Imran Khan’s political gambit

Calculated power politics

Pakistan’s political dissent and criticism landscape has recently witnessed a significant shift. Gone are the days when voicing opposition to the state or expressing discontent towards the military establishment was considered treacherous and an act of betrayal. Reflecting upon past events such as the 1992 police operation against MQM, the controversial assassination of Akbar Bugti, and the actions taken against PTM, it is evident that these entities never resorted to vandalising state or military installations, unlike the events that unfolded on 9th May involving PTI. What is striking is the lack of proactive response from the state, as it seems oblivious to pressing charges and the judiciary’s role in addressing these issues.
Amidst this unprecedented turn of events, a profound question arises: What drives this intricate interplay of personal ambitions, power dynamics, and a fervent desire to reshape the political landscape? The answer reveals a complex reality where the pursuit of civilian supremacy and the strengthening of democracy take a backseat. Imran Khan is at the heart of it, whose unwavering quest for power transcends mere political ambition. He aspires to emulate transformative figures like Khomeini, employing charismatic appeals and meticulously crafted propaganda machinery to sway public sentiment and mobilise the masses under the banner of “Haqeeqi Azadi” (true freedom). However, one must question the essence of this promised revolution. Can Imran Khan deliver the prosperity and justice he passionately advocates, considering his previous stint as Prime Minister yielded limited results? The nation stands at a critical juncture, caught between the allure of change and the inherent complexities of political realities. In the landscape of political aspirations, a stark contrast emerges between the pasts of Imran Khan and figures like Khomeini. While Khomeini was revered as a religious figure, Imran Khan’s journey has been marked by a different trajectory. His earlier years, intertwined with a life associated with glamour and fame, have presented a contrasting image to that of a religious leader. However, as he delves deeper into politics, Khan has sought to reinvent himself as a transformative figure of the “Riyasat-e-Medina” model in “Naya Pakistan”, drawing upon populist appeals and a promise of revolutionary change. The disparity in backgrounds and the paths they have traversed serve as a reminder of the divergent journeys that have shaped their respective narratives.
Recent events have taken an alarming turn in Pakistan.
Imran Khan’s supporters engaged in unprecedented acts of vandalism, setting ablaze military installations, including a 1965 warplane, martyrs photos, and Jinnah House, which shook the nation to its core. In response, the government’s feeble attempts to curb these acts of violence only exacerbated the situation, revealing their ineffectiveness in maintaining law and order. Furthermore, the release of Imran Khan by the Supreme Court bolstered his confidence, making him appear untouchable and more powerful than ever before. However, amid mounting chaos and the government’s failure to address the situation, the establishment eventually stepped in.
With a calculated move, the establishment silently apprehended key members of Imran Khan’s party. They were made to strategically condemn the riots through press conferences, effectively distancing themselves from the actions of Imran Khan’s supporters and his statements. This manoeuvre aims to restore order in a country plagued by unrest and political turmoil. It is a testament to the dynamics in the Pakistani political landscape, where the government’s ineffectiveness and the establishment’s “reluctant” intervention reflect a power struggle with high stakes.
As the nation grapples with these unfolding developments, the future of Pakistan hangs in the balance. The complexities of political realities and the quest for power and control continue to shape the narrative, leaving the people uncertain of what lies ahead.
Nevertheless, despite being abandoned by key party members and leaders, Imran Khan remains remarkably confident, hinting at a potential surprise in the coming weeks. His unwavering determination and mastery of manipulation suggest that he has a calculated plan in motion. Imran Khan seeks to upend the established order and challenge the authority of the Army chief, an audacious move that, if successful, would defy historical precedents in Commonwealth countries where successful coups orchestrated by a “civilian” are exceedingly rare. As the political landscape in Pakistan continues to evolve, Imran Khan’s resilience and audacity add a new layer of intrigue and uncertainty to an already complex situation. The nation watches with bated breath, anxiously awaiting the unexpected twist that awaits them.
However, what can he do when abandon and left alone at Zaman Park?
