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The Financial Express

All eyes on Imran Khan


All eyes on Imran Khan

What is the strength of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan? He is  transparent. What is the weakness of this cricketer-turned-politician? He is more transparent now. While his transparency is fetching him overwhelming popular support, he is also falling an easy prey to conspiracies everywhere. He is fighting an uphill battle against all the state apparatuses. In the recent Punjab provincial election, he fought hard on an uneven turf. He fought against the local administration, the Election Commission and other agencies acting behind the scene. Still he won the election and formed government in the province. This sent a clear message that it would not be possible to beat Imran Khan in any election. Then came the schedule for election to nine vacant seats of the National Assembly. He announced his candidature for all nine seats. The Election Commission cancelled his one nomination. But he went to court and got it restored. Finally, the Election Commission postponed the election. This is how a constitutional body was being used against Mr Khan.

Then came the hard part of the battle. Cases were filed against him. Several attempts were made to arrest him. But every effort was frustrated by the supporters of his party. Once one car of his motorcade caught fire. Of late, the pilot of his copter fell sick while returning home from a public meeting. Then his chief of staff flew the copter back home. These are two examples of the recent incidents that could cost him his life.

Recently, Mr Khan's Chief of Staff, Shahbaz Gill, who was  professor at a university in the US, was arrested. When in custody, he was reportedly tortured. He endured this torture because of his allegiance to Imran Khan and his party. The good news is he was released from jail just days back.

Imran Khan has embarked on an arduous journey. He could take a shortcut way. But he did not do so. Reportedly, a number of lawmakers from the ruling coalition contacted him. They offered to vote against the incumbent government in the National Assembly. But he did not accept the offer. If he consented, the government could fall within days. But he says a conspirator is always a conspirator. Months back Mr Khan's government also was toppled, as a number of lawmakers from his coalition voted against him in a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly.

Imran Khan claimed on Tuesday that the foreign exchange reserve, remittances and exports all dropped after the fall of his government. The exchange rate of the dollar against Rupee is now hovering around Rs 239, a sharp fall from around Rs 186 at the time of Mr Khan's ouster from the government. Uncertainty remains over an external financing requirement of US$ 30 billion in the current fiscal year. This indicates the abysmal state of the incumbent government's economic performance. During the ouster of his government, Mr Khan warned that the economy would suffer. But nobody paid heed to it. Now the economy has been left in a sorry state.

The economic uncertainty does not guarantee it would be smooth sailing when it comes to Imran Khan's party's bid for power. And that is despite his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)'s popular support. So far he has survived all the conspiracies hatched against him. His only weapon is transparency as is the case with Western democracies, too. That has earned him fabulous support among the people. Now all eyes are riveted on how he bats in the days to come in a more turbulent phase of Pakistan's politics.

 

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