Gallup Pakistan Poll: Over Two-thirds Support Imran Khan's Decision to Dissolve National Assembly

A snap poll conducted by Gallup Pakistan on April 3 and 4 shows broad support for Prime Minister Imran Khan's decision to seek dissolution of the National Assembly and call fresh elections.  Support for the decision is nationwide with 66% in Punjab, 69% in Sindh and 78% in KPK province. It is the strongest among those identifying themselves as PTI voters with 95% of them approving the decision. Among the Opposition parties, 44% of PMLN voters and 50% of PPP voters agree with the decision.  

Source: Gallup Pakistan

Here are the key findings of the Gallup Pakistan Poll

1) Widespread support for dissolution of National Assembly in Pakistan

Respondents were asked ‘ PM has dissolved the national assembly and called for fresh elections. Do you Support or are you against this’ To this question a wide majority 68% say they support and 32% say they oppose PM Imran Khan’s move.

Source: Gallup Pakistan

2) Majority don’t believe in US Conspiracy to remove Imran Khan, although split exists along party lines.Significant majority 64% responded to this question and say that Imran Khan was being ousted because of inflation and not because of a foreign conspiracy.

3) Public Opinion split over performance of Imran Khan

Respondents were asked ‘ Imran Khan ruled for 3.5 years. Are you satisfied with the performance of their government or not satisfied?

To this question 54% said they are dissatisfied and 46% said they are satisfied’

4) Anti Americanism: Only 1 in 3 consider the US to be a friend

Respondents were asked: Some people think that America is a friend of Pakistan, and some people think it is an enemy. what is your opinion?

Almost 2 in 3 Pakistanis(72%) think US to be an enemy. Anti Americanism was highest among PTI Supporters (80% thought America was an enemy) and lowest among PML-N voters (65%) 

The poll included a random sample of 800 households (18+ males and females) interviewed by telephone on April 3 and 4, 2022. Provincial breakdown: 66% Punjab, 18% Sindh, 13% KPK and 4% Balochistan. Urban 34%, rural 64%. Margin of error: +-3-5%, 95% Confidence Level. 

Gallup Pakistan's note on Sample Size: The sample size used in this survey is quite adequate even in comparison to international standards. Gallup US Daily poll is 500 and the Gallup Poll Social Series is 1000, both having a track record of reliable predictability for the USA (a country nearly 100 million larger in population of Pakistan). According to Five Thirty-Eight, one of the most credible sources on polling in the US: "Surveying 2,000 voters substantially reduces error compared with surveying 400 of them, but surveying 10,000 voters will produce only marginal improvements in accuracy compared with the 2,000- person survey".

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
SHAHEEN SEHBAI
@SSEHBAI1

اہم ترین نکتہ: حزب اختلاف کو سب مل گیا یعنی عمران خان گئے، الیکشن آ گئے، بزدار گئے وغیرہ مگر ایک بات نہیں ہوئی- خان نے انکی حکومت نہیں بننے دی ورنہ سب کچھ تہس نحس کر دیتے- یہی دل میں کانٹا ہے-اب اگر فوج یا عدلیہ نےانھیں دوبارہ حکومت دے دی اور الیکشن نہ ہویے تو سب کا منہ کالا ہوگا

https://twitter.com/SSEHBAI1/status/1511830906285268999?s=20&t=JNP2etfqM-Z2U-QUg3rqGw
Riaz Haq said…
#PMLN "Reform" Agenda: Abolish NAB, Repeal PECA, Disallow EVM . شاہد خاقان عباسی نے نیب سمیت کئی قوانین کے خاتمے کا اعلان کردیا. نیب کو ختم کرنا ہے جب تک نیب ہے ملک نہیں چلے گا ... #corruption @ImranKhanPTI #PTI #imrankhanPTI #Pakistan #Reform https://youtu.be/XV7U1vBtY90 via @YouTube
Riaz Haq said…
BBC's Secunder Kermani on Twitter:

Secunder Kermani
@SecKermani
·

Just met this poor, v emotional woman outside parliament at 3am, saying her heart was broken by Imran Khan’s ousting, and that she would never accept this new “government of thieves”

Imran Khan will likely remain a formidable force in Pakistani politics

https://twitter.com/SecKermani/status/1512917101593325571?s=20&t=fME706NId2ri9aJcPzRRmQ
Riaz Haq said…
#PTI is the one truly national political force representing all 4 provinces of #Pakistan. PTI is also the largest single party in Pakistan's National Assembly. #imrankhanPTI's ouster represents a blow to Pak's national unity #Punjab #KP #Sindh #Balochistan

