History continues to repeat itself, and as expected, PTI chairman Imran Khan has been found guilty of corrupt practices, disqualified from representing the people of Pakistan, fined Rs100,000, and sentenced to three years in jail. Mr Khan now joins the list of former prime ministers who met a similar fate, the contextual peculiarities in each case notwithstanding. The resulting political vacuum raises concerns, and so does the lack of a succession plan from the PTI.
This is a cautionary tale that has been told far too many times, and there were quite a few who saw this coming back in 2018. What this may or not mean for the future of Mr Khan’s and the PTI’s politics remains to be seen.
There is now a considerable political vacuum given that the party still possesses a significant vote base. What is concerning is that some of these demographics overlap with groups where extremist parties such a TLP fare considerably well. Ideas and popular movements cannot be disqualified as we have witnessed in countless instances.
How this development shapes the political landscape in the coming months and years will have lasting consequences and is something that should be considered.
A lot will also depend on how the PTI adapts to the situation. However, it is unusual and concerning to see that a succession plan has not been announced as of yet. The party officials knew this was coming as the writing was on the wall, and a plan should have been presented immediately with regards to who will lead the party in the coming elections. The party may still have popular support among urban voters, but the lack of proactive planning demonstrates ill-preparation and too long a pause, something that comes as a surprise given the presence of experienced heads within the party.