Neighboring Pakistan politics has taken a dramatic change.
The first one is related with former Imran Khan who has recently been carrying “someone else’s agenda” by one of his former political colleagues then the second on hints that the US and Pakistan are set to proceed together on various regional and world issues.
Let’s talk on the first:
The deposed former Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi-the Chief of the Pakistan-Tehreek–e-Insaf is at the moment a lone political campaigner who has seen the surprising and unexpected desertion of his close political aides not so long ago.
Among the many that dumped Imran Khan Niazi run in thousands across the nation in no time.
It is said for nothing that politics is cruel and merciless.
Most of Khan’s close political lieutenants have isolated him for some inexplicable political reasons which then once again adds strength to the popular dictum that “politics indeed is game full of surprises”.
Politics at times also opens the Pandora's box itself and the entire worldly evils run amok here and there.
Poor Imran Khan who once was the darling of the entire Muslims world and commanded respect and honor from various countries has now, as luck would have it, confined in a dark cell.
Most of those political men who have left Imran Khan for good indict that it was the “notorious brain” of Khan himself who encouraged his PTI’s party men to pounce upon a few key military installations in Pakistan, May 09, 2023.
As a political man, Khan rebukes the allegations; however, some key political aides of Imran who have deserted him very freshly claim that Khan was guided more by an alien agenda than what it should have been in effect.
However, what the hidden agenda was, Pervez Khattak-the one who served PM Khan in the federal cabinet as minister of defence for almost four years or so, has so far not disclosed.
Khattak while addressing a maiden gathering of his newly former political party titled Tehreek-E-Insaf Parliamentarians ( PTIP) in Nowshera, August 20, 2023 brusquely reiterated that, (sic), Imran Khan had been following someone else’s agenda and that , Khattak added, “Khan have had no vision at all”.
Surprising as it may sound and it is by all means, why the political man of Mr. Khattak’s stature did not divulge the same earlier so that the men in Pakistan could understand that PM Imran Khan was not a bonafide Pakistani politician but instead was a political animal who was carrying someone else’s agenda?
Without mincing words, the PTIP Chairman Pervez Khattak made known to the gathering that Imran Khan, the ace cricketer of the world at some point of time, saying that, (sic), even a man like me could not understand him and we could not understand him and thus we could not deliver during our government at the center.”
Khattak’s grand exposure in many more ways than one brings to public the inner moral fiber of former Prime Minister Imran Khan who practically had mesmerized hundreds of thousands of people across Pakistan and elsewhere including Nepali observers.
Khattak honestly opines that he was terribly shocked by the unprecedented May 09, 2023, sad event-the event which compelled him (Khattak) to maintain a comfortable distance with Cricketer Khan.
The May 09, 2023, bedlam that rocked the entire Pakistan duly prompted the all powerful national army and promptly acted or even penalized some military men who had failed in their duties in safeguarding some of Pakistan’s key military system(s).
The military institution did all to restore discipline in its
Organization. Some high placed officials in South Asia and media outlets have it that the Military took penal actions for failing to protect the mechanism.
In a fit of anger towards Imran Khan-his former political colleague Khattak announced that time permitting he would “wipe out” Khan’s PTI from the political landscape of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province ( KP).
Khattak’s maiden disclosure somehow or the other caps the prestige and the popularity of Imran Khan that he have had earned while he commanded Pakistan as its Prime Minister.
Needless to say, Khattak’s shooting statement on Imran Niazi must have added further annoyance to IK who at the moment is in prison, as stated earlier, and has been barred from contesting approaching Parliamentary elections.
The Caretaker Prime Minister, Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, is already in the coveted seat that is expected to conduct the elections on the much stipulated time and date.
Now to the point:
Needless to say, Pakistan, beginning the second day of the grand partition of the South Asian landmass, has been enduring the continued Indian onslaughts and yet standing tall.
Let’s forget the past and concentrate on Pakistan as it stands today.
