The article discusses that Pakistan’s establishment has an Imran Khan problem. Recent arrest of Imran Khan, the leader of the PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) party, and the resulting chaos and complex situation in Pakistan is also discussed. It highlights the responses and agendas of four key institutions: the government, the PTI, the establishment (which includes the military and ISI), and the judiciary. (Source: The Hindu, 23 May, 2023)
What is the context?
The arrest of Imran Khan, leader of the PTI party, has sparked chaos and a complex situation in Pakistan. Four institutions – the government, the PTI, the establishment, and the judiciary – are pursuing different agendas.
PTI’s Response and Popular Support
Imran Khan’s arrest led to widespread violence and rage, primarily targeting the establishment and military infrastructure. The PTI’s anger is directed towards the military, causing unprecedented fury. The party has called for nationwide protests and has vowed to continue its fight against the establishment.
Establishment’s Response and Changing Dynamics
The establishment’s response indicates a shift in its relationship with political leaders. Imran Khan’s criticism of the military and ISI has eroded the establishment’s revered status. Public perception of the military has suffered due to recent attacks. The establishment is now seen as more vulnerable to public pressure, and this could have implications for its future role in Pakistani politics. It also created a perception that Pakistan Establishment has Imran Khan problem.
Potential Political Realignments
The question arises whether the establishment will return to the Sharif family or explore a new arrangement with Bilawal Bhutto. Efforts to break the PTI are evident, with some members leaving the party. The establishment may also try to forge a new alliance with the PML-N, which is currently in power.
Next Steps for the Government and PML-N
The government sees Imran Khan’s arrest as a significant victory and intends to target other PTI leaders. The PML-N aims to regain its influence in Punjab, countering Imran Khan’s popularity. The government may also try to use the arrest as a pretext to crack down on the PTI’s supporters.
Judiciary’s Role and Divisions
There is a perception that the judiciary favors Imran Khan, leading to dissatisfaction among the opposition, particularly the PML-N. The Supreme Court’s stance aligning with the PTI on key political issues has further strained relations. The judiciary may be forced to take a more neutral stance in the future, as the situation in Pakistan becomes more volatile.
The government, opposition, establishment, and judiciary are pulling in different directions, exacerbating an already challenging situation in Pakistan. Addressing this complex scenario requires careful navigation and strategic decision-making.
Pakistan must find a path that brings stability and unity among its institutions. Dialogue, reconciliation, and addressing the grievances of all stakeholders are necessary for a more stable and prosperous future.
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