By Mohammad Mazhari

New Pakistan government consists of seasoned politicians: expert

April 27, 2022 - 18:50

TEHRAN – A Pakistani political analyst is of the opinion that the new government in Islamabad consists of experienced political figures and that Pakistan is not in an unstable situation.

“Most of the incoming ministers are seasoned politicians and have experience of running the government in the past,” Shaukat Piracha tells the Tehran Times.

“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif himself has rich experience of running three times the largest province of Punjab. Punjab province has more than 100 million population,” the media activist says.

Imran Khan draws support from the youth, the urban population, etc. Piracha believes that despite the tense political atmosphere, Pakistan is in a stable situation due to the political experience of the new prime minister and his team. “There is no doubt that the political temperature in Pakistan is very high. But it cannot be termed instability.  The new cabinet was sworn on Tuesday morning.” 

 He adds, “All institutions under the Constitution of Pakistan are working very well within their domains. It appears quite premature to assume instability of any kind.”

The following is the text of the interview:

Q: What are the main reasons for Imran Khan’s failure to win the confidence of the Pakistani parliament?  Critics say his economic policies were unsuccessful. What is your view?

A: There are two major reasons why Imran Khan failed to get the confidence of the Pakistani Parliament. Imran Khan’s party i.e. Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf never had a simple majority and depended upon different allies and individual members of the Parliament. The allied parties like MQM, Balochistan Awami Party, etc. decided to part ways with him. His own party saw around two dozen defections. This explains why he lost the majority in the 342-seat National Assembly.

As far as economic policies are concerned, Imran Khan had bad luck. The petroleum prices in the international market continuously saw an upward surge. Pakistan, being dependent on oil imports, had to pay more. Consequently, there remained pressure on the exchequer. Covid-19 too caused high inflation. The consistent rise in the prices made him unpopular among the masses. 

Q: Imran Khan accused Washington of being involved in a conspiracy against his government, while the White Housed rejects such a claim. What do you think?

A: During his last days, Imran Khan kept on accusing Washington of putting pressure on a regime change in Pakistan. His argument is based on the communication of Pakistan’s former Ambassador to Washington. Pakistan’s security agencies investigated and did not find any conspiracy. But Khan is keeping his political strategy based on the said conspiracy.

Q: How do you see the future of Pakistan after the ouster of Imran Khan? Is Pakistan moving towards instability?

A: There is no doubt that the political temperature in Pakistan is very high. But it cannot be termed instability.  The new cabinet was sworn in Tuesday morning. Most of the incoming ministers are seasoned politicians and have experience running the government in the past. Prime Minster Shehbaz Sharif himself has rich experience in running three times in the largest province of Punjab. Punjab province has more than 100 million population.  Secondly, all institutions under the Constitution of Pakistan are working very well within their domains. It appears quite premature to assume instability of any kind.

Q: What are Imran Khan’s options to confront political rivals and foes? Legal process or streets?

A: Legal processes and streets are open to anyone in Pakistan.  But Imran Khan has been ousted through a legal option. He is now openly criticizing the highest judicial body in the rallies. It appears that Imran Khan, for the time being, is banking on the streets. However, he also announced finding a case against the Chief Election Commissioner in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. 

Q: Who are the main supporters of Imran Khan? Can he count on his social base while the army is reluctant to support him?

A: Pakistan’s Army has time and again, during the recent crisis, announced to remain apolitical. The non-partisan approach of the Pakistan Army is not liked by Imran Khan and his supporters. Imran Khan claims to have a large following in Pakistan. But the by-election in almost a dozen of constituencies last year as well as the grass-root election in the Cantonment Board saw his party facing a landslide defeat.  But Imran Khan still getting good responses from his supporters in the rallies. He draws support from the youth, the urban population, etc.
 

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