This Saturday afternoon, Imran Khan has once again demonstrated his ability to rally a human tide and throw it, or not, against Islamabad. The former Prime Minister of Pakistan, in his great reappearance, in Rawalpindi, after the attempt on his life at the beginning of the month, has taken advantage of the mass bath to keep up with what he calls the “import government”, but without breaking the deck .
Protected by ten thousand policemen and bulletproof glass, Jan has harangued his own, who came from all over the country, from a wheelchair. He has announced that the deputies from his party (PTI) will leave the five provincial assemblies, in two of which they form a government. Several months ago, they already left the National Assembly. With all this, they accentuate the pressure in favor of early elections.
On the other hand, it dispelled the expectations that many had of turning the rally into a march to neighboring Islamabad, less than twenty kilometers away, to overwhelm the seat of power. The very rally in Rawalpindi already contained a message. This is the headquarters of the Armed Forces headquarters. And the city where in the past a head of government and a former head of government were assassinated.
The Interior Minister himself had ordered Jan to suspend the march, due to alleged threats “from the Taliban and Al Qaeda.” This, who has considered the minister complicit in the attack, has limited himself to changing the specific place of the rally.
“Today I have decided not to go to Islamabad,” Imran Khan said, “because it could be destructive for the country.” Jan has evoked a scenario “like that of Sri Lanka”, where the popular mobilization stormed the government headquarters and the residences of the rulers. “They couldn’t stop us, but I’m not looking for chaos or an out-of-control situation.”
Whether or not he can aim for checkmate, Imran Jan has decided to keep moving, rather than get up from the table or shake the board. “We are not going to be part of this system. I have spoken with our regional heads of government” – he commands two of the four provinces, as well as Pakistani-occupied Kashmir – “and after meeting with the party we will announce the date on which we will resign from all assemblies.”
The populist politician insists that early elections be called
Although Imran Khan still limps and acknowledges that he will need several weeks to recover, the authorities have not taken the threat of overwhelming the capital lightly. The roads between Rawalpindi and this had been closed hours before, while the diplomatic zone was sealed.
Although Imran Khan affirms that his objective is to end the corruption of the Sharif brothers and the rest of the political class, the truth is that to rise to power he relied on forces as corrupt as the division of the Pakistan Muslim League of cousins Chaudhry from Gujrat (PML-Q).
One of the purposes of the current prime minister, Shehbaz Shrif – who ousted Jan in April in a controversial vote of no confidence – would be to return his brother who fled in London, several times prime minister Nawaz Sharif, to Pakistan.
Shehbaz Sharif, in any case, was not in Islamabad today, but in Turkey. In addition to being received on Friday at the presidential palace in Ankara, Sharif received a Turkish-made corvette for the Pakistani navy in Istanbul and then met with businessmen. If Miguel Díaz-Canel thanked the Turkish electricity-generating ships docked in Cuba on Wednesday, Shehbaz Sharif today promised facilities for Turkish investments in solar parks. The youngest of the Sharifs also brought a striking offer for Erdogan, so that Turkey joins the Sino-Pakistani economic corridor.
The Turkish president, for his part, referred to the strategic trident formed in his opinion by Turkey, Azerbaijan and Pakistan. This fledgling alliance has alarmed India, which is in turn tightening ties with Armenia and its two major allies, Russia and Iran.
However, Imran Khan himself has stated that, had he remained in power, he would also have negotiated deeply discounted imports of Russian oil for Pakistan, as New Delhi is doing. Sharif’s government, on the other hand, on the verge of bankruptcy and under pressure from international financial institutions, what he has done has been to drastically cut subsidies on diesel and gasoline, increasing discontent.
Still lame, the former Pakistani national team captain has already scored a goal against the Pakistani establishment. Given the possibility that the rally in Rawalpindi would become an act of censorship of the leadership of the Armed Forces, it was renewed two days before.