Watch PTI's Ali Mohammad Khan's fiery speech in Pakistan's national assembly after no-confidence vote:

"My leader will be back with two-thirds majority"

https://youtu.be/enbRU_-8K98
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan's political crisis: Why Imran Khan's enemies want him out?
by Peter Oborne
6 April 2022

https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/pakistan-imran-khan-political-crisis-enemies-want-him-out-why

Khan has many strengths as a politician, but in the context of Pakistani politics, one abiding weakness. True to his own nature and the precepts of his deep Islamic faith, he is not corrupt. This quality is not simply unusual in Pakistani politics; it’s a crippling drawback.

Khan’s honesty makes him fundamentally unsuited to the debased methods that are second nature to many successful Pakistani politicians. Last weekend, when Khan’s enemies thought they were about to destroy him, the embattled prime minister simply dissolved parliament, paving the way for elections. This decision left Khan’s opponents in the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) clutching their pearls in horror.
How outrageous, they are saying, that the future of Pakistan should be decided by the democratic will of the people, rather than sordid deals struck in darkened rooms.

I have been racking my brain to think of a precedent, not just in Pakistan but any country, for Khan’s decision to go to the country at a time of deep crisis. I’ve failed.
In Britain, my own country, how much better would it have been if, back in 1990 Tory party plotters had chosen an election, rather than conspiring in smoke-filled rooms behind closed doors to destroy Margaret Thatcher, one of the greatest prime ministers in British history. It would have been the right thing to do, and so much more democratic. That’s, of course, why the plotters didn’t want an election. They secretly feared that Thatcher was more popular than them, and I dare say they were right.

I have seen neither Bilawal Bhutto Zardari nor Shehbaz Sharif, the leaders of the two main opposition parties aiming to force Khan out, attempt to explain what’s wrong with a popular vote. Both men know that Khan will fight on his record - and that it’s stronger than they admit.

Sharif knows that Khan inherited an economic mess when he took office four years ago - the legacy of egregious mismanagement by his own party, the Pakistan Muslim League. A highly intelligent and gifted man, Shebaz Sharif must be agonisingly aware in private that his party was the architect of the massive debt and gross economic incompetence that Khan is struggling to confront since taking office.

Imran Khan inherited a virtually empty Treasury, a broken tax system and barely two months’ worth of foreign exchange reserves. To deal with Pakistan’s external debts, the Khan government hiked up the prices of power and fuel, bearing most heavily on the poor. Popular anger was inevitable.

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He has a more commanding presence on the international stage than any Pakistani leader since Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the brilliant and charismatic founder of the PPP (and grandfather of Khan’s current opponent, PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari). Like Ali Bhutto, Khan has worked to shape Pakistan as an independent nation. Ali Bhutto turned Pakistan away from dependence on the US that characterised the long dictatorship of Mohammad Ayub Khan. Imran Khan has sought to do the same, building alliances with China
and Russia, while also reaching out to Muslim states such as Iran, Malaysia and Turkey.


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Khan’s critics, both in Pakistan and overseas, have made light of his claims that the US could be responsible for his current political troubles. This attitude reflects either naivety, ignorance or disingenuousness.
While the facts are still obscure, and may never be fully known, history shows that Khan is entirely reasonable in fearing US interference in the country he governs.
Riaz Haq said…
Helped by #imrankhanPTI's extensive coverage, ARY
#ARYNews Tops TV Ratings in #Pakistan, beating 2nd ranked #GeoNews by wide margin. @PTIofficial https://nayatel.com/nayateltrending/

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1520460085494882304?s=20&t=c3g8VyprgG9iXigdBNjtng
Riaz Haq said…
How Imran Khan Is Disrupting Pakistan’s Political Economy
While Khan has lost the prime minister’s office, his core base of supporters has not abandoned him.

By Uzair Younus
May 05, 2022

https://thediplomat.com/2022/05/how-imran-khan-is-disrupting-pakistans-political-economy/


First as a cricketer and now as a politician, Imran Khan has for years perfected the art of drawing in a crowd. A day after he became the first prime minister in Pakistan’s history to be ousted through a vote of no confidence, Khan’s supporters came out in large numbers. Since then, Khan has addressed large crowds in Peshawar, Karachi, and Lahore, showcasing that he remains extremely popular, especially among the urban demographic.

