Haqiqi Azadi no more

The PTI seems to be adapting to new realities just as fast as new realities set in

PTI chief Imran Khan seems to be forced to abandon all his most cherished positions, all of those which have been part of his narrative which have been at the centre of his narrative, and which seem to have been the most potent part of his appeal to the electorate. The fact that President Arif Akvi signed off on the summary appointing the new COAS showed that he was jettisoning the party narrative of his government having been ousted in March by a conspiracy of which the military was a part. This followed his recent interview to a British newspaper, in which he said that  wished for normal ties with the USA, and that he wished to put behind him the past. As if to stress the point, the PTI’s welcome of the new COAS showed that it had abandoned the view that the appointment was too important to be made by ‘thieves and dacoits’ such as PML(N) Quaid Nawaz Sharif or PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari..This is particularly hard for the PTI, as the ppointee is the very person the PTI had opposed strenuously, to ther point that it was willing to abandon its own favourite if he was not selected.  All that remains of his narrative seems to be the call for fresh elections, which he will make today, when he will rejoin the Long March as it enters Rawalpindi-Islamabad. Therefore, thr march is no longer about stopping future US interference, or preventing anyone being appointed COAS, but simply about fresh elections. Previously, fresh elections were a means of proving that the people of Pakistan wanted Haqiqi Azadi (True Freedom) and would elect IMran Khan because he would deliver it. Now the March is solely about electing Mr Khan.

How far he can carry that narrative is not clear. Next year is going to be election year, even if Mr Khan is unsuccessful. How far Mr Khan will attract support, now that he is abandoning his anti-US, anti-Army narrative, is yet to be seen. The PTI needs to ensure that it continues its protest only using constitutional and legal means. The conclusion of the Long March, whether it remains a peaceful protest that disperses in orderly fashion after a rally in the designated space, or degenerates into a riot, depends on Mr Khan. Much depends on whether he intends to continue to do politics, or prefers to attempt a revolution.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]


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