In Pakistan, a growing number of politicians are abandoning former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his PTI party, believing they are leaving a sinking ship following the events of May 9 and the subsequent military crackdown, arrests, torture, and incarceration of 10,000 people. The exodus began with former PTI leaders Fawad Choudhry and Shireen Mazari, who were once vocal supporters during PTI’s time in power but have now decided to leave the party.
Fawad Choudhry, who was a Minister at the time, once compared opposition leaders to traitors but now finds himself in the same position. Other PTI members have followed suit, with many going underground out of fear of arrest. The sight of former Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in handcuffs likely encouraged more defections, as Imran Khan’s supporters wondered about their own fate.
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Jahangir Tareen, a billionaire who served as the General Secretary of PTI from 2011, left PTI to form his own party, Istehkaam-e-Pakistan (IPP), possibly to safeguard his business interests. Even the former Interior Minister in the PTI government, Sheikh Rasheed, seemed diminished after his release from incarceration.
Several prominent women, including Firdous Aqwam Ashiq, Andleeb Abbas, Sadia Suhail, and Sunehra Ahmed Bukhari, who were once referred to as ‘Pakistan’s tigresses’ by Imran Khan, have shamelessly joined IPP, claiming it’s for the people’s welfare.
These individuals may believe that Imran Khan’s political career is over, but they underestimate his resilience. Despite being held in a dismal cell in Adiala jail, Imran Khan remains unwavering in spirit. He has stated that he would endure a lifetime in jail but would never accept slavery.
A sher (Urdu couplet) inspired by Imran Khan, paraphrasing the poet Majrooh Sultanpuri, encapsulates the sentiment:
”Sar par hawa-e-zulm chale sau jatan ke saath
Kaptan ki kulahkaj hai usi bankepan ke saath”
This situation is reminiscent of Winston Churchill’s resolve during the darkest days of 1940 when facing a potential Nazi German invasion: ”We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight in the air, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender.”
Imran Khan’s ship may be battered, but it will not sink.
Markandey Katju is an Indian jurist and former Supreme Court judge of India who served as chairman for the Press Council of India. He has also worked as Standing Counsel for the Income Tax Department.
The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not represent the editorial policy or views of Global Village Space.