Khan’s ability to draw out these numbers must be viewed as part of a broader global phenomenon, where significant portions of society, especially younger voters, have increasingly rallied to populist leaders.

A core driver of this draw is a rejection of “status quo elites” who have, the argument goes, extracted wealth and benefits for the few at the expense of the many. This belief in the United States drew voters to both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, and while their supporters disagreed on policies and ideology, they were united in their anger at status quo elites.

In Chile, a similar movement led to the election of a 36-year-old as president; in India, Narendra Modi became popular amid cries of “there is no alternative,” with millions of young Indians voting for him for a second term despite growing youth unemployment.

In Pakistan, anger at the status quo has been building up for years, starting with the country’s transition to democracy in 2007-08. Khan has been at the center of the movement, consistently railing against corruption and the extraction of wealth in Pakistan’s kleptocratic political economy. This consistency in messaging is a major attraction for those who believe in figures like Khan.

Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

Another key driver of his popularity has been the urban youth: the median age in Pakistan is about 23 years, meaning that a majority of Pakistanis were born after the country conducted its nuclear tests. This generation is influenced by nationalism and Islam — both disseminated through Pakistan Studies curricula in public and private schools. They grew up in the Musharraf dictatorship, which to this day is considered the “good old times” in middle- and upper-middle-class drawing rooms. The end of the dictatorship was followed by the traumatic years of democratic transition, marked by growing economic uncertainty, chronic power shortages, thousands of deaths at the hands of terrorists, and growing inequality.

During this same period, one corruption scandal after another reinforced the view that civilian elites were unworthy of ruling the country. Media channels and leading television anchors further popularized this narrative, and the Panama Papers’ revelations against the then-ruling establishment were the final nail in the coffin.

Khan harnessed this growing anger and grew his political base as part of his crusade against his political opponents. Growing digitization amplified his message, with digitally native youth volunteering for his party, leveraging social media and democratized information networks to spread his message.

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For a country facing another economic crisis, this polarization could not have come at a worse time. The country faces perhaps the greatest risk to internal cohesion since 1971, when East Pakistan broke off to form Bangladesh. Khan’s opponents have yet to demonstrate that they understand the full nature and scope of the crisis confronting the country.


They also do not have a narrative that can effectively push back against Khan, particularly in urban centers. All of this means that political volatility is not going away any time soon, and as polarization continues to grow, increased chaos and upheaval cannot be ruled out.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's police arrest dozens of supporters of ex-PM #imrankhanPTI .
@fawadchaudhry of Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said the police operation began just after midnight and officers were still raiding the houses of supporters late in the day. #Islamabadmarch

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1528878745422942209?s=20&t=HQ0ugpcV_1CH_94WJ4MO3Q


The key opposition party led by recently ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan accused police of detaining dozens of its supporters Monday in an attempt to foil a planned protest seeking to force Pakistan’s government into calling early elections.
Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesman for Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said the police operation began just after midnight and officers were still raiding the houses of supporters late in the day.

Khan took to Twitter, condemning the arrests of his supporters.

No government official was immediately available for comment.

The development came two days after Khan urged his supporters to gather in Islamabad on Wednesday for a demonstration that he said would continue until the government announced a date for snap elections.


Khan, who served as prime minister for over three and half years, was ousted by a no-confidence vote in parliament in April. He was replaced as prime minister by Shahbaz Sharif.

Khan contends his removal was the result of a U.S.-organized plot. Washington has denied the claim, and Sharif calls it a pack of lies.

Riaz Haq said…
Helped by extensive coverage of #imrankhanPTI's #IslamabadLongMarch , ARY
#ARYNews Tops TV Ratings in #Pakistan, beating 2nd ranked #GeoNews by a wide margin.
@PTIofficial https://nayatel.com/nayateltrending/

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1529182226671276032?s=20&t=aFgrcQfywio-pcxBIusQSA
Riaz Haq said…
Bilal I Gilani
@bilalgilani
Anger at Imran Khan govt removal increasing in Pakistan

Majority now angry at removal of PTI govt

The trend is fast changing as the opposite was true before and on the eve of No Confidence motion being passed

Recent
@GallupPak
report on political weather in Pakistan

https://twitter.com/bilalgilani/status/1541057740503920640?s=20&t=xP5Z86w28mP9bjRRfaBUXw


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Gallup Poll Result: 61% of Pakistanis unhappy, 39% happy with Imran Khan's removal.
Riaz Haq said…
Political survival

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2022/06/27/political-survival/


Not even 90 days into its tenure, the coalition government is being asked exactly what was the purpose of removing Imran Khan from power rather than let him fall under the weight of the economic woes he faced that were much of his own making? If Federal Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir Khan is to be believed, answering this very question on a private television channel talk show, a larger motivation was political survival than economic repair work.

