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Imran Khan, a cricketer-turned politician, former Prime Minister of Pakistan is found openly alleging the US administration for the fall of his elected government. In his interview to numerous national and international TV channels, he claims that his visit to Russia amid the Ukraine crisis in the month of February, 2022 was not fully digested by the US administration. On the other hand, he was found getting closer to China, an arch enemy of the USA. Liu Zongyi, secretary-general of the Research Center for China-South Asia Cooperation at the SIIS, also believes the West, and particularly the US, doesn’t want to see Khan remain in power since he has gotten tougher on them.
Imran Khan debunks allegations of corruption by the ruling coalition partners against him and his party men. Imran Khan claims that his government was receiving a good amount of foreign remittances, collected taxes and necessary reforms were instituted to uplift the poor people from poverty. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pakistan`s economy under the leadership of Imran Khan was moving in the right direction. Imran Khan also told the media that under his Government export reached a historic high of 25.3 billion. Imran Khan also claims that he tried hard to repair bilateral relations with India minus the Kashmir issue. Despite all this, the US administration hatched a conspiracy and toppled his elected Government and handed over the reins of the Government to the current Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Imran Khan`s ouster through no-confidence motion is, no doubt, a black spot on the political career of Imran Khan. Since the fall of the Government, Imran Khan is clamoring for early National Assembly elections which are valid till next August (2023). Can Imran Khan win National Assembly elections with a thumping majority? Will the US administration allow the current Government under dynastic Shehbaz Sharif to continue? These questions are circulating in Pakistan as well as in other parts of the world.
At the domestic level, Imran Khan along with his party (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) workers, sympathizers and supporters is seen mobilizing the masses against corrupt political dynasties through rallies and public speeches. People are coming to his rallies en masse and listening to him attentively assuring him that they will vote for him and his party. The current government is advancing its vicious agenda against Imran Khan`s domestic and international policies which are responsible for the worst condition of Pakistan. The current Government with the help of pro-government media houses are found flashing these points and trying hard to build anti- Imran Khan Propaganda. It is also a fact that Pakistan’s economy is suffocating and inflation is running high at 10%.
At the international level, Khan is seen coaxing Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other like-minded Middle East countries to support him in winning back Pakistan. As of today, Russia is busy winning Ukraine. The Russia- Ukraine war is prolonging as the West is assisting the Ukraine President by supplying modern weaponry and financial assistance so in such a situation, Russia`s priorities would be different than helping Imran Khan to occupy the seat of power in Pakistan.
China – Pakistan are tied up with the progress of USD 60 billion China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Newly appointed foreign minister of Pakistan – Bilawal Bhutto Zardari made a maiden visit to China in May 2022 and discussed economic coordination, industrialization and speeding up of the USD 60 billion CPEC. Nevertheless, the US administration under various US Presidents are against the CPEC. The reality is that the CPEC would remain a stumbling block between the new government under Shehbaz Sharif and the US administration under US President Joe Biden. So in such a situation when the US administration is against the CPEC, China would not be that helpful to Imran Khan in winning back the seat of power. The countries in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia might transfer their loyalty to the Sharif family as the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and his brother Nawaz Sharif still enjoys cordial relations with Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries. So in such a situation Imran Khan might not get full political, financial support as it is expected. Above that, the US administration is so powerful as to put political pressure on the monarchies of the Middle East and would try hard to weaken personal relations of Imran Khan with the top leadership of the Middle East countries.
The current Government in Pakistan is run by a dozen multi-party coalition which are ideologically diverse. Imran Khan believes that this partnership is weak and surely breaks up sooner or later. It is his illusion. This is not going to happen. Money, power binds the enemies together. Imran Khan would not be able to bring back defectors to his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party as they are given assurances by the current government of plum posts. Another weak point with Imran Khan is that his relations with the powerful army of Pakistan have worsened and there is no chance that Imran Khan would ever become the darling of the Pakistan Army. The friendship between the US administration and Imran Khan is broken now and US President Joe Biden thinks that he is no longer useful to the national interests of the USA. The CIA of the USA might pump funds to undermine the credibility of Imran Khan among the voters of Pakistan and influence the election . Therefore, Imran Khan and his party would not be able to win national assembly elections and form the next government. Possibly, Imran Khan might face consequences at the hands of the Pakistan Army. Imran Khan might be sent to prison sooner or later.
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Dr. Rahul Kumar, Ph.D. in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi (India), is an independent researcher. His area of interest encompasses diplomacy, foreign policy and international relations. The views expressed in this article are personal.
Featured image is from Countercurrents