Imran vs. Military Top Brass: Romance over, now it's state of war

Story by  IANS | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 28-05-2023
Pakistani leader Imran Khan and Army Chief Gen Asim Munir
Pakistani leader Imran Khan and Army Chief Gen Asim Munir

 

Islamabad

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has had his fair share of love, extended support and unrelenting promotion by the country’s powerful military establishment before coming to power in 2018.

However, with Khan and his government falling apart after the establishment shut the door on him, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief is now getting a taste of one of the most bitter outbursts of his counter-assault on the same military might, turning his love affairs into arch rivalry with the country's most powerful institution.

Since May 9, when Khan's arrest from Islamabad was responded by violent, angry and chaotic scene of protests by supporters, party members and leaders of PTI, who expressed their anger by attacking, vandalising and looting military establishments in different parts of the country, the army, under its new chief General Asim Munir, along with the government have decided to take on Khan.

They have also decided to take on his anti-establishment narrative, open accusations against General Munir and other senior serving officers and threats of imposing a civil war in the country, by not only crushing the PTI's political existence, but also to make an example of Khan for all, who may think that challenging and targeting the country's military might, may be an option for future political gains.

The May 9 riots are being taken as Khan and his party's 9/11, which are proving to be the reason that may well see his image of the country's most popular political leader and his party being country's most popular political force, to a failed pressure group, a banned outfit led by a leader with exaggerated over-confidence with a lust for self-promotion and power.

Khan's political future continues to become darker and difficult as his top party leaders continue to part ways from him, leaving him isolated and confined behind the walls of his Zaman Park residence in Lahore. 

"The way his top party leadership has left the party and have succumbed to the pressure of arrests and jails; the future script for Imran Khan seems to have been written. His political graveyard is ready and his party is being buried in it," said Talat Hussain, a senior political analyst.

As far as Khan's relationship or rivalry with the establishment is concerned; his isolation and fast increasing political loneliness, coupled with his constant demand of initiating talks for a workable solution to the persisting crisis, seems to be completely ignored by the military establishment, who do not seem to be ready to give any space to Khan and want to ensure that his anti-military establishment politics is crushed, diminished and destroyed for good. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister dedicated the new Parliament building to the nation on Sunday morning. Ahead of the inauguration, the PM also felicitated the construction workers with traditional shawls and handed over mementoes. 'Sarv-dharma' prayers were held at the new Parliament building, with priests from different religions reciting the traditional verses.



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