What’s Wrong With Imran Khan Reportedly Seeking To Clarify His Views With America?
Should the US obtain an objective understanding of his views and eventually come to accept them exactly as it’s done with respect to India, Saudi Arabia, and Turkiye’s similar such ones throughout the course of these two reported developments (though which importantly isn’t the same as approving of them), then it might set into motion a fast-moving sequence of events whereby America ultimately dumps its Pakistani proxies (in whole or most likely only in part).
Two reports have recently circulated alleging that former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has sought to clarify his views with America by secretly speaking with its Ambassador to Pakistan via video and hiring a US lobbying firm. The post-modern coup authorities who replaced him following the US-orchestrated but domestically driven regime change that was carried out through superficially “democratic” means and meant to punish him for his independent foreign policy (especially its Eurasian dimension) have attempted to spin these reports are supposedly proving that he’s an opportunistic hypocrite. This artificially manufactured narrative is propagated by social media accounts considered to be under their influence and which contrast these developments with his prior criticism of the US.
The basis for this information warfare campaign against the minds of their own people, which can thus objectively be described as a form of Hybrid Warfare (HW)/Fifth Generational Warfare (5GW), is the false perception that former Prime Minister Khan is “anti-American”. The reality, however, is that he’s actually pro-Pakistani and always has been, so much so that he’s extremely passionate about his country being treated with respect by its traditional partner as its equal exactly as it’s supposed to be in the eyes of international law but which has hitherto never happened. It was precisely because of the US’ repeated attempts to reimpose its fading unipolar hegemony onto Pakistan during his tenure amidst the global systemic transition to multipolarity that the country’s former leader was prompted to criticize it.
Had the US simply respected Pakistan as an equal and accepted that its traditional South Asian partner has the right to independently cultivate mutually beneficial ties with whoever it likes so long as they’re not at the expense of any third parties like America, then there never would have been any falling out between those two. Of course, former Prime Minister Khan could also have capitulated under its pressure by unilaterally conceding on his country’s objective national interests such as by condemning then sanctioning Russia following the latest phase of the Ukrainian Conflict brought about by its US–provoked special operation there but he proudly defended Pakistan’s right to practice a policy of principled neutrality exactly as China, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkiye, and others presently do.
No sincere supporter of their country could accept their leadership capitulating to foreign pressure to unilaterally concede their objective national interests like the US was attempting to get former Prime Minister Khan to do. This is a universal patriotic value that supersedes time, place, and borders. Granted, there are sometimes realistic limits to how far a certain country can go in this respect depending upon the context, but the point is that pushing back against hegemonic pressure to whatever extent they can is the responsibility of every true leader. Former Prime Minister Khan was punished for this in order to deter the rest of the Global South and especially traditional US partners from following his pragmatic lead, but the US totally failed in this respect.
Furthermore, the post-modern coup that it helped orchestrate against him directly led to the collapse of its restored vassal’s economy and provoked unprecedented political unrest, both of which were exacerbated by their political proxies’ anti-democratic crackdown against the now-opposition led by the former premier. On the one hand, this placed Pakistan in a position of weakness that speculatively resulted in it at the very least approving the use of its airspace during the US’ latest airstrike in Afghanistan against the Al Qaeda chief and thus achieving a major regional strategic objective for America, while on the other, it destabilized the basis upon which Washington wanted to indefinitely perpetuate its restored hegemony over that country.
The state of affairs is presently such that it wouldn’t be unthinkable that the US might be second-guessing the sequence of events that it helped catalyse in Pakistan five months ago since the outcome has been decisively negative for its long-term interests seeing as how it provoked a surge of grassroots resistance that has no precedence in that country’s history. To be absolutely clear, the overwhelmingly vast majority of the population and especially those who support former Prime Minister Khan’s call for free, fair, and early elections as soon as possible aren’t “anti-American” but pro-Pakistani just like he is since all that they want is for their country to be treated with respect as an equal by being allowed to practice an independent foreign policy without being punished for it.
The on-the-ground socio-political dynamics prove that popular support for PTI is surging as confirmed by the party’s landslide victory in last month’s Punjab by-elections and the desperate reaction of the post-modern coup authorities by subsequently cracking down even harder on the opposition through their banning of ARY News as well as the arrest of the former premier’s advisor Shahbaz Gill, both of which were predicated on the false pretext of supposed national security concerns. The situation inside Pakistan hasn’t been this unstable for at least a decade, especially following reports that the terrorist-designated TTP has returned to Swat after taking advantage of PMLN distracting the security services by ordering them to crackdown on PTI instead of bonafide HW/5GW threats like that group.
