The perma crisis in Pakistan
meMr. Khan he was a terrible prime minister. In the post from 2018-2022, the Pakistani cricket star turned into a populist leader named as corrupt ministers, locked up his opponents and harassed the media. As Pakistan quickly withdrew, it spread desperate conspiracy theories against America. If his government had proceeded to a general election later this year, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (pt) a party might be tempted.
That’s how democracy is supposed to work. Bad governments will soon be ousted. Fear of accountability motivates politicians to do better. The failures of one government are a lesson for those that came after. But, unfortunately, Pakistan doesn’t know much about that. His arrogant generals, the real power in the country of 240m, have not allowed a prime minister to complete a five-year term. Mr Khan, a former military favourite, was given power after his predecessor was overruled by the generals, and was sacked last year after a no-confidence vote by orchestra with the army. Thus, the generals helped turn a failed politician into a populist hero, whose rabble-rousing has become a threat to order, even as there is a payment crisis in Pakistan. It is a textbook example of the incompetence, as well as the power hunger, of the men who are supposed to be running the fifth largest country in the world.
If Mr Khan’s party had been allowed to contest the scheduled election, it would now seem likely that he would be swept back to power in Islamabad. So the army intervened again. He had been charged with a number of crimes, from blasphemy to terrorism, and placed under de facto house arrest, and then began to dismantle his party. Thousands of P.T.I activists were arrested and most of the party’s senior leaders proceeded to abandon Mr. Khan. It is not clear whether the generals will even allow the election to go ahead.
Pakistan’s miserable governance is a direct result of such military operations. The country’s political parties, like the P.T.I now reveals that there are nomadic groups of opportunists, their members united by little more than a desire to take advantage of whatever brief opportunity the wealthy generals give them. His governments, formed at the behest of the military and with the knowledge that they are unlikely to last a full term, have little incentive to make tough political decisions. It is not surprising that the current administration of Shehbaz Sharif has engaged in tax hikes and subsidy cuts. imf asking for their last bailout from Pakistan, which would be the 23rd. The courts, an instrument of military control, are often intimidated and corrupted by the generals’ spies. Ditto the media.
The cost of the disorder is unbearable. Ruled by the rich agricultural state of Punjab, Pakistan was for a long time a match for its much larger Indian rival. It could be said that his army lost four wars against India, but barely. His cricketers were better than those of the neighbour. In 1990 the average per capita income of the two countries was almost identical. Now Indians are, on average, 50% richer than Pakistanis. And while India is fast becoming a global power, Pakistan, plagued by economic, environmental and social crises that its governments don’t seem to understand, has become a threat. global. It is mismanaged, violent, unstable and nuclear armed. Because of the public anger that Mr. Khan is whipping up, he is now at risk of civil strife. All this in a country whose population is expected to be over 100m larger in 2050 than it is today.
There is only one solution to this mess. The generals must, once and for all, get out of politics. Otherwise Pakistan has no chance of getting the better governments it needs and deserves. The time for this is now. The election should be held on schedule and Mr Khan and his party – unimpressive though they are – free to contest it. It is up to the voters of Pakistan who should govern them. They could hardly have chosen worse than their turkey-cock generals. Those self-appointed defenders of Pakistan have done little but belittle, undermine and humiliate him. ■