March 7, was the turning point in the recent political history of Pakistan. Since then there have been major transformations at the social and political level. It was the evening of March 7, when then Prime Minister Imran Khan received a sealed letter from the Pakistani ambassador to America Assad Majeed. The letter contains the record of detailed conversation between the US Assistant Secretary of the State for South and Central Asia, David Lu and Pakistani ambassador, Assad Majeed. As per the government sources, as recorded in the letter, during the conversation, the US representative David Lu used a threatening language against Pakistan. According to Khan, during the brief conversation, the US representative David Lu used the term “VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE”, which was not even yet proceeded by the opposition in the Parliament. Hence, tjis is the reason why former Prime Minister Imran Khan links the VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE and the letter he received a day earlier before the motion was put forward.
Mr. Khan holds a view that by orchestrating the motion of VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE, America punished him for his two-day visit to Russian Federation especially at a critical time when Russia announced Special Military Operation in Ukraine. Mr. Khan publically said this weaving the sealed letter in his hand during his speech at the Parade Ground, Islamabad on March 27. Khan told hid supporters that the US representative David Lu is behind the motion of VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE and vowed to fight to protect the dignity of his nation in the face of US interference. During the brief conversation with Pakistani ambassador, Mr. Lu warned “If the VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE failed to topple Khan’s government then Pakistan must get prepared to face graveyard consequence s.”
By taking into account the above-mentioned scenario; Khan vowed to fight for the dignity and freedom of his country from the foreign interference. Hence, by mainstreaming the narrative of nation pride and national freedom during his rallies ; Khan remained successful in attracting massive support from the people. Hence, the ongoing chaos and polarized transformation at the socio-political level can be understood in three major domains.
- Military declared “Neutrality”
Soon after the success of VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE motion against on April 12, the public support for Khan reached the peak level. Likewise, during his televised addressed after his fall, Khan asked the Military to take the notice of American interference. A week later due to Public outcry, the Inter Service Public Relation (ISPR), a military watchdog explained their position by saying that there was no direct interference but a conspiracy. Moreover, in its press-release, ISPR also stressed that army should not be dragged into politics and hence, declared Army as “neutral” on this matter.
Unfortunately, the word “Neutrality” didn’t appease the angry supporters of Khan. Soon after the ISPR’s press-release, Khan’s supporters took the twitter and the word “#neutrality” remained on top trending for days. Moreover, by examining the intense political polarization the Army refrained from making public statements on the issue in order to keep the institution “neutral“. However, as key and important decision-maker, the sanctity of Army as an institution became a heated debate on social media. For the first time in the recent history, the Armed Forces of Pakistan as an institution began facing the challenge of protecting its sanctity due to exacerbating polarization.
- Public Mobilization
By mainstreaming the narrative of “American interference”, Mr. Khan remained successful in dragging huge crowd to his rallies in big and small cities of the country. During his rallies, Khan resurfaced the American interference narrative to pressure both the coalition government and security establishment to hold fresh elections as soon as possible. According to both official and unofficial sources; there is a division in the security establishment regarding the VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE motion against Khan. Hence due to immense polarization at the social and political level, the Military establishing is seriously thinking about the formation of technocratic government to pave the way for elections in the coming months. Nonetheless, it goes without saying that due to the rising support for Imran Khan; the opposition-led coalition government has already lost its legitimacy. Likewise, the rising political polarization at the socio-structural level is threatening the security of the country.
- Khan’s Long game Plan
By organizing successful rallies one after another in major and small cities; Khan succeeded in uniting his supporters towards his early election demand. The massive socio-political polarization has already shocked the incumbent coalition government to pay attention to his key demands. However, Khan actual plan id to pressure the Military Establishment (the Power brokers in the country) to conduct the fresh elections in the country. On the contrary, there is also a huge disagreements among the coalition as Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PLMN) is leading the show for now. But the other key coalition partners such as Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Mutahida Quomi Movement (MQM) arw the ruling coalition with certain key political demands. MQM has already warned the ruling coalition; if their demands are not met on emergency basis then they will quit the coalition.
Similarly, Mr. Khan has already declared the last week of May and the coming month critical as he told his supporters to wait for his call to march towards the Capital Islamabad. According to various polls especially poll recently conducted by the Arab News Media Network, since the VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE, Mr. Khan’s popularity has increased to an unprecedented level. Hence, both the incumbent ruling coalition and the military establishment knows that Khan’s popularity cannot be contested. According to experts, Khan’s main strategy is to pressure the Military Establishment to maximum level to conduct the early elections as soon as possible.
Perhaps, his call for long march towards capital Islamabad is a part of this long-game strategy. Moreover, the massive polarization in the socio-political level and rising economic turmoil is pressing both the Military Establishment and ruling coalition to succumb to early election demand of Imran Khan. In a nutshell, the early elections seems the only way to sway away the ongoing political turmoil and menace of soaring civil war in the country. Just an hour earlier, Former Prime Minister Imran has called on his supporters to march towards Capital Islamabad on March 25, to participate in what he calls “Azadi March/ Freedom Rally”. Indeed, this march will have grounded impact on the politics of Pakistan in the years to come.