to the army's neutralism as akin to the action of an animal. Imran Khan is now dodging holding the parliamentary session and one can expect any number of fireworks from him but whatever happens sooner than later he will become a postscript in Pakistan politics which in a way will be good for Pakistan. Though I dare say the leader who's likely to replace him Shahbaz Sharif is no angel himself.

Epilogue:the land of Hades

If you look at the history of Pakistan for the last 75 years, one does not see any encouraging signs. I do not recollect any Pakistani leader who could comfortably complete his tenure whether he be an army general or a civilian. Apart from the removal of the civilian PMs, the presidents of Pakistan have also nothing to show. Iskander Mirza was exiled to London, Yahiya Khan remained in house arrest, Zia Ul-Haq was assassinated in a bomb blast in his aircraft, and Pervez Mushrff was exiled and now hiding in Dubai. The only comparison I can make as far as the Pakistan leadership is concerned is that it is almost like the land of Hades. It's about time the dream of Muhammad Ali Jinnah was fulfilled.

Further reading

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-03-10/why-pakistan-s-leader-is-facing-the-risk-of-ouster-quicktake

The Unraveling: Pakistan in the Age of Jihad by John R Schmidt ( The book explains how Pakistan became a haven for militant groups)

© 2022 MG Singh emge

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