Populism versus Real Politics

Populism versus Real Politics
Populism versus real politics is the game of the town in Pakistan right now. The government is doing real politics that consists of remaining within the system whereas the opposition continues to indulge in populism as it leaves behind institutions to come on the streets. The tussle of these two strands of politics will produce its result in the coming elections but given the context of time today the coalition government seems to be on the advantageous side.

The main reason why Imran Khan is on the disadvantageous side is that post dissolution of assemblies he is now an outsider in both Punjab and KPK. The outcome of this political move has been disastrous as it has resulted in Khan’s imprisonment within Zaman Park. There is a chance that post Fawad Chaudhry he will be next in line to face arrest.

The panic within the PTI can also be gauged from the fact that when Khan lost his government after the vote of no confidence, PTI members of parliament gave in their resignations, which was in hindsight was a bad political move. Though it provided Khan a popular momentum to his campaign against the government, it proved debilitating in the long run for the national speaker accepted the resignations at a time when the country is moving towards general elections.

Confronting this political trickery by the government, Imran Khan decided to go the courts against the resignations his party members had given - as per his advice – as a means of avoiding and delaying elections. Given this U-turn, Khan seems to have lost the track of realpolitik and is now paying a heavy price for overplaying not only with the government but also with the establishment.

Khan’s disgruntlement is growing by the day as he harbours this fear that he will not be part of the coalition that will be formed for the interim government to organise the general elections in the country.

Given the electoral politics of Pakistan, it is historically proven that those people have  the advantage who remain in the system till the end. Anyone who leaves the political landscape often has to pay through his nose.

Yet, it seems Khan is not ready to pay a heavy price for he thinks that this is the right moment for him to come to power again since his popularity graph is high. But can Khan produce result by remaining outside the system? The chances are dim.

The probability of Khan of making inroads into the power corridors is also dwindling because he has not only taken tussle with all the political parties in the country but also with the all-powerful establishment of the country who, as per historical evidence, always shape the political results of Pakistan.

The most relevant example of this notion could the elections of 2018 where a popular politician, Nawaz Sharif, was sacrificed at the altar for paving the path for Khan. Knowing this fact, Khan disturbance is on point.

Last but not the least, time is not lost on Khan as he can recover from popular politics to pave a path for himself by changing his attitude and rhetoric against the all-powerful establishment to at least participate in the system. Otherwise, Khan’s recovery seems impossible vis-a-vis real politics of the government that is not only coddling with the establishment but also is intact with the political leadership of the country.

The writer is a freelance columnist. He tweets at @Shahzai02364040. He can be reached at They6776@gmail.com