M Zaheer (Analysis) — There’s no doubt that Imran Khan’s popularity is growing and he has proved it by winning six out of seven seats in Sunday’s by-elections but what is the next course of action for him?
On October 16 by-elections Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also lost two National Assembly seats – one from Karachi and the second from Multan. This is a major dent but at the same time, Imran Khan’s party also snatched two provincial assembly seats from the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N).
Imran Khan has proved his popularity but will he be able to force the government to announce early elections? This question is important because Khan’s popularity will be of no use if he fails to put massive pressure on the government and the government does not announce an early election date.
Some political analysts say that Imran Khan, despite winning the majority of seats in the by-polls, won’t be able to get early elections but there are chances if he creates country-wide unrest and political turmoil.
Other political pundits are of the view that it will be a futile effort on part of Imran Khan even if he manages to besiege Islamabad and brings the country to a standstill for some days. In that case, the establishment might intervene to take control in its hands, they added.
Keeping all the situation in mind, the major opinion makers are of the view that perhaps it is time for a fresh mandate but will that happen? Will the government bow before Imran Khan to dig its own political grave? The answer is: “Certainly not.” Then what will happen?
The only solution to avoid political chaos and anarchy is dialogue but Imran Khan says he won’t talk with “thugs.” Khan’s stubborn stand will lead the country to nothing but political unrest in the country. With the intensifying confrontation and political polarisation, the country is going to fall into complete chaos.
The flawed narrative and confrontational approach that Imran Khan propagates is a major obstacle in the way of dialogue that can ultimately take the country out of this existential crisis.
No political force can deny fresh elections – a viable solution to put an end to the existing political gridlock, but without an agreement, elections will be of no use. At least Imran Khan won’t accept such elections. So, without an agreed framework, the elections will remain controversial and plunge the country into further chaos.
For peaceful, free, and undisputed elections, all political forces need to sit at the table and talk. On part of Imran Khan, it will be a lethal mistake to storm the federal capital and put the whole country at a standstill situation. No victory in elections means he has the power to lock down the citadel.