Exit of a Narcissist

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Malik M. Ashraf

The opportunity that came his way to rule the roost was frittered away through his un-imaginative political antics

The brand of politics characterised by violence, intolerance, pummeling of democratic norms and lack of respect for law and constitution, introduced by Imran Khan in the politics of the country has ultimately led to his own ignominious exit from power that he loved so much and for which he had compromised all his revolutionary inclinations and narrative.
I do not want to repeat the events that catapulted him into power, as the people of this country are aware of them. However, I cannot help saying that the opportunity that came his way to rule the roost was frittered away by him through his un-imaginative political antics and the streak of narcissism in him, which scuttled his ability to see beyond his nose. He saw no difference between skippering a cricket team comprising of 11 to 17 individuals and running the state affairs of a country consisting of 220 million people facing a myriad of complex challenges that required vision, patience and respect for the mandate of his political opponents.
The fact is that he had fallen from the higher moral pedestal the moment he accepted a host of carpet baggers, turncoats, political free-loaders like Sheikh Rashid and a host of others and the elements whom he used to call the most corrupt individuals and being anti-state for the formation a coalition government. The revolutionary in him was sacrificed at the altar of lust for power. Nothing distinguished him from the traditional politicians whom he despised for their politics of self-aggrandisement, corruption and failure to change the fate of the teeming millions.
Once he entered the corridors of power, he proved two steps ahead of them in doing what they allegedly had been doing. The result was that he failed to improve governance and fulfil the pledges that he made to clinch political power. The economy was pushed into the doldrums and its adverse impact affected every household in the country. Law and order remained an elusive dream. In fact, he lacked the vision and capacity to understand the complexities involved in running the economy and consequently failed to provide the required leadership in handling the economic issues.
The biggest mistake he made was that he showed disrespect for the opposition parties who, like his party, were also mandated by the people to represent them in the parliament. He practically disenfranchised the majority of the people who had voted for the opposition parties. He refused to even shake hands with the opposition leaders and unleashed a process of sham accountability against them which smacked of political vendetta rather than an honest effort to cleanse the dirty stables. The superior judiciary is on record to have repeatedly remarked during the hearing of cases that NAB was being used for political engineering. He tried to rule the country through Ordinances lowering the prestige of the parliament and literally reducing the opposition parties to non-entities as far as their role in a democratic dispensation was concerned.
In a democratic setup, the ruling party and those in the opposition are two sides of the same coin and though having different views and strategies for tackling the national challenges, their desired role is to promote the well-being of the masses and safeguard the supreme national interests. These objectives cannot be realised unless the government and opposition despite their political differences and outlook develop a working relationship to facilitate the country’s march towards socio-economic development. Unfortunately, during the last three and half years of the PTI government, the country witnessed the worst kind of political confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties. Imran was so obsessed with fixing the political opponents that he did not hesitate even to act against the law of the land. However, his attempt to push the opposition to the wall boomeranged. They all united to check him in his tracks and seek his possible exit from political power.
Their agenda against the PTI government, among other things, also included shunting him out of political power through a no-confidence motion. However, they could not implement it immediately for lack of numbers to carry it out and it took them more than a year to finally launch their move and win it. Filing a no-confidence motion against a sitting Prime Minister is a constitutional right of the opposition and as such, there is nothing wrong with it morally and legally.
But it is regrettable to note that Imran Khan and his government made all overt and covert attempts to sabotage it instead of following the path prescribed by the constitution. As a last resort, he also used an alleged threat letter from the US government and accused the opposition of being part of a foreign conspiracy to topple his government. In fact, it was not a threat letter directly from the US government but a telegram sent by our ambassador in the US giving his assessment about how the US government had perceived political developments in Pakistan and its dislike for Imran’s visit to Russia and not supporting UN resolution against it.
This is a routine practice in the diplomatic mission to keep the home government informed about the views of their host government in regards to issues of bilateral and multilateral interest. It in no way was a threat from the US government as Imran had tried to portray. Those who are savvy about diplomatic norms know that states do not hurl threats at each other through letters. The threat came when Musharraf received a direct call from the higher echelons of the US government threatening that in case Pakistan did not cooperate with the US it would be bombed into the stone age. That is how the Superpowers operate.
The rejection of the no-confidence motion by the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly on the day when voting had to be held based on the conspiracy theory woven by Imran Khan misusing Article 5 of the constitution was the biggest blunder committed by him. It was such a blatant violation of the constitution that the SC being the custodian of the constitution could not help taking suo moto notice of the matter and its 5-member bench unanimously declared the ruling of the deputy speaker and consequent actions taken by the Prime Minister and the President as unconstitutional. The entire legal community and constitutional experts have hailed it as a landmark decision by the apex court that has upheld the sanctity of the constitution.
It is evident from the foregoing facts that Imran Khan, a narcissist himself wrote his ignominious exit from power. His reaction to the SC decision reinforces the impression of his disrespect for the judiciary. He is better advised to reflect on what he has been doing.