Pakistan 2022; Things fall apart?


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In this episode, Omar talks to Ambassador Kamran Shafi and Columnist Dr Mohammed Taqi about the current political crisis in Pakistan. We take our best guess on whether the army is falling apart or just having a hiccup.

Some background:

  1. NFP (nationalist-leftist columnist from Karachi) writes a pretty good summary of the Imran Khan experiment and how it fell apart.
  2. Former ISI chief Asad Durrani writes about the failure of Project Imran:
  3. Mainstream Pakistani nationalist Mosharref Zaidi writes on this topic:

it is worth noting that I could not find a single recent good article by a pro-khan columnist. That is not his style. He has a simple message, and no details and no plan.

Published by

Omar Ali

I am a physician interested in obesity and insulin resistance, and in particular in the genetics and epigenetics of obesity As a blogger, I am more interested in history, Islam, India, the ideology of Pakistan, and whatever catches my fancy. My opinions can change.

19 thoughts on “Pakistan 2022; Things fall apart?”

  1. Bajwa saved Pak. Pak is off Grey list and America is funding it again. China has resumed CPEC.

    Khan has been shown his place. He will be a figure head but still obtain power. And Pak is saved from bankruptcy from his schemes and geopolitical gambling. This is a win. But people do not understand the good planning of Bajwa and Sharif.

  2. Thank you for this hilarious podcast. It was quite entertaining and provided me the daily dose of schadenfreude I so crave for. I wont need to watch ‘Naya Daur’ today. Pakistani boomer liberals and generals seem to be living in a fantasy world of their own, still a decade, two or three behind the times, and this podcast is another example of that.

    ”Imran Khan is a fascist, jewish agent, liar, ball tamperor, cheater, womanizer hypocrite, cocaine addict, egocentric, greedy, stupid, inorganic politician. etc etc” Reham Khan would be proud.

    A recent coping mechanism is the narrative that IK himself orchestrated his own assassination attempt. Pakistani Liberals are now espousing conspiracy theories because they cannot understand how to fit this new phenomenon into their outdated worldview.

    There are 30 million new young voters since 2018 that will vote in the next election. There are 190 million cellphones of which 140 million smartphones in Pakistan in 2022. Tik Tok is massive amonsgst the younger generations, especially those of lower socio economic class, and it’s clear who dominates the narrative there. All these people who grew up in Pakistan since 1990 have a very different worldview that what boomer GHQ generals and liberals want them to have. They saw all the horsetrading back in March, they saw all the corrupt conniving politicians group together to oust one steadfast guy, they saw how courts opened at midnight at the order of GHQ (when common man has to toil and trouble for a court date). They know the current government is a puppet and they know the puppeteer. Only Pak liberals (or misguided Indians friends) still think Nawaz is on an anti army crusade when he is sitting in the lap of the establishment right now with his brother, everyone else sees the reality.

    As for Bhutto and his ‘revolutionaries’, Bhutto’s slogan was ”Roti, Kapra, Makaan”, his grandson after half a century still offers the same thing when the world has moved on and left us in the dust. Doesn’t seem like a revolution to me, more like failed politics. ”Intellectuals” don’t bring a revolution except for the ones in their drawing rooms, military aged males aged 18-30 do. And it’s quite clear in Pakistan who they follow. One just needs to go out on the street and speak to common workers, the street hawkers, the rickshaw drivers, the waiters at the small restuarants, it’s quite clear where their sympathies lie. As I said right here in April, if there was a free election today, IK would sweep it, and when he does, it will be catastrophe for all his opponents (in both military and political circles)

    So now only way forward is for the ISI to assassinate IK, and hope that the fallout is manageable. They have tried it once now, and failed. They will try again.

    1. Right or wrong, IK is the choice of the people. Everyone everywhere thinks that the opposing side is blind/fascist/…

      Give it time, just like Shekhar Gupta learned to love Modi, so will ‘liberal’ (i.e. 50+ scions of PPP wadera families based in UK, and PML-N fauji families, petty-industrialists based in Canada/US) Pakistanis learn to love IK.

      ‘bring a revolution’

      I don’t think there can be any substantial ‘revolution’ in Pakistan. The country will keep chugging along as it always has. To me it is second rate India, with no advantages except homogeneity and small size but 10X the problems. The best outcome an ordinary Pakistani can aspire to is immigrate to the west. IK/Bhutto/NS no one can fix what is broken in Pakistan, none of them can teach Pakistanis how to make a 200-cc 4-stroke engine.

      Having said this, a real revolution is happening in Pakistan, a more informed and younger population is challenging the Army overreach and winning. Short term it will be bad for Pakistan, grey-list, weapons, CPEC,… but medium term it will be good: reduced army budget, civil supremacy, long term: cheaper Indian imports.

    2. ‘I don’t think there can be any substantial ‘revolution’ in Pakistan.’

      Subcontinental genetics don’t lend to ‘revolution’.

      ‘Having said this, a real revolution is happening in Pakistan, a more informed and younger population is challenging the Army overreach and winning.’

      This is where you are wrong. The younger population is not against army or its machinations, they just want their guy to be backed by the Army. Once Imran is in power, both his followers and Imran will find peaceful co-existence with the army.

      So the downstream effects you see, will never happen.

      1. >The younger population is not against army or its machinations, they just want their guy to be backed by the Army.

