‘The West knows me very well’, PM Imran said in presumably his final address to the nation last evening. But then he blamed the West for hatching a regime-change conspiracy against him. Paradox. If the West knew him well and what he believed in during his over two-decade long political struggle, why didn’t it stop him from coming to power, to begin with? Paradox. Perhaps, the West came to know about his aims of building an independent nation a little late. Paradox. Come to think of it, why did the West let several countries of the world like Malaysia and Singapore become economically strong and give a free hand to Mahathir and Lee Kuan Yu to garlanding their respective countries with flowers of prosperity? Paradox. In America’s backyard, more than forty assassination attempts failed to eliminate Fidel Castro or change the anti-US regimes in Cuba since 1960. Paradox. If the regime-change theory in Pakistan holds any water, it must have been the easiest of such endeavours for the US in the contemporary political history of the world.

If ever, the US actually wanted a regime-change, the target was not the ruling party or the Government of the day. It was person-specific. Making Pak-US relations totally dependent on Khan’s exit, the theorists in Washington perhaps did not know that Khan has now become more ‘dangerous’, as per his statement, and intends to approach the 220 million Pakistanis to help him re-visit the saga of ‘How the West was Won’. If a militarily and economically strong country has been shunted out of the Human Rights Council, and is not likely to withstand the pressure generated by the West, how on earth will an economically strangled country like Pakistan with the FATF’s hanging sword of Damocles, survive?

Does that mean Islamabad should take dictation from the US every step of the way? No, it does not mean that. In simple terms, it means one needs to understand one’s real worth in political, military and economic domains before defying a uni-polar world and that too unnecessarily. Foreign policies are not run on the principles of honour. Yes, running your foreign policy ‘honourably’ should be the objective. Paradox. Does England’s towing America’s line in Iraq and Afghanistan make London a slave of Washington? Paradox.

Changing the status-quo in a country is difficult. Affecting a paradigm shift on the international stage is unthinkable, particularly for a country that has a history of towing the West’s lead ever since its inception. The pattern cannot be changed overnight. You need a doctor’s advice and a plan of action even in the case of quitting smoking. It needs time. In case, one desires to change the course of foreign policy altogether, one needs to have an alternative plan of action. Does Islamabad have such a plan in place? Paradox.

Believing in a conspiracy is one thing but building the whole case around it to save the PM ship is an entirely different story, particularly when the Apex Court did not waste even a minute in looking into its veracity. Honour has various aspects. One of them is to accept defeat honourably. One cannot win always but when one loses, one must lose with grace. Khan accepted the Supreme court’s verdict but not before expressing his ‘disappointment’ thereon. What kind of message Babar Azam might have taken from such a reaction from the best all-rounder of the world? A losing skipper never questions the result. Instead, he felicitates the winning captain while narrating the reasons and weak areas shown by his team. In this case, if not the opposition, the US must have been praised for having achieved its ‘objectives’.

Three things will determine Khan’s coming back to power, if ever he comes back as the Chief Executive of Pakistan. The people’s response to his ‘save-and-build-the-country’ slogan; the performance of the interim Government particularly in the economic field; and, repeating the ‘risk’ by those who watched the general elections in 2018 with a microscope.

Khan’s Sunday call for the entire nation to come out for a peaceful protest against the ‘imported Government’ might enable him to chalk out his future plans of returning to the PM House. The fact remains. Even Socrates and Alexzander did not claim to be all-knowing and all-powerful respectively. If they did, they never detested others the way one has seen in Islamabad.  The people of Pakistan had chosen Khan as their Prime Minister. Perhaps, as a friend just observed, they did not expect him to assume the role of a Khilfa-e-Waqt. Where did he want to lead us to? Only time will tell.


najm us saqib