Author : Sushant Sareen

Expert Speak Raisina Debates
Published on May 16, 2023
The crisis of the state in Pakistan is only getting worse.
Bracing for a Manic Monday This brief is part of the series, Pakistan: The Unravelling
The crisis of the state in Pakistan is only getting worse. The coming week starting May 15 will most likely see political temperatures rising once again.
  • The government and the Army Chief General Asim Munir have declared that they will go after all those involved in arson, looting, and vandalism that consumed Pakistani cities after the arrest of Imran Khan last week.
  • Far from backing down, Imran Khan is going on the offensive. In his speech to the nation—on social media because mainstream media did not air it—he gave a call to his supporters to come out on May 14 to demonstrate their support. He has also announced that starting May 17, a series of protests and demonstrations will be carried out throughout the country.
  • The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) demonstrations on May 14 could not make much of a splash because the government has cracked down and arrested most of the leaders of the party. Many of the demonstrators have also been picked up by the law enforcement agencies, a clear sign that the gloves are off and the state will not buckle under the street pressure of the PTI.
  • Maulana Fazlur Rehman, a key coalition partner and an inveterate opponent of Imran Khan, has asked his army of followers to march on Islamabad and sit in protest outside the Supreme Court until the resignation of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. The government has requested the Maulana to not enter the high security zone, but these entreaties have reportedly fallen on deaf ears. The incensed Maulana feels the government and Army have a namby-pamby approach to shut down Imran Khan and the judiciary that is behaving like PTI apparatchiks. He will now stage a rival show of street power, something that Islamic parties like the Maulana’s Jamiat-ul-Islam have in abundance.
  • On May 15 itself, the Supreme Court is expected to haul up the government for contempt because it failed to follow the court orders to facilitate elections to the Punjab Assembly on May 14. If contempt notices are issued, it will have an extremely destabilising impact. But the judges who have unabashedly demonstrated their bias in favour of Imran Khan seem all set to push things over the edge. Any such step will only fuel the confrontation between the government and military establishment on one side and the judiciary and Imran Khan on the other side.

Sushant Sareen is Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation.
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Sushant Sareen

Sushant Sareen

Sushant Sareen is Senior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation. His published works include: Balochistan: Forgotten War, Forsaken People (Monograph, 2017) Corridor Calculus: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor & China’s comprador   ...

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