Galvanizing turmoil


Over the past few weeks, Pakistan has been experiencing deepening political and economic crises, which have evidently arisen from the uncertainty surrounding the holding of early general elections in the country.
The confrontation between the coalition government and the main opposition party, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, has been amplified by former prime minister Imran Khan in a populist rhetoric pointing fingers at the coalition partners and the Western powers, particularly the United States, for orchestrating his ouster from power in a vote of no confidence one year ago.
The conflict culminated in a violent showdown after the police reached the Lahore residence of Imran Khan to arrest him for continuously ignoring judicial notices to appear before the court of law to face cases against him. Violent protests also broke out across the country forcing the law enforcers to go on the back foot and the Lahore High Court to intervene to defuse the situation.
Political confrontation is not something new in the country’s history but the showdown between law enforcement agencies and the PTI workers offers no sign of let-up and this is going to have serious consequences for the country’s future.
This state of affairs continued for more than 72 hours and received blanket coverage on all platforms of social media networks and the mainstream media. The skirmishes between PTI workers and police in and around Imran Khan’s residence left more than 50 police personnel and officers injured and this paints a gloomy picture whether or not Pakistan is a responsible state.
Political infighting comes at a great cost as it hurts the economy and tarnishes the country’s international image, with no winners, but the worst victims are the people. Protesters took to the streets of the nation’s capital and other major cities as tensions ratcheted higher after the stand-off with the police.
It is evident in the case of underdeveloped nations that economic and political situation has very strong synergy. The poor economic condition works to galvanize the turmoil. The country which is totally dependent on foreign aid and loans has always ignored the strong bonds between economy and politics and suffered the most because of imprudent political decisions.
The top leadership of the country should realize now the bitter consequences of the impending political upheaval and political witch hunting and victimization for their personnel gains.
In the face of the current situation, a major responsibility lies on the shoulders of the country’s intelligentsia and the mass media to come forward to defuse the situation and prevail upon the government and the opposition to soften their confrontational rhetoric and build a consensus to steer the country out of stormy seas.