NEW PAK PREMIER

Alive - - Ed­i­to­rial -

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.

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