From captain to PM

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 8/20/2018 10:30:52 AM IST

 If there was any proof needed that newly sworn-in Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan is remote controlled by the powerful military establishment; it was caught on camera on August 18 . On that day Imran was accorded a guard of honour when he went to the PM’s Office. Videos revealed that Pakistani Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, who marched just behind Imran Khan, was clearly giving him some verbal instructions on what to do during the guard of honour. This is believed to be the nature of the relationship between Imran Khan, the cricket star-turned-politician and leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, and the country’s powerful military. To the world, he may be a legendary sportsman, playboy and Oxford graduate-turned-philanthropist, but to a large number of Pakistanis who have weathered many a political coup, vulgar corruption and choke-holds on religious freedom, Imran Khan is just more of the same. He is popularly being called the army’s new blue-eyed boy, an army - known as “the establishment” - that has long been seen as pulling the strings of the country’s economic, political and foreign decision-making. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was invalidated by the Pakistan Supreme Court over impropriety charge. This was frivolous and which surprised the world. It was a move by a politicised judiciary that was only to clear the path for Imran to be without challengers. Nawaz Sharif had also fallen foul of the Army when he raised Cain in a statement that the establishment (Army) was supporting terrorists like Hafiz Syed. This was a clear sign that he had opened frontier against the army and was willing to take on the might of the Generals and I.S.I together. With both Nawaz Sharif(PML-N) and Bilawal Bhutto (PPP) out, the voters of Pakistan had no choice to make their choice. The election was reduced to a contest between Imran versus Imran. Now that he has managed to grab power albeit with a “little help” from his friends, Imran will be expected to conform to the demands of the powerful military establishment. Pakistan’s army - which has held direct power for nearly half of Pakistan’s 70-year existence, and has enjoyed an outsize role in politics when not in direct control – definitely played its hand to undercut Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N and swing the election in favour of PTI. Weeks before the election, the events that preceded it such as -the sentencing of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to prison ; the sentencing of another top PML-N leader, Hanif Abbasi, to life in prison on drug smuggling charges just four days before the election; and the censoring of media outlets perceived to produce favourable coverage of Sharif - all point to the efforts by the military and a politicised judiciary to undercut the PML-N’s electoral prospects. Of interest to the Subcontinent is easing of rising tensions between India and Pakistan and creating a climate conducive to peace. There are doves on both sides of the border who would like to see a thaw in the strained relationship since it benefits both nations. However both India and Pakistan also have their hawks who have come to power because hatred serves their political interests.


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