Samson-like Imran Khan seeks to ensure that if he isn’t Prime Minister, then he will destroy everything – from the economy to foreign relations – for his successors. Imran Khan’s supporters also believe that Khan is the only patriot, and the rest are all traitors. The use of such language ‘chor’ ‘gaddar’ will only further polarize Pakistani society.
As columnist Zahid Hussain wrote, while the “falsified use of the ‘patriotism’ label is not uncommon in Pakistan’s power politics” yet Imran Khan “has taken the charade to a new level altogether. His narrative that he is the sole defender of the national interest comes across as deceitful, while branding his political opponents as traitors has set a dangerous precedent. Most troubling are his recent speeches that have called upon his supporters to protest outside the houses of party dissidents, as he alleges they are part of a ‘foreign conspiracy’. There have been some reports of PTI supporters harassing opposition members. These can be seen as fascist tendencies — when ‘nationalism’ is used as a tool to suppress dissenting voices.”
As Hussain notes, the allegation of a foreign conspiracy “has been built around a cable from the outgoing Pakistan ambassador to Washington, based on his conversations with senior-level US State Department officials. It is simply a diplomat’s analysis of the existing views in Washington regarding the Khan government. The content of the ambassador’s letter has reportedly been shared with some cabinet ministers and the top military leadership. But security sources are reported to have said that there was no mention of any foreign plot to overthrow the prime minister. Moreover, there is no evidence that the opposition’s no-confidence move is part of a foreign conspiracy. The PTI has also been misconstruing a statement issued after a meeting of the National Security Committee, dragging the military leadership into the controversy. The PTI’s move to whip up nationalist sentiments has dangerously polarised the country.”
Over the last few years “Imran Khan’s limited understanding of foreign policy, which he has tried to substitute with populist rhetoric, has damaged Pakistan’s relations with even friendly countries. He has attempted to blend foreign policy with his regressive worldview. His naïve comments on complex international matters have often put Pakistan in an embarrassing position. His decisions on some of the most sensitive foreign policy issues have been driven by whims rather than reason. His thoughtless actions have led to a loss of face for the country many times.”
In conclusion, Hussain points out that a lot has to do with Imran Khan’s exaggerated “sense of influence in the international arena.”
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