The collapse of Imran Khan’s government raises the question of how he ended up facing a no-confidence vote. Despite the fact that the parliamentary process was blocked and a constitutional crisis developed, his reign will come to an end. Few governments in modern Pakistani history have started off with Khan’s advantages. He possessed the military’s full support, widespread public support, control of Punjab, a fragmented and demoralized opposition, and a popular desire for change. Few governments, however, have so swiftly disappointed supporters and underwhelmed supporters with their underperformance, broken promises, polarizing politics, and Trumpian behavior.
The collapse of Imran Khan and the crisis in the state of Pakistan:
In Imran Khan’s address to the nation, three days before to the no- confidence vote, the claim that the US is involved in a conspiracy to overthrow his government is a very ridiculous./1
— Dr Zayar (@ZayarDr) April 1, 2022
Issues To Imran Govt
Khan’s government may have experienced a confidence crisis that led to its tenure being cut short due to a number of issues. The first was certainly a minority government’s deception.
The first was clearly a minority government’s illusion that it had a decisive mandate and could rule alone, disregarding other political actors’ views and interests. Being the leader of a coalition government should have required humility, as well as efforts to achieve consensus, compromise, and listen to partners. Imran Khan, on the other hand, elected to govern without a majority, ignoring Pakistan’s federal realities and a legislative system that requires compromise to function.
This was exacerbated by the highly individualised nature of governance, in which power was concentrated in a single person who made critical decisions on his own rather than after well-considered advice. Personalised governance meant relying on the leader’s instincts and ego rather than an institutional process of decision-making.
U-turns in the Policy
This resulted in a series of embarrassing policy U-turns, feeding the impression of a haphazard government stumbling along with little sense of purpose. Some of this could be explained by Khan’s lack of experience and knowledge of statecraft. Even in his fourth year, though, his non-consultative and haughty approach persisted, blinding him to growing public dissatisfaction with his performance as well as discontent within his own party.
Weak leadership Khan chose to lead Punjab
The weak leadership Khan chose to lead Punjab, against his own party’s reservations, was a third cause. His government’s Achilles heel became this. Its poor performance fueled internal party strife, contributing to the PTI’s loss of political ground in the province and the emergence of a growing number of dissidents who would become politically crucial in the opposition’s no-confidence vote. Lack of central government also contributed to the ruling party’s political defeats in subsequent by-elections. Rather of looking into the reasons for his party’s losses in national and municipal elections, the prime minister spent more time giving morality lectures and religious sermons.
The party became disorganized, factionalized, and ill-disciplined as a result of this. Because the top leadership relied on the establishment to mobilise majorities to enact legislation in parliament and keep coalition allies in line, political management remained an unlearned talent. This, however, has its limitations. Khan’s inability to make time for allies, much less listens to their needs, alienated them and cost him political capital. Several of his supporters deserted him to join the opposition in the attempt to overthrow him.
The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) cases
Khan’s preoccupation with demonising the opposition and targeting its leaders consumed a large portion of his time and energy. The National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) cases against opposition individuals were intended to destroy their reputations and political standing, but the process was tarnished by the one-sided nature of accountability and the lack of court convictions. He and his ministers, unable to recognise opposition as legitimate activity, continuously painted its leaders as venal and unpatriotic, painting them all with the same brush. This resulted in a refusal to collaborate with other political parties. It brought together a diverse mix of opposition groups with various interests, unified by a desire to depose him through constitutional means. By driving the major opposition parties to the wall, the government was able to form a united front and leave the country.
The Government’s Accountability Effort To Undermine Rivals
The government’s excess of attention on its so-called accountability effort to undermine rivals proved a disastrous diversion from improving its performance, especially as the economy weakened and public discontent grew. It meant a lack of focus on the issues that mattered most to people, such as the cost of living, unemployment, utility rate hikes, and the continued supply of critical goods and services. Indeed, the Khan administration’s economic management was characterised by U-turns and frequent changes in ministers and financial advisers. Its revolving door strategy was also visible in other fields, but it had far more catastrophic economic consequences. Despite a slight rebound as a result of the government’s Covid-related stimulus measures, the administration committed a strategic error by delaying the IMF program’s resumption. This reduced foreign exchange reserves, putting the economy in jeopardy.
Inflation became a politically volatile subject after rising dramatically due to a variety of variables, including supply-side and monetary considerations, as well as unrestricted subsidy programmes and Khan’s populist “give-away” schemes. Internal and external debt grew at an exponential rate, with public debt exceeding 90% of GDP.
Inflationary pressures have emerged as the single most significant source of public dissatisfaction with the PTI government. The opposition was able to ramp up its campaign and use public discontent to mount the no-confidence challenge because of the economic turmoil and hardship.
No civil-military interaction
Without considering the civil-military interaction, no analysis of what went wrong would be complete. Last year, tensions rose due to disagreements over governance and foreign policy problems, as well as the choice of a new ISI leader. However, there is scant evidence that there was a split or that the establishment abandoned the administration. The military establishment, on the other hand, took a neutral stance in the no-confidence vote and, unlike in the past, did not try to save the government’s political chestnuts from the fire. It’s debatable if this was a significant element in the opposition’s ability to mobilise the needed parliamentary number. What is known is that the Khan government’s demise was precipitated by its own arrogance, unpredictable governance, and intolerance of minorities.