The resignation of 50 leaders and the arrest of others..Is Imran Khan's party on its way to collapse?

Islamabad – A wave that may be the most difficult in the short political history faced by the Pakistan Insaf Party, led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan , after the events of May 9 that followed the arrest of Imran Khan, and dragged the country into a political crisis and a wave of violence.

The severity of the crisis this time lies in an escalating wave of resignations in the ranks of the Insaf Party, in addition to arrests among other leaders who still refuse to resign, in conjunction with a government approach to study banning the party.

Arrests began among the party's leaders since the early days of Imran Khan's arrest. The most prominent detainees were the former Finance Minister and Secretary-General of the party, Asad Omar, the former Minister of Information and the first deputy head of the party, Fuad Chaudhry, and the former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is still detained.

Among those arrested was also the former Minister of Women's Affairs, Shirin Mazari, who was arrested 4 consecutive times, which prompted her to resign under the pretext of "devoting herself to her family." She was preceded by the resignation of the former Minister of Information in the Punjab region, Fayaz Al-Hassan Chauhan, the head of the party in the city of Karachi and a former member of parliament. Pakistani Aftab Siddiqui, and former Member of Parliament Usman Khan Trakai.

The wave of resignations continues, including leaders who held ministerial positions in the federal government, regional governments, membership in the central parliament or regional parliaments, and according to Pakistani media, the number of those who resigned from the party has approached 50 leaders.

According to the Pakistani newspaper "Dawn", during a hearing, the judge of the Islamabad High Court told the former speaker of parliament and a leader in the party, Assad Qaiser, "I will hold a press conference and finish it," referring to his resignation for his release.

Red lines crossed

The political crisis escalated during the past weeks after the army accused members of the Insaf Party of inciting the party's supporters to attack army headquarters, which is the red line that cannot be crossed for the army.

The government has said through Defense Minister Asif Khawaja that it is studying the possibility of banning the Insaf Party due to the violent incidents that occurred after the arrest of Imran Khan.

This was not the beginning of the dispute between Imran Khan and the military establishment, which dates back to the time when Khan was at the helm of power in Pakistan. Political analyst Javed Siddique believes that the dispute is due to several factors, the most important of which are:

  • Imran Khan's foreign policies and the nature of his relations with the United States.
  • His refusal to have a base for the United States in Pakistan.
  • Rapprochement with the Russian axis.
  • Failure at the internal level in the modest economic performance.
  • The state of resentment experienced by the Pakistani street as a result of the high prices, which lost the confidence of the military establishment.

Javed Siddique added in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net that Imran Khan did not expect that the army that brought him to power would turn its back on him, and he expected the army's support in the face of the opposition before the fall of his government.

Siddique believes that "the issue of Imran Khan's disagreement with the army because of the latter's influence in political life is somewhat correct. Imran Khan and his government were under the influence of the army, and one of the reasons for his disagreement with the former army commander, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, is the general's desire to change the Prime Minister of Punjab."

For his part, journalist and political analyst Javed Rana told Al-Jazeera Net that the dispute began between Imran Khan and the former army chief because of two major issues in foreign policy, namely relations with India and recognition of Israel.

While the political analyst, Re'ayatullah Farooqi, says that Imran Khan failed on the internal and external fronts, "he was unable to provide any aid to the people, and at the same time he angered the friendly countries of Pakistan."

Farooqi considers that the failure of Imran Khan internally and externally led to discrediting the army, and therefore the army withdrew from the scene in 2021, according to Farooqi's interview with Al-Jazeera Net.

An uncertain future

The escalating wave of resignations, the campaign of arrests among the ranks of the party, and the government's tendency to ban it reflects the army's desire for that, and raises questions about the party's future.

In this context, Javed Siddique says that he does not believe that the Insaf party will collapse because some important leaders in Imran Khan's advisory council are still with him and have announced their support for him.

As for Javed Rana, he believes that at the popular level, the party will not collapse or lose its popularity, but at the level of the organizational structure, the party will face many problems.

Rana adds that as long as there is popular support for the Insaf Party and as long as Imran Khan is alive, the Insaf Party will not collapse, and even if it is banned, popular support for it will continue, and a new party may be formed with a new name and run by Imran Khan.

While he disagrees with that, God's care Farooqi, who expects the collapse of the Insaf Party due to the nature of the party's leadership, and he justifies that political parties cannot avoid their collapse unless there is a political heir to them, for example Benazir Bhutto inherited the leadership of the People's Party from her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who He was executed by General Zia-ul-Haq, and the same thing happened with Maryam Nawaz Sharif, who inherited the leadership of the League from her father, Nawaz Sharif.

And Farooqi continues, that Imran Khan does not have an heir, and in the presence of restrictions on him, the party will be controlled, and Imran Khan has become old and will not be able to continue for a long time.

An ongoing crisis

Javed Siddique believes that the next stage will witness more attempts to weaken Imran Khan and the Insaf Party, and at the same time he does not believe that this conflict will end in the short term.

While Javid Rana says that the political and economic situation in the country will not improve unless reconciliation is concluded between the conflicting parties, and accordingly free and fair general elections are held to end the conflict.

As for Karimullah Farooqui, he believes that the scene could change after the resignation of the Chief Justice in Pakistan, especially since some in the judiciary, including Pakistan's Chief Justice Omar Atta Bandial, protect Imran Khan, as he put it.

Farooqi adds that with the existence of a new judicial body, Imran Khan will be excluded in at least 3 corruption cases, and this will end the conflict.

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