Khan opted to a smart dual approach for the newly appointed military chief General Asim Munir, by using a different narrative spread on the local and the foreign media outlets…Hamza Ameeer
Imran Khan, Pakistan’s most popular leader who is seen by many as the only hope for the country’s better and prosperous future. But is this the only side of the picture one wants to see and believe while screening his personality and political credentials?
In view of the recent history when in 2018 Khan took over Pakistan’s political stage and became the Prime Minister, till today; his personality, his political positioning and his definition of a democratic rule, has seen many twists and turns, showcasing various shades of grey in his personality, his capability, political compatibility and flexibility.
“Imran Khan has two main attributes; he is either anti-establishment or he is pro-establishment. And both are to the extreme inclination in every possible way,” said Amir Rana, an analyst.
“When he was pro-establishment, illegal recordings of Prime Minister’s House conversations, ministers and political leaders, ridiculing the parliament’s opposition parties, having open and illegal interventions of intelligence agencies in political affairs, openly stating that the ISI should be engaged to find out corruption of politicians and punishing them accordingly and using the military establishment to force political leaders to give consent to political decisions in Parliament, are some of the illegal and un-democratic ways Khan practiced openly and blatantly during his time in power since 2018,” said Mona Alan, a political analyst.
“And when he was ousted last April through the vote of no confidence in Parliament, which in itself is a democratic and constitutional process as per law; we saw and other side of Imran Khan, starting from being in an extreme love affairs with the military establishment to going absolutely against them,” she added.
Khan, after his ouster, lashed out at the military establishment, blasting them for becoming party to what he initially claimed as a US-led regime change conspiracy.
He slammed the opposition alliance and the military establishment for teaming up against him on orders of the Biden administration, accusing them as traitors of the state.
Khan’s public rallying campaign was able to spread his regime change narrative among the masses, as he even used the word “animals” for the then military establishment under then sitting army chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa.
With his demands of early elections started to fade away and his decision to create political pressure on the coalition government of Shehbaz Sharif, along with the military establishment, lost the steam, Khan ended up dissolving his own provincial assemblies in Punjab and the Khuber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Khan opted to a smart dual approach for the newly appointed military chief General Asim Munir, by using a different narrative spread on the local and the foreign media outlets.
“For the consumption of local media outlets, Imran Khan was seen stating that he is pro-military establishment. Khan has maintained that he has nothing against the military establishment and insists that he has no idea of the reason why the military establishment got annoyed with him and decided to dismantle him and his political party,” said Javed Siddique, a senior political analyst.
“But if you see his statements on various foreign media publications and media outlets, he is clearly seen pinpointing the military establishment, and specifically the Army Chief for being the prime reason for all the troubles in the country. Khan has even said that the military establishment is scared and petrified of his popularity because they know that he will win the next elections.”
It is a startling contrast on how Khan’s political narrative changes for the local media and his Pakistani support through pro-military establishment statements, and how it takes a 180-degree turn when he is speaking to the foreign, specifically western media, where he not only slams the army chief and the institution but also goes to the extent of accusing them and their serving intelligence officers of assassination attempts on his life.
However, one thing that remains constant on both shades of grey for Khan is the fact that he happens to be a political leader, who wants to be the face of a smooth democratic leadership and process of formation of a stable democratic and constitutional ruling governance in the country. Yet, he demands the very same military establishment to use its military might an intervene in political matters to ensure that he not only is brought back to power, but is also supported through all means, which may be unconstitutional, illegal and undemocratic.
And if that doesn’t happen, he foresees the country in a state of either a civil unrest or a martial law, which for him, surprisingly, is also a viable option if it can result in him coming back into power.
“Such undemocratic demands of military intervention in political affairs to form a democratic setup that runs without any political resistance, can never pave the way to a strong democracy in Pakistan. And it can never have a government setup in its true democratic spirit,” said Javed Siddique.