The producers of the film called ‘Imran Khan’ must think over their production and the damage done by it.
Nazeer Ahmed Arijo
Success and setbacks are part and parcel of politics. Only a democratic mind knows how to enter the hall of fame, and how to face defeat with dignity. The Supreme Court’s five-member bench headed by the CJP Justice Umar Atta Bandial after having buried the “doctrine of necessity” restored the National Assembly and asked the Speaker of the House to proceed with the no-confidence motion against the then PM Imran Khan on Saturday, 9 April. Despite this clear court order, delaying tactics were used by the Speaker and the federal ministers who made lengthy, unnecessary, and sensational speeches surrounding the alleged “foreign conspiracy” to topple the government of Imran Khan. Even the educated ministers like Shah Mahmood and Asad Umer had stooped so low when it came to selling the “conspiracy theory” on the floor of the house with indecent language. None of the then ministers had chosen to highlight government performance as this suggested its total failure on all fronts. It prompted the then opposition politicians to remind the chair that they were committing contempt of court but it all fell on deaf ears.
The National Assembly was hijacked for the whole day by both federal ministers in clear violation of the court order. It is very unfortunate that both Speaker Asad Qaisar and the Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, in the wake of the no-trust vote, proved to be speakers of Banigala rather than the the National Assembly. Democratic principles were sacrificed on the altar of arrogance presided over the then PM Imran Khan. The political circus orchestrated by the ex-premier that was played out in the Parliament consequently compelling the critics to conclude that ‘if that had been done with the PM from the small province, he would have been put behind the bars’.
At a quarter to midnight, once the airports were put on alert, an emergency was declared in Islamabad hospitals, there was deployment of law enforcement agencies in the capital, prisoner vans were stationed, the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High courts were opened the late-night, and Asad Qaisar resigned on the same “an international conspiracy” handing over the chair to Ayaz Sadiq to proceed with the motion. The no-confidence motion was passed with 174 votes subsequently sending the repressive regime of Imran Khan home. The captain did not come to the field (National Assembly) to see the parliamentary match in question though he had been claiming to fight till the last ball of the game. Only brave captains take part in parliamentary matches whereupon one’s defeat is so certain.
Imran Khan made history of being the first PM to be voted out. Instances such as those elaborated above speak of party dictatorship/ modern political slavery that reigns supreme in political parties claiming to be democratic, especially PTI lecturing nation on self-reliance and independence. However, with PTI this undemocratic engagement has reached the lowest level. On the heels of a humiliating defeat in the Parliament, PTI decided to give mass resignations, an attempt to paralyze the new government. Imagine the PTI mindset, if the party is not in power, they will not sit in the parliament; if the apex court gives a judgment against them, the party does not accept it and subsequently initiates a vicious campaign against it; if the military establishment does not support subversion of the constitution, fake videos of retired military generals have been launched to malign the military.
While addressing the Peshawar power show, ousted IK after having termed the newly formed set-up as a “government of bandits” addressed the judiciary, and questioned why the Supreme Court and Islamabad High Court felt the need to open their doors on Saturday night, hours before he was ousted. The answer is: When the the constitution-making body was hijacked by the puppets of Banigala, the parliamentarians remained hostages to the ugly scheme of the then PM; the courts were to intervene to get its order implemented. Extraordinary circumstances of the day demanded extraordinary measures to build a dam against undemocratic exercises. Besides, has IK forgotten that Hanif Abbasi of PML N was sentenced to life imprisonment in an Ephedrine quota case at 11 pm?
Constitutional practice trampled
Administering oath to the newly elected PM is the constitutional practice that too was broken by President Arif Alvi not doing it under the pretext of being sick. Political pundits believe this sickness apparently was a politically motivated move. It thus points to the President Arif Alvi’s lack of autonomy and being reduced to a rubber stamp. The quickness with which the National Assembly was dissolved and ordinances issued speak of utter helplessness of the office of President. Earlier, the Presidency came to be known as the “Ordinance Factory” simply because IK refused to sit together with other political forces to formulate policies with political consensus. Authoritarianism can be calculated from the “Presidential reference” against an independent justice Qazi Faez Essa, and the “PECA Ordinance” issued to strangulate independent media and dissent which were turned by the Supreme Court and Islamabad High Court respectively. Keeping this in view, it can be concluded that President too has lost moral authority to continue in his office.