Braving the persisting political instability for several months after the ouster of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan apparently has taken in recent days a bold step towards sorting out the internal political problems duly by announcing a caretaker Prime Minister who would hold Parliamentary elections.
A less-heard Baloch political personality, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar is the new Prime Minister whose cabinet includes former Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Jalil Abbas Jilani as the interim foreign minister and a former Central Bank Chief Shamshad Akhtar as the country’s finance minister.
FM Jilani is expected to bring the deteriorated US-Pak ties to its original track and similarly, the former Banker Shamshad has reportedly been picked up to give the plummeting Pakistani economy a rejuvenation.
As of the new Foreign Minister, his political acumen will be tested as to how Abbas Jilani handles Pakistan-India ties-the most complicated issue ever.
Unconfirmed reports have it that the new Cabinet includes some prominent media men of Pakistan which has just set an example for other countries in the immediate neighborhood.
Jilani has been appointed as Foreign Minister apparently keeping an eye on, hopefully, the derailed Pakistan-US relations though the powerful military continues to maintain high-level contacts with the US administration.
New turn in US-Pakistan bilateral ties:
That bids were afoot to bring the derailed US-Pakistan to its original track gets reflected from the recent statement made by Mr. Vedanta Patel-the Spokesman of the US State Department who recently reiterated, August 17, 2023, that the US has a shared interest with Pakistan, quite candidly, in combating threats to regional stability and remains ready to work with Pakistan to combat militant and terrorist groups”. This does mean that the US in no way can ignore Pakistan for various political and strategic reasons.
More so the US statement from Vedanta Patel has come close on the heels of the appointment of a new Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani , a foreign policy veteran in his own right, which bodes well for the considerable improvement in their bilateral ties.
Talking to the attending pressmen in the US, Vedanta apparently responded to the apprehensions raised by the Pakistani Ambassador Masood Khan who had recently said that “ the banned Tehreek–i-Taliban Pakistan ( TTP) and others groups were using weapons left behind by US troops for attacking targets inside Pakistan.
Patel responding to Masood’s exposure, Patel said, among other things, that the US is with Pakistan for combating threats to regional stability.
While Vedanta Patel’s reiteration at the press meet, August 17, 2o23, signals that the US is inching closer ( or at least taken a much needed step) to its former Cold War ally Pakistan then the fresh one-on–one meet, August 23, 2023, of the US Ambassador Donald Blome with the newly appointed Pakistani foreign minister Jalil Abbas Jilani assumes high significance.
The fresh get together must have centered on how to fight terrorism both within and without and as told by Vedanta Patel, the visiting US envoy too, hopefully, reiterated the same US commitment that the US shall ever remain with Pakistan in its fight on terror.
Pakistani media sources say that the two dignitaries “exchanged views on the state of bilateral relations and concluded that the bilateral relations is on a positive track.
Sources said that the US envoy and the FM also agreed to deepen economic cooperation and security.
This means that the US is afresh and visibly in a mood to expand its ties with Pakistan which is what was needed in order to keep the South Asian regional peace and stability in order.
Or else, India’s superiority had already become a source of irritation and an issue of unease among the regional countries like Nepal, B’desh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives-the countries in one way or the other had been feeling the heat of India being flattened and ballooned by the US itself and the rest of the Western nations who for some commercial reasons arming the already armed Indian regime. The process has not come to an end.
Writes Zameer Akram, the former Pakistani Ambassador to Nepal in his fresh article published in The Express Tribune dated July 25, 2023 on the US appeasing India says, in his own words, the blatant American appeasement of India, fully displayed during Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to the US, is really a measure of America’s desperation to contain China. Convinced that India’s size, location and power can be harnessed to counterbalance China, American Presidents since Clinton have invested heavily to convert India into a “Net Security Provider”. But such appeasement can only prove dangerous, not only for South Asia but globally.”
As stated by Ambassador Zameer, whether the US extra and the unwanted hobnob with the South Asian behemoth has hit hard globally or not is not yet known, however, the intimate association of the two , India and the US, has surely upset the balance of power in this part of the world to India’s advantage and that too at a time when a visible weaker Pakistan is all set to conduct fresh elections.