According to Dastgir, Imran Khan as Prime Minister was gearing up to get senior opposition politicians disqualified for life through NAB and the courts as part of a broader strategy to ‘remain in power for the next fifteen years’. There is no denying that Imran Khan has threatened to ‘lock up everyone’ from Shahbaz Sharif to Asif Ali Zardari downwards, but for that to be taken as anything more than hyperbole by those in the crosshairs to engineer a takedown of the PTI government at a significant and obvious political cost, is a bit of a stretch.
Riaz Haq said…
Questioning the authenticity of NAB
What remains to be examined is whether the National Accountability Bureau will revert back to its previous mechanisms of being used as a tool for seeking revenge from political opponents. Or will it be able to live up to its expectations, with respect to ensuring impartiality and fairness in its accountability drive across the board?

https://www.globalvillagespace.com/questioning-the-authenticity-of-nab/

The objection (to NAB law amendments 2022 passed by PMLN/PPP Coalition)) is that the law was passed in a matter of minutes without any deliberation or discussion with the Head of the State. It was also noted that the amendment shifts the burden of proof on the prosecution and makes the accountability watchdog’s laws similar to the Code of Criminal Procedure. Making it impossible for prosecutors to prove cases of corruption and abuse of office by state officials. The bill is now expected to be presented before the President once again for his assent. And if he does not give his approval within 10 days, it would be deemed to have been given.

Though some amendments are an improvement with respect to the previous law such as the right to bail and the decriminalization of erroneous executive decisions without strong evidence of corruption. However, at the same time the law has been changed for the benefit of those against whom lawsuits are pending in the superior courts, guaranteeing their acquittal. Making this an evident case involving conflict of interest. For instance, the definition of “asset” has been changed to a great extent. The 1999 Ordinance classified “assets” as belonging to the defendant, including his spouse, relatives, or associates. Whereas the newly amended bill has removed “spouses, relatives, associates” from its description.



Riaz Haq said…
Ayaz Amir
@OfficialAyazMir
ہمارے ملک کو پراپرٹی ڈیلروں سے بچانا ہوگا ،
اسلام آباد ہائی کورٹ کے زیر اہتمام رجیم چینج کانفرنس میں میرا خطاب

https://twitter.com/OfficialAyazMir/status/1542502804337545218?s=20&t=c0igbWf6vmXuUsYB5Eb7Gw

---------------


Murtaza Ali Shah
@MurtazaViews
One of the original Tabdeeli merchants Ayaz Amir to Imran Khan:

https://twitter.com/MurtazaViews/status/1542566897866182658?s=20&t=c0igbWf6vmXuUsYB5Eb7Gw
Riaz Haq said…
#PTI led by #ImranKhanPTI rules over 160 million #Pakistanis out of 220 million people in #Pakistan. It is truly representative of the majority of the people. PTI should govern #Punjab and #KP well by delivering to the people who have put their faith in the party and its leader.

https://twitter.com/haqsmusings/status/1559230035965292545?s=20&t=Q0aElv1PqKTQ75TK8GFJDg
Riaz Haq said…
Maryam Nawaz Sharif's leaked audios of conversation with her uncle PM Shahbaz Sharif:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1711882

The first clip purportedly features a conversation between PML-N Vice President Maryam and the premier about Miftah, who has reportedly faced criticism from within the party for taking tough economic measures.

The PML-N vice president has publicly stated that she does not agree with the decision to hike petrol and electricity prices, saying she did not own such decisions, whether her party was in government or not.

"He doesn't take responsibility [...] says strange things on TV which people make fun of him for [...] he doesn't know what he is doing," the voice said to be Maryam's says in the alleged clip.

"He clearly cut corners," the voice said to be PM Shehbaz's is heard as saying.

