NEW PAK PREMIER
In Imran Khan, Pakistan has now a ruler radically different from the ones before him. The country has been having prime ministers, wheelerdealers ruling with the aid of US money and army patronage. The army felt the previous prime minister, Nawaz Shareif, had become too independent and he was sacked with the collusion of the judiciary. He and his relatives were tried and punished on corruption charges. They fled the country to escape punishment. And when elections were declared.
Shareif’s party only came second and he is still languishing in jail. And the winner is Imran Khan, the captain of the Pak cricket team that won the Cricket World Cup in Pakistan, playing against England in1992. He had organised his party, Tehreek-e-Insaf, which came to strength and finally became the single largest party in the recent elections. With the support of some smaller parties, he has been sworn in as the Prime Minister.
No doubt, Imran Khan is a Prime Minister with a difference, a sportsman with an open mind. He is a man of love and compassion, uncorrupt and tolerant with his sportsman spirit intact, despite dabbling in politics for the past two decades.
However, the question is: whether Imran Khan could get free of the perilous past of Pakistan to start fresh as prime minister. The country is weighed down by three evils: The overseeing of the army that has tasted political power, financial dependence on the USA and the menace of religious fanatics who have been appeased. All these are the legacy of a country that was established on the principle that religion is the basis of a nation, but miserably failed when its one wing was severed in 1971 to form Bangladesh, and have been hovering between civilian government and army rule.
Imran Khan is expected to subdue all these inherited impediments. USA, despite President Trump’s threats and saying that Pakistan had been ungrateful, cannot stop all aid to Pakistan which has been a military launching pad for the US forces to Afghanistan and the central Asian countries. The Pak army seems to be tired of political administration and its chief Genera Bajwa is content to have privileges without the responsibility of power. As for fundamentalists and terrorists, they cannot work without a condescending government. And above all, PM Imran can have China as a trusted friend who can defend his country and regime?
How will Imran’s coming to power in Pakistan affect India? India’s relations with Pakistan is in its nadir now? It can only improve. And Imran has said that if India takes one step, he would take two steps. But has he the army’s consent to implement his scheme? For, it is the army that decides the Indo-Pak relations. As it is, the army is anti-India. At present, Imran has the support of the army and the fanatic groups that control terrorism. Will Imran be able to control the two forces to have his policies of reconciliation and peace? Other elected leaders have failed in their efforts. Will Imran’s charisma and popularity make a breakthrough in the subcontinent’s history? Next few months will prove if he is a leader with a difference for the better.