- Imran Khan goes from being a presumed asset to a liability
The new political setup created in 2018 has landed in a blind alley. It must not have taken long for its critics and those who matter to realize that the PTI leadership lacks competence to manage the affairs of the country. Early in his term, there was continuous reiteration by Prime Minister Imran Khan of being on the same page with the establishment, but that has died down in recent months, perhaps owing to how it suggests that the latter is equally responsible for the PTI’s misgovernance. It seems the PTI, owing to sheer underperformance, is increasingly becoming a liability.
The plan that led to the demolition of the PML(N) government was well-prepared. But no need was felt to make a Plan B to deal with the situation in case the PTI government failed to deliver. None had visulised that the current setup would make blunders right out of the chute, showing signs of failure within a year. The powers that be are now in a quandary.
So are the opposition parties. All of them want to see the back of the PM at the earliest. What they lack is the required numerical strength in the National Assembly. The allies will continue to support the minority government as long as the establishment backs it. The PML(N)’s hardliners would like to wait till Mian Nawaz Sharif is exonerated by the courts and returns to claim his lost office through some sort of triumphant mass movement. The softliners in the party are trying to win over the establishment to stage a comeback. The PPP talks about a movement but lacking support in Punjab, it has to depend on a united front of the opposition. Presently it is vociferously calling into question the PTI’s claims of honesty.
There has been talk about the PTI government minus Mr Khan. None among the several aspirants in the PTI for the PM’s slot is willing to claim it till Mr Khan resigns, which he is not inclined to do. There has also been talk about general elections under a caretaker national government soon after the pandemic is under control but that is a long way off. While the opposition parties could be made to agree to some reasonable alterations to the 18th amendment they will vehemently oppose any extraconstitutional adventurism. But for now, the current setup will linger on until all concerned have had too much.