"Uncle, he doesn't know what he is doing," Maryam purportedly says, as she wishes for the return of PML-N stalwart Ishaq Dar.

Former finance minister Dar is set to return to the country next week to facilitate PM Shehbaz on the economic front.

The second clip allegedly concerns a conversation between the premier, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Law Minister Azam Tarar, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and former NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq about the resignations of PTI lawmakers from the lower house of parliament.

A third clip purportedly features a conversation between Maryam and PM Shehbaz regarding the return of former army chief retired Gen Pervez Mushar­raf.

The former military ruler’s family publicly confirmed in June that he was “going through a difficult stage" where recovery was not possible while Inter-Services Pub­lic Relations (ISPR) Director Gen­eral Maj Gen Babar Iftik­har said Mushar­raf's family was in contact with the military regarding his planned return.

Discussing this in the alleged clip, the voice alleged to be Maryam's can be heard saying that she "sees this coming", adding that she said the same to Nawaz in a phone call.

"I told him to tweet this. He listened to me immediately," the PML-N vice president allegedly says, adding that the move was "opposed" by several people. She allegedly reasons that showing "magnanimity" in this situation would help the government save face.

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She said that there was nothing in the leaks that was similar to the "anti-Pakistan conspiracy of Shaukat Tarin", referring to the audio clips attributed to Tarin regarding the International Monetary Fund programme.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah appeared to play down the matter while speaking on Geo News show "Naya Pakistan", saying that nothing definitive could be said about the prime minister house’s security being breached until the leaks were investigated.

"I don't think we should take them so seriously since this is so common," he added.

“If the probe proves that it’s not safe to talk in the prime minister house and somebody has done this [spying] arrangement, then it’s really serious but it is inappropriate to say this without proof.”

Sanaullah did not reject the content of the audios, instead, saying that the current setup's "good governance" was reflected through them.

He also said that the prime minister had taken notice of the leaks and would consult his cabinet on the issue tomorrow, adding that the matter would be sorted out in the next few days.

On the leak where Maryam could allegedly be heard criticising the finance minister, the interior minister said expression of opinion was allowed in democratic and political systems, adding that Ismail was criticised by outsiders so it made no difference if Maryam or some others in the PML-N did so as well.

"What was wrong if Maryam said some of his decisions cost us politically."

Sanaullah also seemingly blamed the finance minister for the recent high fuel adjustment charges, asking why they couldn't have been spread over a period of months.
Riaz Haq said…
The Assassination Attempt on Former Prime Minister Imran Khan Could Push Pakistan to the Brink

https://time.com/6228747/imran-khan-assassination-attempt-pakistan-brink/


How bad will things get? It’s the question everyone in Pakistan is asking following Thursday’s shooting of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, as the cricketing icon led a march on Islamabad to demand snap elections that could return him to power.

Khan, 70, was wounded in the shin when a gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon on his convoy of lorries and cars in the Wazirabad district in the east of Punjab province, the sound of gunfire crackling through a chorus of “Allah-Hoo,” a popular religious song, that was blaring through loudspeakers. One supporter was killed and seven more injured in the apparent assassination attempt, according to Punjab police. Khan has since undergone surgery on his leg and is said to be recovering well.

Protests have erupted across the South Asian nation of 230 million in response to the attack—which Khan blamed on a conspiracy between the government and Pakistan’s powerful military—with demonstrators blocking main roads and, in a marked escalation from previous flare-ups, even haranguing senior military figures.

“The political situation in Pakistan has been a powder keg for months,” says Michael Kugelman, the deputy director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center. “This attack could be what causes the powder keg to explode if calmer minds don’t prevail.”

In a statement issued through Asad Umar, secretary-general of Khan’s centrist Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the former Prime Minister accused Pakistan’s current leader Shahbaz Sharif alongside interior minister ​​Rana Sanaullah and director of counterintelligence Major General Faisal Naseer for orchestrating the attack. “I have prior information about the attack and I demand all three should be removed from their position. If they are not removed we will call a country-wide protest,” Umar said on Khan’s behalf, according to The Times.