Following the success of the no-confidence vote, the PTI propaganda machine has started maligning state institutions – the military, the judiciary, and the Election Commission of Pakistan. We had witnessed the same vilification campaign against Qazi Faez Esa and the media. Ego was put before transparency and fairness. With shaken conscience, Imran Khan admitted that sending a reference against Faez Essa was a blunder. Once intoxication of arrogance evaporates after IK’s disgraceful exit from the power corridors, an admission of a great many mistakes made by him will surface in the press.
Now, IK is claiming to be a victim of the “foreign plot”. After having been unceremoniously ousted from the office of the premiership, he continues to insist upon the PDM-led government to call fresh polls. PTI understands it well the more the Shahbaz Sharif-led government stays in power, the more are the chances of empty claims of clean governance, scandals of nepotism, cronyism, economic mismanagement causing hyperinflation, and other malpractices applied to be exposed. With zero performance, IK wants to be a hero on the wings of alleged collusion between PDM and the USA. He is feeding falsehood to the wealthy – his voters that he was hammering out an independent foreign policy for the country hence was punished by America supported by their handlers here. An independent foreign policy does not mean directing a gun against a certain country based on the self-serving conclusions, delusions etc.
After the no-confidence motion was moved, in televised sermons i.e. speeches, IK had posed as a pious political leader. Now, the Toshakhana saga- scandal of taking foreign gifts and subsequently selling at a higher price in market is doing rounds.
Taking the opportunity of Imran Khan’s alleged conspiracy of regime change in Pakistan, Russia thought it better to drop a bombshell when she said that the USA wanted to punish disobedient IK. Thus, Moscow dragged Islamabad into the Russian – American diplomatic war because of the political immaturity of Imran Khan. The truth is that Imran Khan had eaten more than he could chew. The captain couldn’t make a winning team. The team he selected was more focused on the character assassination of political opponents and attempted at putting them behind the bars on the charges of unproved corruption rather than delivering in the desired direction by their respective ministries. In an attempt at tarnishing the image of opposition parties and politicians, the IK compromised the dignity of the chair i.e. Premiership and much-needed concentration to run the affairs of the state. Curbs were placed on the vibrant media so that governance issues could be taken away from the media spotlight.
The Supreme Court’s verdict of restoring the National Assembly poured cold water on PTI’s plan of holding elections under the caretaker setup comprising its puppets and controversial methods like the EVM. Fawad Chaudhry joined by Ik are on record having said that the PDM-led government wanted to get rid of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). The PTI’s insistence upon using EVM is quite confusing as the vast majority is uneducated and can’t cast their vote on such digital machines. The whole edifice of parliamentary democracy stands on the majority in the house. Despite this, IK said, “Nation will not accept the government of bandits”.
The cheap political narrative of accusing adversaries as traitors is very detrimental to democracy as it not only has polarized politics but also divided the society. Imagine political extremism, following the parliamentary coup, a university professor – a PTI supporter uploaded contemptuous content against the mover of the motion having written “the puppets, traitors and foreign stooges defeated in the Parliament. Pakistan Zindabadd”.
The PTI workers and supports are denouncing political parties and issuing certificates of treason much like Imran Khan. The Marriat Hotel unfortunate incident involving PTI supporters and those belonging to other political parties is the tip of the iceberg only. This political extremism is very detrimental to the democratic political framework. The politics of hate that got PTI-led government’s patronage has transformed political rivalries into personal enmity. Society stands divided and politically polarized. PTI has pushed Pakistan into economic, political and social disorder.
DG ISPR, Major General Babar Iftikhar in his recent press conference rubbished the PTI’s claim of the “foreign conspiracy suggesting it was figment of IK’s imagination. He also made it clear that it was the ousted PM who had approached the military leadership with regard to the three options i.e. resignation of Imran Khan, dissolution of the assemblies and subsequent fresh polls, and a safe passage called backing out no-trust vote demanded by Ik, which was turned down by movers of the no-confidence motion. Now, the dust has settled down making it clear with regard to who contacted who. If PTI stopped growing on democratic lines, it would be fragmented under the heavy weight of its selfishness. Spilling venom against independent journalists and attacking their houses is highly condemnable. It is high time for retrospection for PTI and its supporters. Also, the producers of the film called IK project must think over their production and the damage done by it. It would not be an exaggeration to infer that promoting political pigmies has undermined both political process and national cohesion.
Nazeer Ahmed Arijo is a freelance writer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.