Opinion
Sunday Nov 13 2022
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Imran Khan gaming that chaos in Pakistan will benefit him

PTI Chairman Imran Khan. — Reuters
PTI Chairman Imran Khan. — Reuters 

He is gaming that chaos in Pakistan will benefit him. He is gaming that anarchy in Pakistan will benefit him. He is gaming that a civil war in Pakistan will benefit him. He has surely been playing a game of fire. Has the game now started playing him?

For reasons best known only to him, he wants the following to resign: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif; Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani and Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja. 

Next in line could be Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi and President Arif Alvi. In the not-too-distant future, it could be justices of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

He wants to be the prime minister — again. Fair enough; every politician wants to become the prime minister. To be sure, his game plan is rather unique: incite mutiny within the armed forces so that the winning faction brings him back to the prime minister’s office.

To his credit, he is a narrative-generation machine. To his credit, he knows how to weaponise his narratives. Look at the most recent record: he weaponised the ‘cypher’; he weaponised Arshad Sharif’s killing and he weaponised the attack on him. 

To his good luck, there is no one capable enough to actually examine his weaponised narratives. To his good luck, there is no one to counter his disinformation with information.

Remember, most meaningful communication in this country takes place through stories. In this country, a “good story is more convincing than a good argument”. 

To his credit, he is a master storyteller. Remember, stories do not need logic. Stories need repetition. Yes, he skillfully adds a bit of religion and he comes up with truckloads of weaponised narratives.

Lo and behold, all those who are opposing him have no stories to tell. Remember, the one who has the narrative has the power. He has the narrative — and the power.

The fact is that he has no economic policy. The fact is that his governance was a disaster. The fact is that he was a foreign policy disaster. But humans, they say, are story-listening and story-telling animals. He has the stories, no one else does. And the one who the story has the power. Stories destroyed Germany. Another story was behind the Cambodian genocide. Yet another story destroyed Syria.

He wants the president of Pakistan to bend his way. He wants the prime minister of Pakistan to bend his way — or resign. He wants the establishment to bend his way. He wants the chief justice of Pakistan to bend his way. He wants the chief minister to bend his way. 

He wants the minister of interior to bend his way — or resign. He wants the chairman of the Senate to bend his way.

Is his game of fire taking him closer to his goal of becoming the prime minister? Consider this reality: he could not even get his own FIR registered in a province where his own government is in power. He has been playing this game of fire for the past seven months. Has the game now started playing him?


The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. He tweets @saleemfarrukh and can be reached at: [email protected]


Originally published in The News