Khan’s Continuing Blunders Portend a Tragic End Game

Prime Minister Imran Khan may claim that he will remain in power and no one can remove him but the Opposition has been able to demonstrate that they have absolute majority in the National Assembly.

As an editorial in The Friday Times points out, the Opposition allowed “independent media to freely quiz over a dozen PTI MNAs holed out in Sindh House Islamabad to determine their motives. An equal number of PTI MNAs are still in hiding from the Intelligence Bureau and Islamabad Police and are expected to show up on D-Day to stick the knife in. Meanwhile, the PTI’s erstwhile allies led by the PMLQ and MQM are visibly stitching up last minute details before formally joining the swelling ranks against Imran Khan. Thus, in the next few days, the Opposition should be able to field at least 200 votes, leaving the PTI gasping with less than 140. There may be some horse trading but the central fact is that widespread popular alienation from Imran Khan’s policies has made it impossible for them to win an election on a PTI ticket. So they are scrambling to get a berth on a winning platform.”

The constitutional thing would have been for Imran Khan to step aside with dignity and allow a new government that enjoys a clear majority to rule in Islamabad. However, Imran Khan cannot accept this fact. His reaction therefore has been negative and abusive. “He is abusing his ex-allies and vowing to “fix” them through the offices of NAB, FIA and assorted government agencies. He is aiming to stop PTI rebels from voting and, failing that, through the office of the Speaker Asad Qaisar, to disqualify them and reject their votes. He is discussing unconstitutional proposals with his hangers-on – like Governor’s Rule in Sindh, Presidential Proclamation of an Emergency, etc. — to block the no-confidence process and drag it into the courts through April and May.”

Further, the Prime Minister “is preparing to besiege Parliament and browbeat parliamentarians on voting day by gathering hostile crowds in D-Chowk. ​This last act of unconstitutional resistance has provoked the Opposition to call for a bigger and equally aggressive demonstration in the same area to counter his machinations. This is a recipe for clashes and violence.”

As the editorial concludes, however, “The Miltablishment has realized that its hybrid experiment led by Bonsai Khan has come a cropper, in the bargain discrediting the institution hugely. Now when the public mood is rabidly anti-PTI, as every survey of public opinion shows, it simply can’t afford to be seen to embrace Khan. For him to take such a big risk without guarantees of Miltablishment “non-neutrality” – which is currently not available — would be a blunder.”

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