Sharif of the center-right PML-N—also a brother of Khan’s longtime nemesis Nawaz Sharif—has denied involvement and released a statement on Thursday condemning the attack. The alleged assailant was apprehended at the scene and police released a video confession of a disheveled man alleging that he wanted to “kill Imran Khan because he claims prophethood by comparing himself with prophets.”
Riaz Haq said…
The Assassination Attempt on Former Prime Minister Imran Khan Could Push Pakistan to the Brink

https://time.com/6228747/imran-khan-assassination-attempt-pakistan-brink/


How bad will things get? It’s the question everyone in Pakistan is asking following Thursday’s shooting of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, as the cricketing icon led a march on Islamabad to demand snap elections that could return him to power.

Khan, 70, was wounded in the shin when a gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon on his convoy of lorries and cars in the Wazirabad district in the east of Punjab province, the sound of gunfire crackling through a chorus of “Allah-Hoo,” a popular religious song, that was blaring through loudspeakers. One supporter was killed and seven more injured in the apparent assassination attempt, according to Punjab police. Khan has since undergone surgery on his leg and is said to be recovering well.

Protests have erupted across the South Asian nation of 230 million in response to the attack—which Khan blamed on a conspiracy between the government and Pakistan’s powerful military—with demonstrators blocking main roads and, in a marked escalation from previous flare-ups, even haranguing senior military figures.

“The political situation in Pakistan has been a powder keg for months,” says Michael Kugelman, the deputy director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center. “This attack could be what causes the powder keg to explode if calmer minds don’t prevail.”

In a statement issued through Asad Umar, secretary-general of Khan’s centrist Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the former Prime Minister accused Pakistan’s current leader Shahbaz Sharif alongside interior minister ​​Rana Sanaullah and director of counterintelligence Major General Faisal Naseer for orchestrating the attack. “I have prior information about the attack and I demand all three should be removed from their position. If they are not removed we will call a country-wide protest,” Umar said on Khan’s behalf, according to The Times.

Sharif of the center-right PML-N—also a brother of Khan’s longtime nemesis Nawaz Sharif—has denied involvement and released a statement on Thursday condemning the attack. The alleged assailant was apprehended at the scene and police released a video confession of a disheveled man alleging that he wanted to “kill Imran Khan because he claims prophethood by comparing himself with prophets.”

However, neither Khan nor his supporters accept that this was a lone gunman. Asked whether he believes Sharif was behind the attack, Fawad Chaudhry, former Information Minister for the PTI, tells TIME: “Of course, they were openly threatening Khan.” In response, some pro-PML-N supporters have accused the PTI of a false flag attack to boost Khan’s popularity.


Pakistan is no stranger to political violence. In 1951, its first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was shot dead at a gathering. Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December 2007 in a gun and bomb attack during an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi. Following her death, Khan penned an op-ed for the U.K. Telegraph newspaper with the unfortunate headline: “Benazir Bhutto Has Only Herself to Blame.”
Riaz Haq said…
The Assassination Attempt on Former Prime Minister Imran Khan Could Push Pakistan to the Brink

https://time.com/6228747/imran-khan-assassination-attempt-pakistan-brink/


It’s unlikely that Khan will feel the same way about his own narrow escape. The PTI has become increasingly swathed in a victim complex following Khan’s ouster in a parliamentary no confidence vote in April, after a dozen lawmakers from his party defected in part over his embrace of Vladimir Putin during a visit to Moscow on Feb. 23 at the outbreak of the Russian President’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Khan has since raged—without evidence—about a U.S.-sponsored plot to unseat him. Social media teems with PTI supporters alleging that Thursday’s assassination attempt was a foreign plot to destabilize Pakistan. On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken released a statement condemning the attack, calling on “all parties to refrain from violence, harassment, and intimidation.”

That appears a vain hope. Pakistani politics has become increasingly nasty and vindictive, with several top PTI figures arrested and intimidated over recent months, while Khan himself has been slapped with various charges—including terrorism, over comments deemed threatening he made to the judge and senior policeman responsible for the arrest of an aide—that he claims are politically motivated. In the meantime, the nuclear-armed nation has been blighted by runaway inflation that reached 26% in October and floods that inundated one-third of the country, claimed over 1,700 lives, and caused an estimated $40 billion in damage. “It’s striking that given Pakistan’s economic crisis, given these terrible floods, the government has continued to target Khan and its supporters with retributive politics,” says Kugelman.

Still, Khan was guilty of needlessly antagonistic behavior before his own toppling, denouncing political rivals as “traitors” and taunting the powerful military—which has ruled Pakistan for half its 75-year existence—as “neutrals,” in a sardonic reference to their historical role as kingmaker. Last week, Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt. Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum gave an unprecedented press conference—the first time the head of Pakistan’s spy agency has ever addressed the media—during which he accused Khan of duplicitously negotiating with the military at night while denouncing them during the day.


