New Delhi: It is what can be called a dehumanising path. A video has gone viral in Pakistan, wherein a father says he can kill himself or even slit his son’s throat if Imran Khan wants it.
Polarisation in Pakistan is gradually taking a different shape, and even journalists and Christian nuns are becoming part of it.
The character in the video says-“I will do so for Imran Khan as he has nothing to earn either money or fame. Imran has earned everything, but he wants to make Pakistan self-respecting.”
All these are not without good reasons.
The Catholic Church got involved in the controversy after netizens shared snaps of two Dominican nuns, clad in black cloaks over white habits, holding red and green flags of Imran Khan’s party at a recent gathering.
It goes without stating that since losing the crucial vote of confidence in Parliament, Pakistan’s former prime minister and ex-cricketer Imran Khan has divided the nation with his aggressive campaign on the ground and online.
“You either agree with him or risk being called a traitor to the country, a thief or lifafa (a journalist accepting bribes). The space keeps shrinking for free thinkers,” says Lahore-based journalist Kamran Chaudhry.
Journalists in Pakistan for a long time have been associated with the word “Lifafa”, a term used to discredit them for allegedly taking bribes. Sometime back, they were also called “basket journalists”!
Syed Muzammil Shah, a vlogger, shared a video that has been viewed by more than 6,000 people.
Pakistan has multiple problems on other fronts. The chief among them is the economy.
In this context, senior journalist Abbas Nasir argues, “Who will remember the PTI’s mismanagement and decisions that brought the economy to this pass?”
His reference was to the fuel subsidy announced by Imran Khan during the fag end of his regime. Nasir says the new government will have problems doing away with the fuel subsidy.
“The withdrawal of the fuel subsidy will further spur the back-breaking inflation, particularly for the poor and middle classes, and the voting public will likely punish those it sees as responsible. When your life is a relentless struggle to put food on the table, it is not surprising that the short-term rather than the long-term memory inform your reactions. Who will remember the PTI’s mismanagement ….,” he added.
There are problems on the army front as well.
“There is speculation that the Pakistan Army acted against the run of play, that Imran was actually extremely popular with the public. Some perceive his defiance of the Army to have added to his popularity. The truth is not important here; it is a perception that rules,” wrote Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (Retd) in an article.
He is a former Commander of Srinagar-based 15 Corps and is now Chancellor, Central University of Kashmir.
It is also being argued that some factionalism appears to have entered into the otherwise tradition-bound Pakistan Army and General Qamar Bajwa is likely to be one of the biggest losers of this entire game.
In the overall scenario, things ought to be guarded by India as well.
Lt Gen Hasnain says, “Among Imran’s possible ploys to remain the spoiler-in-chief will be the possibility of enhancing acrimony against India and then acting as the great nationalist leader who could recover the situation to Pakistan’s advantage.”
With Imran being in cahoots with several radical organisations and even elements within the Army, “sponsoring an action in J&K could always be possible”, he says.