Complexity of Domestic Politics in Pakistan

An honest, hardworking, and visionary leader, Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is the third most popular leader in Pakistan’s history, just after Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the nation’s father, and Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He enjoyed popularity among the youth of Pakistan and ruled on the hearts and minds of the masses.

However, he is passing through the worst political crisis and facing severe challenges. All most of the opposition political parties, despite various ideologies, with different agendas and mandates, divided vote banks, etc., yet are united on single-point agenda to unseat PR Imran Khan. Nationwide rallies, processions, and demonstrations are growing everywhere. Despite the threat imposed by Coronavirus, the opposition is yet organizing the big gathering. Without caring for prevention, their political workers gather in big crowds against the PM Imran Khan Government.

Pakistan has seen many similar political movements where opposition parties unitedly struggled to remove the ruling party government. The most well-known was in 1977, against the Government of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, which led to the implementation of Martial Law imposed by General Zia. During the 1990s, several conspiracies by PPP and PML-N against each other Government unseated each other a couple of times. PM Iran Khan himself has held the largest and the most prolonged sit-in in Islamabad in 2014 against the Government of PML-N but could not unseat him.

As a matter of fact, in the history of Pakistan, it never happened, how strong are the opposition political forces, or how popular are they, yet could not be succeeded to change the Governments. PM Imran Khan will stay in power, as long as all state pillars are with him. However, if Beaurocracy or Judiciary withdraw its support, PM Imran Khan may not be able to remain in his office for longer.

Public Opinion

I have a wide range of interactions with the society, mainly the middle class and lower middle class, which constitute almost 80% of Pakistani society. The Common man is not happy with PM Imran Khan, even angry with him, as the cost of living has gone up, price hikes, utility changes grown-up, jobs squeezed, and many other similar complaints. They are yet standing with PM Imran Khan because they stick back to PM Imran Khan when they see possible alternates – Bilawal Bhutto or Maryan Nawaz.

It is predicted that in the next General Elections, to be held in 2023, people are looking forward to any new face they have never voted before, never tested, or experienced as they have tried PPP and PML-N several times and are disappointed every time. Even they are disappointed by PTI too.

Ordinary people ask themselves, is it the same Imran Khan, who struggled for 22 years to bring change in Pakistan, bring justice, bring equality, curb corruption, eradicate poverty, and introduce reforms, especially in the health sector, education sector, etc. People ask themselves that is it the same Imran Khan, who promised to goodby the IMF forever, Generate 10 Million new jobs, half a million housing units, etc. It has been almost two and a half years of PTI rule, and the ground situation has worsened instead of improving.

Strange! Although PM Imran Khan has not met the masses’ expectations, they do not blame him directly. They believe it is his cabinet, which failed to deliver. His wardrobe consists of many non-elected members, some of them foreign nationals or dual nationals. The irony is that some are paid their salaries by World Bank, IMF, or foreign countries or International Organizations. Their loyalties must be with their paying masters, which is understandable. Some of his cabinet members are elect-ables, who joined PTI only to gain share in his Government. They might not have ideological harmony with PM. The percentage of hard-core PTI cabinet members are relatively low and might not be very useful in decision making or policy formulation. Some of hardcore PTI supporters are disgruntle and outside the Government. In fact, the election-won PTI government has been hijacked, and PTI’s agenda can not be implemented in true spirit. Masses in Pakistan understand it very well but have no alternative yet.

Although PM Imran Khan is known for his foreign policy and enjoys a very outstanding global community reputation, his primary responsibility is to satisfy Pakistan’s masses. PM Imran Khan must understand his primary responsibilities and prioritize his policies. He is responsible for forming his cabinet on his own, whom he should trust and depend on. Who should support him in implementing his agenda and meet his original mandate. Pakistani politics are rather complicated and not easy to understand.

Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.