Clearly, the US backing has encouraged the Indian regime to behave with SA smaller countries in an erratic manner that do not fall under the category of civilized conduct between nations.
Donald Blome’s fresh meet with Foreign minister Jilani thus is very important and significant too as it was this US ambassador who took the needed courage to enter into the Pakistan Administered Kashmir, if one were to recall.
The visit took place in the month of October from 2-4, 2022.
This visit created a furore inside India, I recall.
Similarly, Ilhan Omar the US Congresswoman too had earlier made a rare visit ever by a U.S. lawmaker to Pakistan's part of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir,
She was in Kashmir in the month of April 2022.
Thus the two meaningful visits by the two US high dignitaries were made in the year 2022 which apparently signaled that the US for a variety of political considerations is with Pakistan.
A message was sent to India in an oblique manner then.
All that Pakistan has to do is act in a manner that forces the US-its former ally, to inch closer to it either in the name of fighting on terror or for maintaining the South Asian regional peace and stability.
Concurrently, the US is thus advised not to leave South Asia to the mercy of India –the near to a dracula for Nepal at least.
The Pakistani economy:
The otherwise dwindling Pakistani economy got a slight breathing space when the country signed a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently.
Observers in Nepal opine that Pakistan’s real challenge now remains in bringing the dipping economy and restoring political stability.
The new caretaker Finance Minister who is a former Central Bank high official, Shamshad Akhtar, perhaps knows how to arrest the high inflation and bring back the original economic stamina of the country.
The overall challenge of this caretaker government is apart from conducting elections on time and restoring political stability in the country, as mentioned in earlier paragraphs that had got a severe jolt on May 9, 2023, when Imran Khan’s supporters (?) or an unknown mob went on the rampage which damaged a few military enterprises.
The new interim set up shall also have the task to defuse the political crisis and skyrocketing prices of consumer goods in Pakistan.
Indian observers claim that, as is their habit of passing negative comments on Pakistan, what is the guarantee that the persisting political crisis and instability shall cease to exist the day a new political set-up assumes the command of the next elected government?
Though an absurd question from the other side of the border, yet the question remains intact.
The fresh tussle between the President Alvi and the Election Commissioner Sikandar was just unwarranted.
The friends of Pakistan in Nepal hope that the yet-to-be-elected government shall take care of all the differing faiths inside Pakistan and shall not allow a repeat of the sad event that rocked entire South Asia and the entire Christian World.
Al Jazeera reported, 17 August, 2023, that the Muslims in eastern Pakistan went on a rampage over the allegations that a Christian man had desecrated the Quran, demolishing the man’s house before attacking the other properties.
Al Jazeera further recalls that “in one of the country’s worst cases of religious violence, a mob as far back as in the year 2009 burned an estimated 60 homes and killed six Christians in the district of Gojra in Punjab, after accusing them of insulting Islam.
Let’s hope that things will settle down after the newly elected government takes a formal shape in Islamabad.
Now John Bolton:
The former National Security Advisor John Bolton talking with the VOA has said that the US Congress should look at the allegedly leaked cipher about former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ousting when it returns from summer recess”.
In an interview with VOA broadcasting service, recorded this week, Bolton said he “worries about” the Biden administration’s foreign policy about South Asia because “it’s not clearly defined”.
Bolton made these observations upon listening to the INTERCEPT revelation made recently on how PM Imran Khan was ousted from power.
Obviously, Bolton’s interview will once again disturb the politics of US and Pakistan in its own way.
However, the new caretaker plus the Military set-up shall sort out the issue, let’s hope so.
The Military Chief perhaps understands how to tackle the situation that is at hand: the conduct of elections on time and restoring political stability inside Pakistan and beyond.
By and large, a testing time for Pakistan and its nationals. Needless to say, Pakistan’s stability holds immense meaning for South Asia.