PTI chief Imran Khan almost singlehandedly took Taliban apologia to a point where it took a terror raid as unprecedentedly gruesome as the APS attack to finally establish groups, with destruction of the Pakistani republic as their raison d’etre, as the state’s enemy.

Imran Khan, himself an opportunistic liberal-conservative yoyo, had fabricated such a resonating rallying cry that progressive minded individuals managed to summon the cognitive prowess of involuntarily interpreting a jihadist group targeting markets, parks, hospitals filled predominantly by Muslim citizens – miles away from any security, let alone US-linked, installation – as an act of resistance to American foreign policy.

But it was a unique perspective for a mainstream Pakistani politician. For, everyone else had backed the Taliban on purely, or quasi, Islamist grounds – which, of course, Khan played with, but never completely co-opted.

Hence, this played its part in both catapulting him to as the obvious political alternative circa 2013 for a completely untested vote-bank, and to the laps of the powers that be.

Over the next four years, that lap of honour has been the only realm of respite for Khan, as his status as a viable alternative plunged, owing to the broken record that his rhetoric became.

Nawaz Sharif’s ouster in July was Imran Khan’s sole success story over the past four years. But ironically, he can’t truly embrace his own triumph, having to downplay the extent of his involvement – only if opposition protests alone sufficed in getting premiers disqualified in Pakistan…

But PML-N has presented the case for itself as having rebounded in the two months since Nawaz’s disqualification. This was done through rallies, a prominent by-election triumph, but most notably the civilian government upping the ante on reiterating those very policies that had helped influence – at the very least – the former premier’s exit.

It in this context that Imran Khan unleashed his tirade against Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Twitter last week, virtually coming clean about his one-point election manifesto for 2018: the aforementioned lap of honour.

It was the civilian-military disagreement over militant groups – especially the eastbound jihadists, spearheaded by Hafiz Saeed – that resulted in the much publicised rift, which is now etched in the folklore of Pakistani power games as Dawn Leaks.

With the foreign minister bringing up the likes of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammad in his speech at the Asia Society, and even saying that Nawaz Sharif paid the price for his efforts to improve relations with India, the ruling PML-N government is not only maintaining its position as one that – at least in talk, if not action – is in favour of complete erasure of these groups, and the long boomeranging ‘Good/Bad Taliban’ policy.

Imran Khan allying himself with the establishment’s narrative, and more crucially opposing the government’s, is a no-brainer. But what is also obvious is that it rekindles his apologia for jihadist groups – one-half of the two pronged existential threat for a democratic state in Pakistan – and continues to establish Imran Khan as an enemy of democracy and civilian supremacy in the country.

There could’ve been many better ways to criticise Khawaja Asif’s speech than to label him as “worse than the enemies of Pakistan”. He could’ve argued that an incumbent foreign minister should not act as defensively, and should choose representing the state over acting on behalf of the ruling government, regardless of the intra-state differences.

But, by unequivocally dumping Asif’s inward-looking critique – which only maintained that it’s not easy to completely eradicate the jihadist groups, and didn’t even hint at the establishment’s involvement, on the contrary accusing US of hypocrisy and duplicity – Khan has managed to carve out the argument that equates admission of these groups’ presence in the county, with ‘disrespect for the Armed Forces’, and in turn treason against Pakistan itself.

So, while the likes of Haqqani Network, JeM and LeT, continue to function in Pakistan and overlap with the Pakistani – especially Punjabi – Taliban to orchestrate attacks all over the country, acknowledging them as a problem is now ‘anti-Army’ and ‘anti-Pakistan’.

Khan’s Taliban apologia 2.0 – coming in the build up to elections just like the first edition – reconfirms him as a megalomaniac that would continue to patch up excuses and/or denial just to get one over the current ruling party that he would do anything to replace.

If the Pakistani foreign minister admitting the state’s diplomatic and security flaws makes him anti-Pakistan, what does six years of nothing but throwing mud at just about everything in the country – except those responsible for killing over 70,000 citizens and their strategic backers – make Imran Khan?

‘With a foreign minister like Khawaja Asif, who needs enemies?’ is what Khan tweeted following the Asia Society speech, and has reiterated the same over the past week.

But with a self-styled enemy like Imran Khan, Pakistan might metamorphose into a rogue and/or totalitarian state, where any ministries would be superfluous anyway.