By Arun Joshi
Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan has announced the arrival of the formal dictatorship with the help of radical groups, who form the backbone of the terrorism in South Asia, and it is a dangerous signal that Inia should take note of with the seriousness it deserves. Imran Khan’s remarks made on Sunday, during his interaction with the people on the national television, have opened up the two dangerous possibilities; one, the political battles will be decided on the muscle power in streets, and, at the same time, it is a signal that military might take over in the neighbouring country. Both these things, which are due to happen, going by the past history of Pakistan, pose a serious challenge to the national security of India, as these would encourage terrorists to dictate terms in Pakistani politics, and the establishment to deflect the global attention from its internal troubles, would target India.
Imran Khan warned his own nation that he would take to streets if he is forced out of power. Then, he went on to say that the Opposition that has mounted a formidable challenge to his rule will find no place to hide.
Imran Khan said: ‘If I am forced out of the government, I will pose a greater threat to you.” The warning was for the opposition that has united against his government’s policies of suppression and stifling of the dissent.
“ Right now, I am sitting quietly in my office and watching the drama unfold. But if I take to the streets, you will have nowhere to hide.” This is the language of a dictator who doesn’t believe in dialogue with the political leaders in opposition to address problems of the nation.
This is the language of a dictator. He threatened unleashing terror of anarchy on the streets of Pakistan if the opposition has its way- of removing him from power.
The opposition’ challenge to the Imran Khan government has been a constant. But more worrying was the assertion of Imran Khan that he is willing to talk to Tehreek-e-Labbaik , Pakistan or TLP, the ultra-Islamic radical group that had almost toppled the government through its violent street protests, in which several policemen were killed in April last year, but not to the opposition. These were not the streaks of a dictator in making, but also of a demagogue who wanted to create chaos in the sensitive nation that is at the crossroads of economic hardships and the growing hubs of terrorism.
Its simple implication, if studied carefully, is that this will lead to the intervention of the all-powerful army in Pakistan, with its usual plea of restoring orders This has happened in the past, and it is threatening to happen again sooner than later.
Pakistan has a familiar history, whenever there is a clash between the political groups on the opposing sides of the fence , the army senses chaos and intervenes. These developments in the neighbouring country should also be seen through the prism that Pakistan‘s army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa is due to retire in November, he had got three years’ extension in 2019. And the army has been eying the takeover of the country and its administrative system as there is economic distress, inflation is going through roof, political situation is precarious, and the nation is facing the brunt of the situation obtaining in Afghanistan.
In such situations in Pakistan, as is the past experience, India is targeted. When Gen. Ayub Khan was at the helm of affairs, Pakistan opened war with India, with a clear aim to get Kashmir. It had sent armed infiltrators, hoping that Kashmiris would rise against the Indian government. Its plans fell flat. Kashmiris informed the Indian army about the infiltrators and they were neutralised . The war ended with a severe defeat inflicted on Pakistan. In 1971, under the rule of another military dictator Gen. Yahya Khan , there was yet another Indo-Pak war, which resulted in the wiping out of the east wing Of Pakistan. That is now Bangladesh. And in 1999, when Gen. Pervez Musharraf launched against the civilian government of Nawaz Sharif, the Indian parliament was attacked and the two armies had come to a dangerous faceoff that was resolved with the intervention of the western powers which feared the possibility of a nuclear clash.
So, the current situation is heading in the direction of military rule, as the elected leaders are quarreling and threatening to take to streets. India will have to be watchful.
About the Author:
Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and The Tribune. He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with those of prameyanews.com