Here is where both the establishment and the government are losing ground. Imran Khan, claiming to be a master of mind games, a player, and a gambler, has so successfully controlled the media that whether his supporters or his critics, we all are compelled to discuss him and only him. He rules over the media and commands public attention, even when he may face bans or restrictions. Imran Khan’s use of propaganda as a tool for manipulation is a fundamental aspect of his strategy. Through a network of international loyalists and media outlets, he disseminates false narratives, distorts facts, and fabricates stories to sway public opinion in his favour. His skilful manipulation of information and emotions creates a sense of urgency and crisis, fuelling public outrage and a demand for immediate action. By harnessing the power of media and social platforms, he controls the narrative and shapes public perception, effectively positioning himself as the people’s champion against the establishment.
This propaganda machinery is not limited to domestic affairs alone; Imran Khan also employs it internationally to garner support and sympathy. He presents himself as a champion of democracy and human rights, despite his scarred performance as the Prime Minister, known as a media predator, appealing to the global community for assistance in his perceived struggle against an oppressive military regime. Through carefully crafted speeches and media engagements, he portrays himself as a beacon of hope and progress, using international platforms to amplify his message and gain legitimacy. Imran Khan’s influence on the media landscape is undeniable, capturing public attention and dominating discussions, even when he faces bans or restrictions. His ability to control the narrative and command the public discourse is a testament to his adeptness in media manipulation.
In this high-stakes battle, the government appears numb and clueless, unable to effectively respond to Imran Khan’s calculated manoeuvres. The lack of a unified and coherent strategy allows him to exploit the weaknesses and divisions within the ruling administration. The vacuum of leadership and the absence of a strong counter-narrative further contribute to his ability to manipulate public sentiment and sway public opinion in his favour.
All government parties collectively cannot garner the media or public attention that Imran Khan effortlessly commands. While the country grappled with an economic crunch and failed IMF deals, the focus remains fixated on Imran Khan. We are trapped in a never-ending cycle, compelled to centre our articles, tweets, and programs around him alone. The magnetic pull of Imran Khan’s persona overshadows the pressing economic challenges the nation faces, making it increasingly difficult to shift the spotlight and address critical issues.
However, behind the smokescreen of populist rhetoric and propaganda lies a more sinister agenda. Imran Khan’s goal is not to establish civilian supremacy or advance democratic ideals but to consolidate his power and fulfil his ambitions. A desire for complete control drives his relentless pursuit of a coup against the Army Chief and to eliminate any opposition to his rule. It is a power play fuelled by ego, vengeance, and a thirst for absolute power.
Pakistan is critical in this complex and treacherous landscape of power dynamics and personal rivalries where the state is targeted in Imran’s battle against Govestablishment. The decisions made in this battle will shape the country’s future trajectory, determining whether it veers towards stability, democracy, and civilian supremacy or succumbs to further turmoil, authoritarianism, and tyranny. Amidst the chaos and uncertainty, it is crucial to remember the lessons of history and the importance of preserving democratic values. Pakistan needs leaders who can rise above personal ambitions and prioritise the nation’s well-being. The challenges ahead are immense, but with a commitment to democratic principles, transparent governance, and a united effort, Pakistan can navigate through these turbulent times and emerge stronger.
In the ongoing battle for power and supremacy, it becomes clear that Imran Khan’s use of propaganda as a tool for manipulation is the “Achilles’ heel” of his strategy. In its quest to counter his influence, the “Govestablishment” must employ rhetorical tactics to challenge the narrative he has carefully constructed. By addressing the underlying flaws in his media presence and highlighting the potential dangers of unchecked propaganda, they can strive to restore a balanced discourse and protect the integrity of public opinion. Recognising this vulnerable aspect of his strategy presents an opportunity for the Establishment to recalibrate the dynamics and reclaim control over the narrative without compromising the principles of freedom of expression.
In this power duel, an unspoken undercurrent hints at the moment’s gravity. The phrase “one grave, two bodies” is a solemn reminder of the imminent outcome. It signifies the inevitable truth that in this battle for supremacy, only truth shall prevail while evil faces defeat. Pakistan’s destiny teeters on this precipice as the nation anxiously awaits the resolution that will shape its future. May Allah safeguard Pakistan from further turmoil.
Pakistan Zindabad!

The writer is a freelance contributor. She tweets @ShamaJunejo and can be reached at

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