        This is also an explanation that is commonly given by Pak liberals, but has no merit. Nobody liked the army’s machinations but many tolerated it when it was working against clearly corrupt and morally bankrupt political dynasties. However now that people (especially Punjabis) have seen how their dear establishment treats ‘incorruptible’ people like IK, the game is up, and the emperor is now naked. You will be hard pressed to find any pro-army posts these days even on ultra nationalist Pak forums like

        Unbeknown to perhaps even himself, Imran Khan has cucked the army off its base and now they are in damage control mode. In their desperation, they have tried everything, first running self promotional ads on media, buying journalists, threatening media outlets for broadcasting IK, treason and corruption cases, disqualification, custodial torture and sexual assault, pornographic videos, and now it has escalated to assassination attempts.

        The younger population just wants to rid of the status quo that is clearly not working.

        1. ‘You will be hard pressed to find any pro-army posts these days even on ultra nationalist Pak forums like’

          As i said, this is temporary phenomena, till Imran comes back and finds his place in the hierarchy. Then everything will move back to normal.

          ‘The younger population just wants to rid of the status quo that is clearly not working.’

          Exactly. Only the current status quo of PPP-PMLN. Not really the army backed Imran.

          1. If Imran comes back, he will come back as the top dog and the CoAS will be answerable to him and not the usual. This will be a fundamental paradigm shift in Pakistani politics as it has never happened before, so its not temporary or insignificant. It remains to be seen whether IK can leave a legacy whereby these rules are intact after him.

            And Imran is not backed by the army since act of last year, yet he is more popular than ever.

          2. Also, generals are used to branding politicians as “traitors”, now find that they are the ones being labeled as traitors and those charges are sticking on them because it’s made by a person whose loyalty to the country cannot be questioned by the populace no matter what. This is what threatens them the most.

          3. “ If Imran comes back, he will come back as the top dog and the CoAS will be answerable to him and not the usual.“

            I bet that won’t be the case. Bhutto was under that delusion too. So was Nawaz during the mid 90s.

          4. Nobody came out on the streets when Bhutto was overthrown, or sentenced, or even when he was hanged. Nobody took to the streets when Nawaz was deposed, twice by the military. People actually celebrated the military. But millions of people in several cities and towns throughout the country took the streets when Imran was ousted. And that too in Punjab, which is where the army draws its support. They cannot jail IK without bloodshed, when both Bhutto and Nawaz were easily jailed and sentenced. They stuck a lot of charges on Nawaz and Bhutto, yet they cannot even stick one on Imran. So there is no comparison here. This is the era of social media, it’s outside the army’s capability to control the narrative online and it’s too late to ban it.

      2. I know the vitriol and retarded-ness of pro-IK crowd but Pakistani generals are far more venomous than civilians.

        At the very least a new generation of Pakistanis is being trained in the art of disrobing the army on the streets. Maybe PML-N will give it a try in the next round.

        Enemy of my enemy…

  3. are pakistanis beginning to use their brains, on average, perhaps it seems. As long as army is in control, nothing will work, because nothing will be allowed to work. The popularity of the army has to fall . On national security, pak army has been lying for too long. Once a country has nukes, its security is de facto achieved. The only reason why any country would want to attack pakistan preemptively is because of terrorists. So, no real threat from India. That” we have nukes but India is still a threat” was always hollow. So, what is the role of the army in a country whose security is already good?. To be in the barracks. That they could fool the country for so long tells us that ordinary pakistanis have essentially been propagandized on praising army a lot and undermining civil authority among other motivations, prejudices were hijacked into serving their interests. IK motivations might itself not be good, the point is, some one needs to tell the army its place is in barracks. Security is achieved, they have no more role to play in civil affairs. Lets see, how long will pakistanis allow themselves to get swindled. politicians wont fix the system anytime soon, but over time, the people will have choice to choose those who are competent enough to fix things. Lets see how they reclaim their rights from the army. Can army keep scaring people, scaring people on India wont work. Unless they pull of terror attacks on India leading to retaliation and hence gain their value once again.Which they might do once again. Other choice is to play politicians against each other. which they have been doing but that trick once used too many times becomes obvious. 3rd option is tyranny, but they want to be loved by the people. They will try to go back to terrorism to justify their value to society. Can pakistanis see through this is the question.

  4. I will make my view clear, I am least bothered about what is happening in pakistan. Do not take my views seriously.

  5. The podcast is good. As long as the military holds the civilian government to ransom, Pakistan cannot advance. Imran Khan, like all other politicians nowadays, is a populist leader. His campaign against the military establishment is catching up on the ground (though the podcast says otherwise). Once when IK comes to power (of course, tacitly with help of the military) he may switch over to their (establishment) side. The magic wand right now is in his hand.

  6. Pakistan is at a crossroads once again. The key is in what sort of accommodation is arrived at between the Army and IK. If IK is able to create a rift in the ranks of the Army, the Army will be forced to acquiesce to a lesser role in order to heal the rift as a first priority.

    The real challenge continues to be on the economic front. China has enough problems to deal with to continue to bankroll Pakistan. The US is focused on Ukraine and Taiwan theaters. Russia is a spent force. This leaves Saudi Arabia as the sole potential sponsor. What will Saudi get in return?? Where will the funds come from to engineer a rescue in Pakistan??

    Will IK take on the holy cow of defense spending and dominance of the Army in select industries?? Will IK attempt to secure an honorable peace with India to allow Pakistan to heal and recover?? Will the chaos in Afghanistan allow Pakistan to pare back defense expenditures??

    In fact, the Army may want to play a lesser role to let IK be the fall guy as the economy continues to sputter, and law and order spins out of control, allowing the Army to once again emerge as the savior as the only institution that can keep Pakistan united and sovereign.

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