Imran Khan is done waiting. It’s now or never for him. He has rejected the May 2013 general elections and given the PML-N government 30 days to act on his ‘demands’. Failing which, no less than a million PTI supporters will descend upon the capital on the country’s Independence Day, 14th August. He knows, and the PML-N knows, that the demands cannot be fulfilled. Definitely not in 30 days. The PTI Chief has narrated an elaborate story, identified the villains, and given a verdict in the end. Now, all he needs the government and judiciary to do is provide evidence which should somehow confirm his theory. If ex-CJP Iftikhar Chaudhary is not found guilty of election fraud, it’s not justice. If the government doesn’t illegally intervene in Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) work to ensure recounting of votes in four PTI-nominated constituencies, it must be condemned and brought to its knees. Mr Khan has put himself in a position where injustice suits him best. It is the fuel which drives his supporters and justifies protest politics. They are convinced that the ruling party stole their votes, and would like nothing more than to see it go down. Now that their leader has openly threatened to personally “hang” any policeman trying to stop them, they seem ready to march.
But, is anyone thinking about the possibly devastating consequences if the country is once again thrown into the pit of political turmoil and instability? Does the PTI really believe that Operation Zarb-e-Azb will remain completely unaffected when all hell breaks loose in Islamabad? What about the IDPs in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa who Mr Khan seems so concerned about? While the PTI Chief is busy quarrelling with the Prime Minister, who will take care of them? His party’s provincial government or Nawaz’s federal government? It is a responsibility that can only be successfully fulfilled if it is shared. Mr Khan neither wants to do his part nor is he willing to let others do their job. Also, he is not the only one with grand plans. What role will Tahir-ul-Qadri and co play in the days ahead? They have a common enemy, so will the PTI and PAT become friends over a minimum agenda? Or will personal ambitions and political differences prevent the emergence of a grand anti-government alliance as seen so far? What would the military be doing during this episode? Will it choose to be a mere spectator or add a few lines of its own to the drama? The latter appears far more likely as the former is unprecedented. Perhaps we can take solace in the fact that a lot can change in 30 days and hope that it changes for the better.