OPINION: Pak In A Whirlpool
Pakistan is bleeding today. It is because of a thousand self-inflicted cuts, as a result of that slipped in tumultuous times today.
Unfortunately, the political parties are more focused on their existence to remain in power instead of taking their country out of Chaos, uncertainty, turmoil, pettiness, frustration, and ferociousness. Constitution, law, justice, principles, ethics, morality, decency and grace have been cast away.
The big challenge before Pakistan is the devastating economic crisis, a showdown between the military and its political leaders that has pushed the country of 220 million to the brink of chaos. The military is rigid to assert its power by invoking the draconian Army Act against civil society and trying to destroy Pakistan's fragile constitutional system.
Imran Khan's popularity is gaining heights well ahead of his opponents, according to local polls - in the run-up to national elections which are due by November this year. However, Khan is exposed on many fronts. If he is found guilty in any of the numerous cases against him, ranging from corruption to inciting terror, it would in all probability disqualify him from participating in the polls. Imran Khan has been in more than 100 legal cases. He faces charges of graft purportedly committed while he was in office and has been charged with terrorism in eight cases over the violent protests by his supporters and his PTI opposition party on May 9. Punjab interim Chief Minister Mohsin Navy has claimed that PTI rioters burnt 108 cars and 26 buildings and also damaged safe cities cameras.
The army's vast intelligence apparatus has reached a do-or- die position to demolish Imran Khan's political party PTI ,as many of his senior leaders have already jumped ship because of pressure and fear of vengeance. Known for his aggressive, never-say-die attitude when Imran Khan played the game, has brought that approach into politics too.
Political scientists observe that talks between Khan, the army and the civilian government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif could defuse the situation, but there have been no indications of any negotiated settlement. Khan is ready for talks with the ruling party and with the army. He has said "I am a politician. I want talks with anyone, including the army chief and the establishment, but it takes two to clap and I am afraid that the other side doesn't want to talk. The prime minister has nothing to do with the talks." On his clash with the army chief, Khan has said, "Not me. It's the army chief who made it personal."
Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's former ambassador to the United States and currently a scholar at the Hudson Institute in Washington, has said that the military has lost standing significantly and it will not accept being attacked and taunted. "The military's power comes from its ability to deploy force, not popularity - Pakistan's generals like being liked but they like being in control even more," he has said. But the army chief's statements on social media are "frightening" Imran Khan party workers.
"Ultimate power in Pakistan flows through the barrel of the gun. The military is unlikely to give Khan the off-ramp any time soon." says Aqil Shah, an academic and author of the book "The Army and Democracy in Pakistan".
Pak army at present is a divided house .The crack in the ranks of the armed forces over Imran is an unforeseen threat within. Army Chief Gen Syed Asim Munir, instantaneously sacked Lt Gen Ghanni of Lahore Corps Commander after his house was attacked by rioters. It was noticed that Lt Gen Ghanni and other officials who quietly were in support of Imran Khan. Keeping his foot down, Munir manipulated the Sharif government to use the Army Act and the Official Secrets Act, against the rioters involved in the May 9 incident that could also put Imran away for years together.
How will Gen Munir heal the greater bleeding wound of divided loyalties within the ranks? It was for the first time in Pakistan's history, that all time powerful Pakistan Army, was shaken by a political leader Imran Khan and his party with the mass support of public
Whether it is jail or bail for Imran, it's Gen Munir who will have to navigate Pakistan's touchy track ahead.