Shadow state ‘takes over’ Pakistan; govt-military join hands to purge Imran Khan


Malika Ali Bokhari Pix credit @FarrukhHabibISF

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, May 25: May 9 attack on the core commanders’ headquarters in Lahore has eased military to stage another bloodless coup against the political leadership of Pakistan. Pakistani commentators by and large concur that the ‘shadow state’ has taken over Pakistan and the semblance of the military’s distance from the political affairs of Pakistan now stands vanquished.

Leading lights of PTI headed by former Prime Minister Imran Khan continue to quit the party to avert their arrests and trials in the military courts. Even while there exists no provisions for the trials of the civilians in the military courts, the PTI leaders and workers have been dragged into the army courts for acts of terrorism for taking part in the May 9 attacks at several installations.

Maleeka Bokhari joined a long list of PTI leaders who quit politics, apparently as part of a barter with the army to avert arrest and trial in the military court. Being hailed as top leaders working for the women rights, Maria Memon, a journalist, said that women lost an ally today, and “a collective loss for all”.

The speed at which the Pakistani army has acted against the PTI leaders has been interpreted as a clear and well-scripted design to purge Imran Khan and his party from the national politics.

Amnesty International has decried the ongoing arrests of the political leaders and workers and their trials in the military courts. Khan has appealed to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to intervene to protect the party leaders, who, he claimed, are facing life threats.

General Asim Munir, who has been seen with his predecessor Qamar Javed Bajwa, has sought to rally the Pakistani nationalism by saying that the “nation will neither forget not forgive those involved in desecrating martyrs’ memorials and their dignity. The Pakistani expatriates are also egging on the military to go after Khan and his party.

By all accounts, Khan is now destined to be purged from the Pakistani politics and his last hope is with the Supreme Court. Analysts argued that Khan turned into an anti-establishment, as he challenged the well-entrenched army-elite partnership to rule the country in the guise of a functional democracy.

With Khan rallying the Pakistani middle class, who while facing hardships on account of severe drought last year followed by super floods, has been raining barbs against two principal patrons of the Islamic nation – the US and China. Even while the US and China are now foes, Pakistan continues to survive on their crutches, for the Islamic nation is now certain to default on the sovereign debt and the International Monetary Fund bailing out Islamabad is remote.

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