The defeat of Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party in local elections of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa shows a clear sign of crack between the military establishment and the ruling party…reports Asian Lite News
Khan’s ascendancy to the Islamabad throne was made possible by the army, especially Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and is often referred to as the hybrid regime showed signs of crumbling after the resounding defeat of PTI, reported The Singapore Post.
This was a defeat that Khan had feared but not expected in KP since his relationship began to sour with the military establishment early this year.
But the army quietly looked the other way and let the pins fall on the PTI candidates. This is the second round of the battle between partners of the hybrid regime.
In a first, Imran Khan had shown the military down by deliberately delaying the announcement of the appointment of ISI chief. The Army chief wanted a change in who heads the ISI early this year. The army declared Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum as the new ISI chief whereas Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, who had helped Imran Khan to win the electoral battles on behalf of the army, was moved out as Peshawar corps commander.
Imran Khan sat on the Army chief’s recommendation till rumours and conspiracy theories became thick enough to be cut with a blunt knife. Khan mulled all the options–to reject the army chief’s recommendations or to accept them. He chose the third option–delay the official declaration. It showed he was no longer in the same books as General Javed Bajwa. The army took the insult and kept quiet, reported The Singapore Post.
The army played its hand in the KP elections. There could be many reasons for the PTI to get such a drubbing on the ground, but one remains the key to the game, the army’s decision to stay off any of the tricks which it deployed in the 2018 elections. This ‘hands off’ policy left PTI candidates to fight on their own and lose badly.
What worries Imran Khan now is the upcoming local elections in Punjab. It is due early next year and results in Punjab will set the ball rolling for the big elections in 2023, reported The Singapore Post.
The army can play a big role in the Punjab elections, and if it does, the stage is set for a final showdown between the partners. The third round of the tussle will tell who wins in the end.
It is clear the New Year will witness interesting games in Pakistan, starting with the elections in Punjab, even as the country remains on the precipice of drowning in rising radicalism and financial debts. (ANI)