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EDITORIAL: There’s no doubt that the US and its fellow imperialists practically wrote the book on engineering regime change in client states that are sometimes led astray by the odd populist leader; which is exactly what Imran Khan claims happened to him and he’s been pointing to the controversial cable as proof of it.

Yet it’s also true that the military has now effectively debunked that claim by stating very clearly that while the said cable did warn of interference, there was nothing to suggest conspiracy, especially one to bankroll a no-confidence motion and de-seat the sitting prime minister, as Imran Khan and practically all of PTI have implied ad nauseam. Indeed, DG, ISPR Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar also explained that the official communique issued following the meeting of the national security committee (NSC), which discussed this matter, did not mention the word “conspiracy” at all.

He also clarified that accounts in sections of the press suggesting that the establishment went to the former PM to find a way out of the confrontation with the joint opposition of the time were not true; and it was, in fact, the government that approached them to look for a solution.

And, just for the record, he also made it very clear that the US never asked Pakistan for any bases after its departure from Afghanistan. And the now famous “absolutely not” retort was never delivered to Washington. Instead, it was just part of an answer to a question raised by a Turkish journalist during an interview which PTI followers then turned into a catchy slogan that reflected their hero’s defiance of the world’ sole superpower’s attempts to use our region for its own purposes.

But even these developments are not likely to put PTI on the back foot. Somewhat fantastically, its spokespersons are still lining up to point out that the military’s clarification actually went in its favour because it did still mention the word “interference”, even if the bit about backing and financing the no-trust motion stands to be exposed as the party’s own attempt to put two and two together, pick an answer of its own liking, and then go so far as subverting the constitution because of it.

PTI’s response is very unfortunate because it points to more confrontation down the road at a time when the country is seriously staring economic collapse, perhaps even default, right in the face. There’s nothing quite like political uncertainty to give the economy the kiss of death, after all, and PTI seems to want to do just that to hurt the government of the people that ended its government. It’s also in the mood to pick a fight with the judiciary; openly questioning its verdict about the April 3 constitutional crisis and getting its social media warriors to ridicule it online, which is hardly the wisest course to take.

So, it’s perhaps too soon to tell whether the presser brought any clarity to the overall political situation or just made it more confusing. On the face of it, the military’s clarification has taken the wind out of PTI’s sails and everything it has built its new narrative around. But, given its recent track record, you can’t put it past PTI to rubbish all that was said and include those that believe it in its expanding list of enemies of Imran Khan and Pakistan as well. Therefore, a lot remains to be seen and things should start taking concrete shape in a few days.

Yet the one thing that everybody could welcome was the military’s firm commitment that the days when it interfered with the country’s politics were well and truly behind us. Hopefully, it will go a step further and cement the kind of neutrality (apolitical stance) that it displayed during the recent crisis forever as well. Pakistan has had its share of crises and controversies. Now it’s reached the point that it might well default and break up if the greatest care is not taken. And now that the establishment has withdrawn itself from mainstream politics, it is up to the country’s democrats to either come together and save this country, or keep tearing at it and see who wins in delivering the final blow that finally finishes off the republic.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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F Nawaz Apr 17, 2022 01:25pm
They did ask for bases as has been confirmed by back newspaper issues. So I'm sorry, this attempt at diluting the content won't help. People's memories are short but not that short.
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