Prime Minister Imran Khan and his advisors have often believed that they will be able to stay in power if they hold sway over social media and manage the narrative. Unfortunately, governing a country of 210 million requires more than that. Denigrating opposition leaders, using troll armies on social media against critics, and taking a u-turn on every single policy passed over the last three years is hardly called governance.
The PTI and Imran Khan may breathe a sigh of relief that the opposition coalition is in disarray but they should not be under the mistaken assumption that this will make life easier for them: the economy is still in shambles, the pandemic is still playing havoc, the government has no idea how to deal with this next wave of Covid, and foreign policy is in disarray.
As Dawn columnist and former Editor, Abbas Nasir wrote, “Even when the opposition PDM alliance, in the form we have known it, is collapsing, the question being asked is if the governing PTI really needs enemies given its incredible propensity to cause self-harm as the events of the past few days have demonstrated again.”
As an Editorial in Dawn pointed out, the PDM is “collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions. The escalating war of words between its two largest parties, the PML-N and PPP, is rupturing the alliance beyond repair. Had the alliance shown greater maturity and political restraint, it would not have had to face this grim situation. It was always evident that the past would continue to haunt prospects of cooperation between the PML-N and PPP. The level of distrust between the two rivals had built up over the decades. It would have been naïve of anyone to expect that this accumulated reservoir of distrust would dissipate with the formation of the PDM.”
Finally, as Dawn notes, had the leaders of PPP and PML-N “confined their disagreements to closed-door meetings, and attempted to resolve these differences with a flexible approach, perhaps the alliance could have been saved. The aggressive manner in which both Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari tackled these disputes in full glare of the cameras left reduced any chances of a rapprochement. Whether it was inexperience or ill judgement on part of these young leaders, the end result was the veritable rupturing of the alliance.”