Prime Minister Imran Khan’s outburst was not the first time he lost his cool, but his tone during a live TV interview the other day was not what one would expect from a leader in command of the situation. His underlying displeasure and weakness were revealed by a menacing tone.
He directed his rage not just at the opposition, but also at the judges and the media. They were held responsible for everything that went wrong with his administration. He appeared to be losing the battle, but he was not about to give up. His downfall may not be unavoidable, but the current developments raise doubts about his government’s long-term viability.
The prime minister further warned that if he loses power, he could become even more violent. It’s unclear who the threat was aimed towards. It may not be the endgame, but the prime minister’s remarks have only added to the public’s perception of his government’s increasingly precarious position. Unfortunately, he appears to be unwilling to look into where the government has gone wrong. There’s always someone else to blame for the difficulties. The country’s condition is blamed on either previous regimes’ misrule or the mafias. The breakdown of the PTI government’s ‘anti-corruption’ drive, which had primarily targeted opposition leaders, appears to have sparked the prime minister’s rage. He blamed the failure on the judges and the media.
As public discontent builds over growing living costs and the administration fails to deliver on its pledges to bring about change, it is clear that he is under a lot of pressure. The claim that inflation is solely determined by external sources is unconvincing. There is no denying global interconnections, yet mismanagement and faulty economic policies have also contributed to the country’s spiraling commodities costs. The people who are directly affected by the skyrocketing food prices will not be satisfied by blaming mafias and cartels for the problem.
The Prime Minister appears to be on the losing end of a conflict. The ruling party has suffered a significant loss of political support as a result. The KP’s electoral setback in local government elections reflects the party’s dwindling political base. It has shown a developing schism within the party’s ranks. The decision to reorganize the party in the midst of the crisis has added to the chaos at a time when the opposition’s push to destabilize the administration has intensified.
The government’s concerns appear to have grown as rumors of an agreement between the security establishment and opposition organizations circulated. The PM’s anxiety appears to have been driven by widespread rumors about a prospective deal. His mention of the rumors hinted at his uneasiness. Such a prospect would undoubtedly be alarming for a government that has been heavily reliant on the security apparatus for its survival. Such backroom transactions are common in Pakistani politics. The opposition’s growing confidence and its plans to march on Islamabad have given credence to rumors that the security establishment has distanced itself from the administration.
This could also signal deterioration in the hybrid power setup. Many perceive the prime minister’s words that if he loses power, he will be more dangerous as a threat to the opposition as well as a message to the establishment. However, such an attitude could be interpreted as a sign of weakness. This could lead to the coalition’s disintegration. The PTI may be demoralized as a result of such message. His government could be harmed more by his autocratic and unreasonable approach than by the opposition’s campaign.
The country’s democratic process has been harmed by the government’s refusal to engage with the opposition on even vital national problems. The prime minister appears to be unaware that a weakened system has left his government more vulnerable. The prime minister may refer to himself as a democratically elected leader, but he has yet to show respect for parliament, while his contempt for elected officials was more pronounced in his remarks.
It has been questioned why the prime minister refuses to meet with the opposition leader, whom he refers to as a criminal, but is willing to meet with terrorist groups such as the TTP, which has broken the truce and increased attacks on Pakistani security forces. The gang has recently executed out terrorist assaults in Islamabad and elsewhere. Confronting the opposition and pursuing an appeasement policy toward proscribed militant groups has produced a perilous situation for the country’s democratic process.
Self-righteousness and religious politics have exacerbated the government’s issues, resulting in escalating political and governance dilemmas. Some local newspapers recently published an article by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif titled “Spirit of Riyasat-i-Madina: Transforming Pakistan,” in which he discusses his vision of an Islamic welfare society centered on the establishment of the rule of law in Pakistan. The country is suffering from “elite capture,” according to the essay, in which “powerful and crooked politicians, cartels, and mafias have become accustomed to being above the law in order to maintain their privileges obtained through a corrupt system.”
There may be no disagreement about the state’s elite capture, but the PTI’s entire political strategy has been to enhance that system. The prime minister’s entourage is made up of members of the same upper class that he professes to be battling.
The prime minister’s definition of ‘Riyasat-i-Madina’ is as hazy as his policies. Clichés do not solve the significant political and economic issues that the country is experiencing. His most recent public outburst raises doubts about his competence to govern the country at this important juncture in its history.