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Violent protests broke out in several cities of the country following the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on May 9. Was it a spontaneous reaction of PTI workers or a display of grotesque anti-military mindset nurtured by their supreme leader? Imran Khan says he doesn’t want that to happen again, but it will in case of his arrest or removal from the scene, he warns. And to one’s surprise in most of the cases the arsonists were not led by the party’s top leadership; they were led by the local PTI leaders.

These leaders too have been arrested, along with about 4,500 others. While some of them are in courts for bails, quite a few are bidding farewell to arms. And there are cases of ordinary workers– including the one who tearfully confessed his blunder of toppling and disgracing the statuesque figure of national war hero Captain Kernal Sher Khan – who are very apologetic about their decision to join others who were set about destroying anything and everything related to the armed forces of Pakistan.

As per reports, they would be tried by the military courts that are already there but would have the right to appeal.

That Imran Khan is not undeniably apologetic about the mayhem his party workers carried out against military and civil structures, including Jinnah House, is a fact. Nor does he agree that desertions of his party leaders are voluntary.

According to him, “these are the cases of forced divorce”. In other words, it increasingly appears that he acquiesces to the May 9 mayhem. So, even when more leaders and workers would quit the PTI he would keep believing that the political parties “could not be dismantled through such tactics…a political party could only be erased with depletion of its vote bank”.

That puts a question mark over the future of PTI as a political party in the establishment-guaranteed democratic ambience.

Will it be a different cup of tea for the PTI in case the “minus one” happens, or will it be as is the case with any political party that adjusts with ground realities and does not insist: ‘give me power or give me death’? It is too early to make a prediction about the future of PTI.

There are cases when the parties thrown out of power, as is the PTI’s case, can regain power and become government. And there are also cases when the banned parties just modified their names and remained in the national power arena.

Sikandar Hayat

Islamabad

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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