Is PTI And Establishment Set For Clash Of The Titans?

Is PTI And Establishment Set For Clash Of The Titans?
Earlier this year the country witnessed a vote of no confidence tabled in the National Assembly against Imran Khan and his ruling party the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

After some political summersaults, and some bizarre twists and turns, the vote was cast after the intervention of the Supreme Court. The PTI was ousted from the corridors of power.

Since that day, the politics of the country has been gripped in confusion. The ongoing Long March started by Imran Khan has created even more confusion. The country is presently in a flux.

The tragic death of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya has added fuel to political fire. The confrontation of Imran Khan with the powerful establishment is out in the open with both sides exchanging barbs. In the unprecedented and unheard of press conference, the representatives of the military establishment drew the battle lines effectively.

The political battle raging in the country is essentially between the establishment and Imran Khan -- and the coalition government of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is just a side show.

The top sleuth of the intelligence agency has always remained out of public glare and avoided any media publicity, but this time he spoke up publically on national television and came up with some remarkable statements. He was successful in dismantling and destroying the narrative concocted by Imran Khan after his ouster from power and for the first time the DG ISI was seen challenging the claims of the former prime minister.

This unexpected presser has ignited another debate in the media – that the fanatic followers of Imran Khan consider as another feather in his cap, for challenging the might of the military establishment and ensuring constitutional supremacy of the civilian government over the military establishment.

The main point enunciated by General Nadeem Anjum was that the army is being maligned and called traitors like Mir Jaffar and Mir Qasim because they refused to help former PM by illegal and extra constitutional methods to defeat the vote of no confidence against him. So, he had to appear before the media to defend his institution and his agency against one-sided lies.
The political battle raging in the country is essentially between the establishment and Imran Khan -- and the coalition government of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is just a side show.

“I have come to break the silence of truth”, Gen. Nadeem Anjum stated in a firm voice. “Calling someone a traitor, or Mir Jaffer and Mir Sadiq is not acceptable,” the ISI chief insisted, particularly when Imran Khan was secretly meeting the chief of army staff (COAS).

The surprising aspect of this confrontation between the establishment and Imran Khan is that so far the establishment has shown remarkable restrain and tolerance even when the PTI leaders have continued to hurl abuse and cast aspersions on the army and its top leadership, particularly on the COAS, General Javed Bajwa.

This tame attitude of the military high command is definitely different from any such situation in the past. Imran Khan has adroitly created a cult following. He is popular and powerful. The press conference by two captains of the establishment hinted at a break up between the establishment and its blue-eyed boy, Imran Khan. The chasm of differences between them is deep and wide.

The fight will now be brutal. DG ISPR and DG ISI both stressed their resolve that the army will remain within the bounds of the constitution and avoid any interference in the political arena and accepted the right of politicians to stage peaceful protests in the country.

Obviously no mention was made of the fact that Imran Khan was nurtured by the establishment and was ushered into power in 2018, after they agreed on the mantra of the “same page”.

The honeymoon period between Imran Khan and the establishment ended at time of the appointment of new DG ISI, when the COAS refused to entertain the former PM’s wish, and appointed his own nominee to this powerful post.

Faisal Vawda made a chilling prediction of bloodshed and funerals as a consequence of the Long March. Historically speaking long marches and dharnas have never resulted in a change of governments. This march too may not be of any danger to the PDM government, but we are definitely entering a new phase of politics in the country.

The Indian media continues to exploit PTI chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s unrelenting anti-establishment rants to its benefit and ridicule Pakistan. Major Gaurav Arya (retd), a media influencer, says: “He calls Pak Army Chief an animal, Pak PM a thief, people of Pakistan slaves (ghulam) & Election Commissioner a traitor. He publicly threatens to expose ISI. Please tell me how I can donate to PTI Imran Khan Zindabad.”