The freedom march of previous Prime Minister Imran Khan on 25th March 2022, called Freedom March giving threat to current government to massive destruction ended with his turn back from dharna. Public gathered at D-Chowk Islamabad instead of road blockage and other hinders. Reporters say that he has some kind of fear with law enforcement agencies may lead to bloodshed.
Kaptaan did not continue forward, which was a letdown for his admirers. Later, he would explain why he made the decision to end the ‘dharna’ by stating that he feared that skirmishes with law enforcement agencies could escalate to ‘bloodshed,’ since he claimed that his supporters were also armed. This was his justification for ending the ‘dharna’. Given the existing tension, that seems like a reasonable explanation.
On the other hand, it’s possible it wasn’t the sole factor in Imran Khan’s about-face. When he made the call, it’s possible that he already had a glimpse of the impending bloodshed. In point of fact, much to his utter dismay, only a trickle of people showed up to storm the capital and bring down the so-called imported government, rather than the millions of people that he had imagined would show up. The much-touted “revolution” did not materialise. Many potential participants in the march may have been dissuaded from participating as a result of the government’s use of excessive force and its obstruction of roadways.
Backlash to the Populist and Nationalist Language
The tremendous popular backlash to the populist and nationalist language of the former prime minister must have persuaded him to consider the possibility that the support could be channelled into an activist force that would bring down the current administration. It was a complete error in judgement on his side, and it was this error that caused him to suffer a political setback. It would appear that he has not taken any lessons from the political disaster he caused in 2014.
Now that he has established himself in Peshawar, his stronghold, Imran Khan is reevaluating his strategy there. Today is the final day of his deadline for the government to announce that it will dissolve the Assembly and set a date for elections. If his demands are not satisfied, he has threatened to return to Islamabad with “millions of marchers.”
In the meantime, the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has vowed to use the “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa force” to disobey any limitations that are placed on the march. A situation like this may easily escalate into violent conflict, which is supposedly what the former prime minister was trying to avoid when he called off the demonstration a week ago. The brutal use of force by the government against supporters of the PTI and its crackdown on the party leadership is not something that can be tolerated under any circumstances. However, the use of violent threats by party officials affiliated with the PTI cannot be excused under any circumstances.
Oddly enough, Imran Khan has also been looking to the Supreme Court in an effort to protect what he calls his democratic right to hold a peaceful demonstration. For the purpose of ensuring that one’s democratic and human rights are upheld, turning to the Supreme Court is probably not going to do anyone any harm. However, there is an increasing propensity among political parties to involve the supreme court in political issues that ought to be settled in parliament and other elected forums. This is problematic because the supreme court is not directly elected by the people. It should therefore not come as a surprise that the judicial branch frequently intrudes upon those areas that are traditionally considered to be the purview of the executive and the legislature. Because of this, the Supreme Court is unnecessarily thrust into the spotlight.
It would appear from Imran Khan’s speech that he is working toward the goal of exerting pressure on the supreme court as well as other state institutions. He has raised questions about the impartiality of the judges who decided against the unlawful move he took in April, which was to dissolve the National Assembly. It is safe to say that he is not a supporter of trying to find solutions to political problems in parliament or engaging in dialogue with members of opposing political parties.
PTI Lawmakers should Resign from the National Assembly
Given that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) cannot make headway through agitational tactics, Imran Khan’s directive that PTI lawmakers should resign from the National Assembly appears to have led the party down a path that leads nowhere. The events that took place on May 25 are a valuable lesson. The party might have been able to perform better in their job in parliament if they had tried harder.
It should not be surprising that some media reports have found splits among the leadership of the PTI over the subject of the resignation of the MNAs. There is no way that remaining outside of parliament until the elections that are scheduled for the next year will boost the party’s standing in the polls. In an interesting turn of events, the leadership of the party has opted to take a position that is intentionally vague with regard to the resignations. Specifically, they have chosen not to personally appear before the Speaker and the Election Commission as the Constitution mandates them do.
It is clear that the leadership of the PTI is purposefully working to undermine the effectiveness of the Lower House. During the PTI’s dharna that lasted for four months outside of parliament in 2014, the organisation did just this. A position as illogical as this will be detrimental to the functioning of democratic politics. The use of violence and anarchy are simply going to inspire extra-constitutional behaviour, which is something that has happened numerous times in the past.
In the meantime, the events of May 25 should not be interpreted as a victory for the coalition government led by the PML-N, which is literally clinging to power by a thread. Following several weeks of indecision, the Sharif government has at long last settled on the decision to see the National Assembly through its full term. Additionally, it has started taking some long-overdue efforts to stabilise the economy, which it has done.
The subsidy on petroleum goods was eventually reduced by the government one week ago, opening the door for the IMF programme that had been put on hold to be restarted. However, the implementation of these steps will not be sufficient to avert a severe economic disaster. There is still a significant barrier in the way of moving forward, and that barrier is the current polarisation as well as the growing situation of political antagonism.
Administration Duty to bring down Political climate
The administration bears the primary duty for bringing down the temperature of the political climate. Nevertheless, it is sad that the belligerent tone that some of its ministers have adopted is adding to the stress. A significant number of opposition figures have been arrested on a variety of accusations, which has added to the mutual antagonism.
The completion of the term by the ruling coalition was necessary in order to carry out election reforms, which was one of the reasons. However, the credibility of the upcoming elections cannot be improved by any unilateral reform. In a similar vein, the hurried adjustments to the NAB legislation make the government vulnerable to charges that the amendments are intended to stop corruption prosecutions against some key leaders in the ruling alliance.
Given the government’s limited time in power and the precarious political climate, it is abundantly clear that it is impossible to hold the current administration to any standard of performance across the board. The current political and economic difficulties have no other possible resolution save calling for early elections that could result in a stable government. However, in order to accomplish this goal, it is necessary to ensure that the elections are trustworthy.