The recently concluded constitutional crisis in Pakistan leading to the ouster of Imran Khan by a no-confidence vote was a play of competing strategies by major players involved. The game began months ago when the army noticed an independent Imran Khan challenging his backers. The delay in appointing a new DG of the ISI was an indicator of things to come.
General Qamar Javed Bajwa had by then realised that Imran Khan was the wrong horse, causing damage to the carefully nurtured Pakistan-US and Pakistan-Europe relations. While Imran Khan remained popular because of his clean image, his policies were leaving Pakistan in financial ruins. Western nations had dumped Pakistan as Imran made no effort to enhance ties with them. Other than Switzerland, where he went to attend the World Economic Forum, he visited no other European capital. His public support to the Taliban went against the Pakistan Army’s carefully nurtured image of supporting the US-led global war on terror, thereby obtaining military and economic aid from it.
For the first two years as prime minister, Imran Khan behaved like an obedient puppy following the diktats of his masters, which changed when he believed that he had the backing of the masses. His bloated ego failed to make him realise that the common man was facing undue hardships and he needed to be sympathetic. Such was his ego that he stated, “I did not come to politics to know the price of potatoes and tomatoes.” He kept rattling about a Medina state, knowing it was only fantasy.
When faced with a no-confidence motion and announcement of neutrality by the army, Imran Khan went on an offensive, challenging everyone, angering many. His accusation of the US as being responsible for his downfall was done knowingly, as apart from being considered as infidels, he had been ignored by Joe Biden. He also targeted the army’s neutrality, when he stated, “Humans act according to their conscience. And only animals remain neutral.” While his comments were lapped up by his supporters, they added to enemies. It is only in Pakistan that neutrality has a different meaning.