Home Politics Six reasons why US did not depose IK from office

Six reasons why US did not depose IK from office

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By Ahmad Faruqui


If ever there was a conspiracy to block the democratic process in Pakistan, it was carried out by Imran Khan and his party, not by the US.


Just when it seemed that Imran Khan had stopped peddling a conspiracy theory which held the US accountable for his ouster on the 10th of April, he tweeted a clip from Fox News showing a US expert stating that Pakistan needs to straighten its ways and keep a distance from Russia.

Imran Khan is jumping to conclusions. Fox News is neither privy to the workings of the Biden administration, least of all to its inner workings, nor is it a fan of the Democratic Party. In fact, it is a permanent critic of any and all actions by any Democratic administration. Furthermore, the US expert did not even imply that the US had removed Imran Khan from office. She just noted his departure.

The vote of no confidence was initially invalidated by the Deputy Speaker on Imran’s directive and then the President moved to dissolve parliament and force early elections. There can be no doubt that they carried out these actions on Imran’s bidding. If ever there was a conspiracy to block the democratic process in Pakistan, it was carried out by Imran Khan and his party, not by the US.

There is nothing unusual about a vote of no confidence. It’s quite common in parliamentary democracies when a standoff develops on major policy issues. The normal course of action is for the ousted leader to become the leader of the opposition, carry out his or her duties in that role, and contest the scheduled elections at the appropriate time.

There are six reasons why there was no US conspiracy to depose Imran Khan. The first is that Noam Chomsky has not called it out. He is a staunch critic of the US when it comes to meddling in the affairs of other countries. He has said nothing that would even remotely suggest that the conspiracy theory has merit. According to some sources, he has in fact suggested that there is no evidence that a conspiracy occurred.

Secondly, if the theory had merit, Russia and China, inveterate opponents of the US, would have called it out. In fact, they have sent congratulatory messages to the new prime minister. The Saudis invited him on a state visit as did the UAE. Turkey, Egypt and other long-time friends of Pakistan extended their greetings as well.

Thirdly, if the theory had merit, Republican Senators would have pounced upon it to score points against the Biden administration. Senator Lindsay Graham, a staunch friend of Pakistan, has been silent. Congressional elections are coming up in November and the Republicans are going all out to malign the Biden administration. The Republican silence speaks volumes about the absence of a conspiracy theory. Notably, Donald Trump, who called Imran Khan a “great leader” when they met in Washington in July 2019, has said nothing.

Fourth, while there is little doubt that Khan’s visit to Russia would not have pleased the US, that in itself does not constitute sufficient cause for the US to want his removal from office.

The US does have a long history of implementing regime going back decades in Iran and Chile. More recently, it has removed the Taliban in Afghanistan, Saddam in Iraq and Gaddafi in Libya. All these regime changes have several things in common. There has been a lot at stake for the US and the offending regime has been publicly warned. When action is undertaken, sometimes assassinations and sometimes large-scale military interventions have occurred. Regime changes have rarely been peaceful and they have not relied on a single meeting between a mid-level State Department official with the ambassador of the targeted country.

None of these conditions are present in the Imran Khan case. Not much is at stake for the US. If he was cozying up to the Russians, it was because he wanted to strengthen his stature among world leaders and to negotiate favorable oil and gas contracts. It’s not even clear that any contracts were signed during the visit, which awkwardly coincided with the day the Russians invaded Ukraine.

Pakistan is not a major trading partner with Russia and what it does with Russia pales in comparison with what India does with it. India is part of the QUAD that the US has created to contain China. If there is any country where the US would want to implement regime change in today’s circumstances, it would be India, not Pakistan.

Fifth, the Pakistani military, which dominates the decision making in Pakistan and which views itself as the guardian of Pakistan’s national security, has not endorsed the conspiracy theory argument. It would have been the first one to object.

Sixth, neither has the Pakistani Supreme Court endorsed the conspiracy theory. It convened an emergency session to review the matter and rejected it.

Imran Khan was removed from office because he failed to deliver on his goals, especially those related to the economy. Since he came to power in August 2018 the Rupee declined significantly against the US dollar, the budget and trade balances remained in the red, international debt kept on rising and inflation was rampant.

Even several members of his political party began to publicly voice their disappointment. Imran Khan is an impatient and angry man who’s throwing a tantrum. Since his ouster, he has organized three massive public rallies to force new elections, saying that his successors constitute an “imported government” which is only answerable to the US.

The campaign that he is now carrying out hinges on the assertion of a US conspiracy to oust him. He is capitalizing on the anti-American sentiment in any Pakistan which arises from a perception that he has helped cultivate over the past two decades. His assertion is that the US has only used Pakistan when it served the US agenda and dumped it when it was no longer needed. In particular, many Pakistanis feel that their country was exploited during the US war against terror in Afghanistan. Instead of being rewarded, it was punished with 400 drone attacks.

Imran Khan was removed from office because he failed to deliver on his goals, especially those related to the economy. Since he came to power in August 2018 the Rupee declined significantly against the US dollar, the budget and trade balances remained in the red, international debt kept on rising and inflation was rampant.

What is ignored in this anti-American mindset is that Pakistan has been the beneficiary of billions of dollars in US aid going back to the 1950’s and that the drone attacks decimated al-Qaeda’s terrorist network, as noted in Osama bin Laden’s diaries which have been just been published by Nelly Lahoud.

By now, it’s clear that Imran’s assertion of a US conspiracy is just a ruse and a snare to regain his flagging fortunes. He is a sour loser in the Donald Trump tradition. He would be well advised to see how the French political candidate Le Pen gracefully conceded defeat to President Macron despite having carried out a vigorous election campaign in which she assertively criticized his tenure. That’s how democracies work.

Imran should be seeking to strengthen the democratic process in Pakistan rather than carrying on this extra-parliamentary maneuver that relies on large public rallies to coerce the powers-that-be into holding an early election. Now he is planning on carrying out a long march on Islamabad with 2 million of his supporters. This long march is likely to degenerate into violence and ultimately create a political vacuum in the state. As the saying goes, nature abhors a vacuum.

We have seen this drama play out more than once in Pakistani history. Political violence and economic stagnation present an open invitation to the military to seize the commanding heights and place the country under martial law.


Courtesy: The Friday Times-Naya Daur

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