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Sunday, January 29, 2023
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On the edge of precipice: Imran Khan’s fallout

Imran Khan is not like Nasser of the United Arab Republic (now Egypt), who, during the Cold War, had challenged the US global interests in the Arab Middle East. Nor is he like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela who bitterly and sarcastically assailed President Bush before the 2006 United Nations General Assembly, portraying him as “the devil” who thinks he is “the owner of the world.”

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Pakistani society had never been normal during the seven-decade-long history of the Islamic republic. The tumult caused by the Lettergate is the recent happening in an unbroken series of political scandals that have kept hitting Pakistan from time to time. Imagine the confusion generated by a diplomatic cipher that is being belittled by the sitting government – a government accused by the former PM Imran Khan of being part of a foreign conspiracy to topple him.

Imran Khan is not like Nasser of the United Arab Republic (now Egypt), who, during the Cold War, had challenged the US global interests in the Arab Middle East. Nor is he like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela who bitterly and sarcastically assailed President Bush before the 2006 United Nations General Assembly, portraying him as “the devil” who thinks he is “the owner of the world.”

Read more: Shahbaz Gill clears confusion on Imran Khan interview with George Galloway

“Yesterday, the devil came here,”  Chávez said, alluding to  Bush’s appearance before the General Assembly. “Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of”.

Compared to the fiery Third World leaders of the past, Imran Khan fell out with the Americans for two reasons: 1) His over publicized remark “Absolutely Not”, while answering a question about whether Pakistan will allow military bases to the US in the aftermath ofthe US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and 2) Ignoring the US warning about visiting Russia on the eve of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

About the provision of military bases to the US, I had written:

A close look at the past events brings out the following facts:- 

  • Pakistan, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, was coerced by the US to provide its land and air spaces to the US-led Coalition forces. While doing so, the Americans had made it clear that Pakistan’s refusal would be considered an act of war against the US.
  • Pakistan, under President Musharraf’s government, and the governments that followed him, could not withstand the US pressure due to the country’s fragile internal security situation and the economy that had always been on the verge of a meltdown.
  • Pakistan’s political leadership, particularly when it is in opposition, always blows hot and cold over the provision of military bases and the use of land and air routes to the US. It had all along maintained a dubious posture, criticizing the government while disowning responsibility.
  • After the Salala incident, both the civil government and the opposition parties left it to the army if the air and land corridors were to be kept closed or opened for the coalition forces. Similarly, both the Zardari and Nawaz governments, while publically denouncing the US drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas, privately assured the US to go ahead with the attacks.
  • It is clear now that Pakistan is not going to provide air bases like the Shamsi airbase to the US. The land corridor through Pakistan has also been closed. However, the air corridor linking Doha with Kabul remains open.

As for Imran Khan’s visit to Russia, it has been put on record that the visit was approved by the establishment, that the (then) opposition had made it an issue for political point-scoring only. To cut it short, when it comes to Pakistan, the US behaves like an over-possessive lover.

Read more: Imran Khan announces a march towards Islamabad

So why are Pakistani people falling head over heels for Imran Khan?

The people in Pakistan find a lot of resemblance between the 13th Century Middle East and the 21st Century Pakistan. Consider a scenario where a nomadic people (Forerunners of the Ottoman Turks) were struggling to find a secure foothold to survive. It was an era when the descendants of Saladin, not as powerful and effective as Saladin himself, were falling prey to Crusader intrigues for the control of important towns and cities in the Holy Land to control the Middle East commerce. The Knights Templar, in the guise of Muslims, had infiltrated the palaces and fortresses of Muslim rulers.

The bedrooms of the sultans were infested by female spies. Muslim population and tribal camps were the Templars’ targets for spreading epidemics. The Muslim world was witnessing turmoil such as the one it had passed through during the Crusades. Out of this tumult and chaos appeared the Turkish tribes who stemmed the tide of infidel intrigues and were the forerunners of another great Muslim empire, the ottomans.

Read more: Letter was hidden from Imran Khan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi

So, what is the situation now?

Enemies on the borders, palace intrigues, prostitutes ruling the roost, a pandemic that had, till recently, paralyzed life, enemies within, and a scattered and disorganized group desperately fighting a rearguard action against the enemy. The people are waiting for their savior. And I am not given to hyperbole.