Pakistan watchers believe Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will call it a day today after speaking at an Islamabad rally, riding on a wave of sympathy against a resolute Opposition.
Imran Khan’s day of reckoning has arrived, as he will try to demonstrate people’s power in his support at an Islamabad rally today in response to the electoral numbers odd his government faces in the national assembly if the combined opposition’s no-confidence motion is carried out.
According to reports reaching Pakistani political circles, PM Khan may resign after delivering what is expected to be a fiery rant against the opposition this afternoon, riding on public sympathy for him and his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf party.
Imran Khan has declared March 27 to be a watershed moment in Pakistani history, when the people will rise up against the Opposition’s “looting and plundering” of the country. Tomorrow, the opposition marches will arrive in Islamabad.
With the odds stacked against him, Pakistan watchers believe PM Khan will ride out in glory in front of the assembled crowds rather than face the humiliation of a no-confidence vote in the national assembly.
While PM Khan may call for snap elections to appeal to sympathetic voters, the Pakistan Constitution prohibits the incumbent Prime Minister from serving as caretaker until the next election. In the case of foreign funding, there is also a strong possibility that Imran Khan will be prosecuted.
The truth is that Imran Khan, the reverse wing bowler who was elected with the support of Pakistan’s deep state and Rawalpindi GHQ on the promise of delivering “Naya Pakistan,” has pushed the country into an economic abyss with little to show for it in terms of foreign policy.
Internal strife exists within a highly radicalised society, with separatist movements forming in Baluchistan and Sindh as a result of Islamabad’s ham-handed approach. Even the ostensibly friendly Taliban regime in Kabul has been unable to secure Rawalpindi’s peace with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) group. The TTP, like the Baluch and Sindh groups, is attacking Pakistan’s army and security forces from across the international border.
PM Khan has alienated himself from the west by criticising the United States from Beijing, as if to appease his Chinese handlers. His visit to Moscow on February 24, the day President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, may have been the final straw.
Pakistan’s economy is crippled by foreign debt, with a pitiful USD 15 billion in foreign reserves, a dwindling rupee, and a fifth of its external debt owed to China (USD 18 billion). While China agreed to roll over a USD 4.2 billion debt to Pakistan this week, the Islamic Republic, like Sri Lanka, is trapped in Beijing’s vice-like grip, which refuses to give even client states free meals.
PM Khan has been taking potshots at his own creator, the Pakistan Army, by praising the Indian Army for not being corrupt and ranting at Army Chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa for remaining neutral in the current political turmoil, clearly seeing the end of the electoral road for himself.
While the D-Chowk rally in Islamabad starts around 11 a.m. (depending on crowd size), the countdown to Imran Khan’s departure has already begun.