By feeding into Khan’s victim narrative, the attack undeniably boosts his ambitions of returning to power. Although Sharif does not constitutionally have to hold elections until August, millions taking to the street may force his hand. Khan’s party has gained seven seats in recent by-elections and has the political momentum behind him. But Pakistan’s elections commission in October also disqualified Khan from holding office for five years, amid allegations he sold state gifts and concealed personal assets—charges he denies. Even if Khan could run, who would win any such contest “really depends on who can mobilize the people,” says Samina Yasmeen, director of the Centre for Muslim States and Societies at the University of Western Australia. “At the moment, it’s heavily in favor of Imran Khan.”

Not that Pakistan’s problems would be over should Khan return to power. His first term was blighted by entrenched polarization and economic mismanagement compounded by global headwinds like the pandemic and soaring oil prices. And Khan’s injury also raises the stakes for his opponents since he would have no shortage of axes to grind were he back in office. The military, whose support was crucial to bring Khan to power in 2018, has already said that it would back Sharif’s government in case of widespread unrest. That is exactly what looks in store. “Let’s say people demonstrate a lot, there’s a lot of disturbances and political violence, would the military shoot at people?” asks Yasmeen. “The moment that happens it becomes a very different picture.”
Riaz Haq said…
After Imran Khan’s Ouster, Pakistan Is Going Through an Unprecedented Political Crisis by Ayyaz Mallick


https://jacobin.com/2022/11/imran-khan-pakistan-military-generals-political-crisis-assassination

Pakistan’s ousted leader, Imran Khan, is continuing his bid to regain power after surviving an assassination attempt last week. With the traditional parties discredited and divisions opening up in the military, the country is entering uncharted waters.

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In late 2021, a row developed between Khan and army chief General Bajwa, who had up to this point been the PTI leader’s chief benefactor and ally. Bajwa attempted to transfer the intelligence chief, Lt General Faiz Hameed, who was the Khan government’s de facto whip and organizational muscle man. Khan dithered and resisted, intimating that he might be planning to appoint Hameed as the next army chief so as to secure another term in power.


However, Bajwa had made up his mind. The opposition sensed an opening as relations soured between the two men, and Khan’s political allies now jumped ship. A vote of no confidence in Pakistan’s parliament forced him out of office. Khan claimed that he was the victim of a US-sponsored regime-change conspiracy on the basis of an unpleasant meeting that Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington had held with a State Department official.

The post-Khan administration brought together political has-beens with their progenies and protégés under the banner of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). Fearing Khan’s substantial reserves of popularity, they did not call for fresh elections to get over the taint of the highly manipulated 2018 ones. Instead, they took the reins of power so they could enjoy the perks of office, cuddle up to General Bajwa, and have some say in the appointment of the next army chief.

The PDM government has also implemented austerity policies with the same ruthlessness as its predecessor. Cuts to Pakistan’s already threadbare fuel and electricity subsidies have compounded the impact of soaring inflation, which has been fueled by global trends as well as the depreciation of the Pakistani rupee in the name of market adjustment.

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As Antonio Gramsci reminds us, a crisis can sometimes last for decades, revealing incurable structural contradictions. The current political turbulence in Pakistan arises from a deep-rooted and long-standing structural crisis of this nature. Only a political force with social depth and programmatic coherence can permanently resolve this crisis by fundamentally transforming the socioeconomic order.

In the absence of such a force, the constant jockeying for position between different factions of the country’s ruling bloc will continue, occasionally resulting in deadlock. The United States is not playing the same role as imperial sponsor or mediator that it did in similar crises of the past, and Pakistan’s relationship with China will not offer a substitute for its leaders.

We thus appear to be hurtling toward the kind of catastrophic equilibrium that Gramsci once warned about, in which large sections of the masses and key pillars of the hegemonic order become detached from their traditional vehicles. Khan, who was the latest (and perhaps last) popular figure working in coordination with the ruling bloc, now seems intractably opposed to it.

With political maneuvers no longer capable of papering over the structural fault lines, we are entering a context where, as Gramsci put it, the field becomes “open for violent solutions, for the activities of unknown forces, represented by charismatic ‘men of destiny.’” Now may be the time of monsters.

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