Pakistan Protests: As Imran Khan Goes Rogue, Will the Army Step in?

Khan’s ignominious exit, resisting a no-confidence motionshould have deterred most men from trying again. But not Khan. Screaming vengeance, he was back on the streets, peddling his pet theory of conspiracy, a line of argument calculated to raise the hackles of any self-respecting Pakistani.

Worse, though he states that this took place on 7 March, with the no-confidence motion being filed the next day, he was unable to answer why he did not mention this until he was nearing his exit, a fact that did not escape the TV anchor’s notice.

But the point here is this: he is being believed. All his jalsas have drawn huge crowds, and his march to Islamabad has drawn even more, with the bravos pelting ahead of their leader into the streets. But it’s not just the conspiracy theories that are fueling this outrage. Khan’s allegations that 60 per cent of the cabinet is on bail, including Prime Minister Shahbaz and his son, on corruption charges, rings true. After all, the reams of charges against them – including against Nawaz Sharif sitting hale and hearty in England after running away on fraud medical issues – are all in the public sphere.

At the time, the ‘authorities’ (read Army), furious with the Sharifs for trying to cut them down to size and trying to make up with India, chose to bring out every single allegation into the public sphere, together with extensive television discussions, etc, all of which made sure that the poorest man in his jhuggy knew about the charges involving billions of rupees.

Think of the outrage when they’re struggling with severe inflation, power cuts and general decay. None of that is proved. But it has become virtual truth. Now, it’s all in reverse gear. The Army doesn’t want Khan in the least, given his inconsistency (he is the original ‘U-turn’ man), the public collision over the appointment of the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence, and his making an enemy of the Saudis first and now the US.