From the perspective of America’s grand strategic interests in its New Cold War with the multipolar Great Powers of Russia and China, the instability that it inadvertently provoked in Pakistan (or which it cynically intended to for the purpose of pressuring it to allow the use of its airspace for attacking Afghanistan but subsequently lost control of the dynamics) is disadvantageous since it risks reversing US influence there in the event that its post-modern coup government ultimately collapses. Its strategists might therefore reckon that it’s time to at the very least pragmatically explore the possibility of ordering its proxies to hold free, fair, and early elections in order to peacefully resolve the domestic political crisis that it’s responsible for causing so as to restore stability and thus more confidently rebuild bilateral ties.
Of course, that scenario would certainly be a partial compromise on the US’ part since it would be tacitly conceding that its post-modern coup failed to completely reassert its declining hegemony over Pakistan like was initially intended, but it would be better than that country plunging into an indefinite period of uncertainty that could lead to the emergence of chaotic consequences that nobody might be capable of controlling. There’s no doubt that if free, fair, and early elections were held as soon as possible, former Prime Minister Khan would democratically return to office, hence the need to finally listen to his pragmatic worldview in order to determine the contours of a potential compromise between them in that scenario.
The ousted leader was never given a fair hearing by the Biden Administration, whose figurehead arrogantly refused to even call the former premier to thank him for all that his country did to save civilians during the US’ chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan. American strategists were laser-focused on punishing him both for his pragmatic foreign policy but also simply because he was considered to be on pretty good terms with former US President Trump, who’s the incumbent leader’s hated enemy. These self-interested factors resulted in Washington wanting to remove former Prime Minister Khan from power, which they finally authorized their domestic proxies to do after his trip to Moscow that coincidentally occurred on the same day that the latest phase of the Ukrainian Conflict began.
The consequences of their post-modern coup against him have indisputably been disastrous: the Pakistan economy collapsed, former Prime Minister Khan inspired the largest rallies in his country’s history, PTI smashed PMLN on its own home turf during last month’s Punjab by-elections, and the imported government’s spree of anti-democratic crackdowns in response to all of this completely discredited the US’ proxies in the eyes of most Pakistanis. It therefore naturally follows that it’s long overdue for America to finally listen to the same man who it was responsible for ousting since he might very well return to office, and actually, him doing so would arguably help repair the damage they dealt.
The economy can only truly begin its long journey towards a sustainable recovery through the political certainty provided by free, fair and early elections, which would also serve the purpose of peacefully resolving Pakistan’s political crisis. With former Prime Minister Khan returning to his role as captain of the country, he can negotiate the contours of the potential compromise that’s required to be clinched in order to turn this dark page on bilateral ties and hopefully write a new chapter in their relations. So long as the US respects Pakistan as an equal and doesn’t meddle in its pragmatically driven independent foreign policy that’s in principle no different than what NATO member Turkiye or close US partners like India and Saudi Arabia are practicing without consequence, then relations will inevitably improve.
Therein lies the crux of the problem though since this outcome requires a fundamental shift in the US’ perceptions of Pakistan, which it’s always condescendingly treated as a puppet state whose leadership could easily be paid off to do America’s regional bidding whenever required. That order of business was abruptly ended during former Prime Minister Khan’s first term in office, hence why America wanted to replace him with a puppet who’d happily comply with each of their demands without daring to publicly speak back in defence of their country’s objective national interests like he so famously did last summer when declaring that he’d “absolutely not” approve of hosting US bases. The problem has always been that the US is anti-Pakistani and not that its former leader was ever “anti-American”.
Nevertheless, if the reports about former Prime Minister Khan secretly speaking with the American Ambassador to Pakistan are true despite former Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari denying them just the other day, then this development would actually bode well for resolving the country’s political crisis in the coming future through free, fair, and early elections as soon as possible as well as subsequently improving its ties with the US in that scenario. The insight shared in this analysis also explains why PTI reportedly hired a lobbying firm to clarify its chairman’s views about America and International Relations more broadly in order to ideally ensure that the greatest number of policymakers become aware of the reality that he’s always been pro-Pakistani and never anti-American.
Should the US obtain an objective understanding of his views and eventually come to accept them exactly as it’s done with respect to India, Saudi Arabia, and Turkiye’s similar such ones throughout the course of these two reported developments (though which importantly isn’t the same as approving of them), then it might set into motion a fast-moving sequence of events whereby America ultimately dumps its Pakistani proxies (in whole or most likely only in part). This would be done to help resolve those interconnected crises that they provoked and thus place ties on the path of rapprochement, both of which can only occur with the Pakistani people’s democratic mandate. There’s of course a chance that US ideologues will cling to their failed policy, but hopefully the pragmatists will prevail in the end.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Voice of East.
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Categories: International Affairs, Pakistan
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