Pakistan Is Inevitably Headed For Martial Law


I have been carefully following political developments in Pakistan, and fear that the country is inevitably headed for martial law, not immediately, but in about six months or so. Consider the facts:

Imran Khan had become the Prime Minister in August 2018 on the platform of integrity, transparency and accountability.

However, during his tenure (which lasted till April 2022) the economy went downhill, and the prices of essential commodities like food, fuel, etc soared. This led to an agitation by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which was an alliance of the PPP, the PMLN, and some other parties, and ultimately by a vote of no confidence Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaaf party was ousted, and the PDM came to power.

Now the PDM is also facing an economic crisis, coupled with the havoc caused by the recent floods. Its ministers, including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, have been going around with a begging bowl to various countries asking for money.

The vast majority of Pakistanis support Imran Khan, as is evident from the recent by-elections to Parliament, in which the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) won six of the eight seats, the PDM won only two.

The reason for this, in my opinion, is that Imran Khan is basically perceived by the Pakistan public as an honest man, who entered politics to clean it up, and built a big cancer hospital, etc. He no doubt made many mistakes, but he is not a crook.

On the other hand, the leaders of the other parties, particularly the PPP and the PMLN, are perceived as being massively corrupt (the Toshakhana matter pales into insignificance before their corruption and loot ). Asif Ali Zardari was known as Mr 10%, while Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam’s name are in the Panama Papers, and they have acquired large properties in England and elsewhere.

Whatever be the truth in Imran Khan’s allegation that the PDM government is an imposed one, the people of Pakistan regard Imran as honest, and the PDM leaders as crooks.

Consequently, Pakistanis, not only in Pakistan but also abroad, mostly support Khan. He does not seem to be a person who will remain idle. He is a fighter, and has held huge rallies in several towns. Now he has announced a Long March on Friday, October 28.

Thus it is obvious that agitations and demonstrations will keep mounting in Pakistan. If elections for Parliament are held today, Imran Khan’s party will win by a thumping majority. Knowing this, the PDM will delay holding elections as long as they can.

But the people of Pakistan are becoming increasingly restive, as the economic crisis worsens.

Consequently chaotic conditions will increase. There are bound to be clashes between the public and the security forces, resulting in violence and deaths.

One may recall the situation in Pakistan before General Zia Ul Haq’s coup in 1977. The agitation against then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto by the Pakistan National Alliance had reached monumental proportions, before the army stepped in. Something similar seems to be happening now.

A situation sometimes arises when the only choice is between chaos and army rule, and historical experience shows that in this situation the army steps in. Nature does not like a vacuum.

No doubt presently the Pakistan army has decided to stay neutral and away from politics. But this cannot last forever. Clashes between supporters of Imran Khan and the PDM rulers will increase, and a situation is bound to be created when chaotic conditions get so colossal and out of control that the Pakistan army will be forced to step in.

This will not happen soon, but it is bound to happen in six months or so.__Courtesy The Friday Times