Al Jazeera Net experts: These are the conflict scenarios in Pakistan after the assassination of Imran Khan | politics

Al Jazeera Net experts: These are the conflict scenarios in Pakistan after the assassination of Imran Khan |  politics
Al Jazeera Net experts: These are the conflict scenarios in Pakistan after the assassination of Imran Khan |  politics

Al Jazeera Net experts: These are the conflict scenarios in Pakistan after the assassination of Imran Khan | politics

islamabad The fallout from the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister and leader of the “Insaf” party, Imran Khan, continues to linger in the country, particularly after his latest video statement announced that rallies would resume next Tuesday.

At the same time, the Pakistani government, led by Shahbaz Sharif, is discussing legal options that can be used to prosecute Imran Khan amid accusations by senior officials of conspiracy to assassinate him.

Khan had previously accused Sharif, his Interior Minister Rana Thanaullah and Intelligence General Faisal Nassir of planning an assassination, which the government and army deny.

Al Jazeera Net experts: These are the conflict scenarios in Pakistan after the assassination of Imran Khan |  politics
Demonstrators protest the shooting of Imran Khan during his party’s rally (Reuters)

What legal action is the government seeking against Imran Khan?

According to Pakistani newspaper Dawn, Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday called for the formation of a “full legal committee” to investigate claims by Khan and some of his party leaders that the prime minister, home minister and a senior military officer were responsible for the assassination attempt on him in Wazirabad .

And about the options the government can fall back on, legal expert Haider Waheed tells Al Jazeera Net: “You could go as far as accusing him of sowing discord in the country, or maybe criminal defamation as one of the other options.”

For his part, the head of the Institute for Political Studies in Islamabad, Khaled Rahman, in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net, considers the prime minister’s announcement of the creation of a judiciary committee important and shows that his government has the option to go down this path with a number of issues , which were previously considered, should be followed up consistently.

Journalist and political scientist Javed Siddiq doesn’t see many options for the government in this regard unless Imran Khan does something else, such as more generally defaming army figures or the army as an institution.

What are the expected scenarios for the coming period?

A friend of mine told Al Jazeera Net that on the Pakistani street there is a state of fear of what is to come. He adds that most Pakistanis now believe that early elections are the only solution to end this conflict.

On the expected scenarios, Siddiq says the dialogue between political stakeholders and under pressure from the military is the most prominent “that the Pakistani people hope will happen”.

Siddiq recalled a case in the past when the conflict between former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto escalated in the 1990s, where the army played the primary role in forcing them to hold dialogues and snap elections.

Although Imran Khan sees the army working against him, the appointment of a new army chief this month could change the equation, Siddiq says. The analyst believes that any new leader will not be happy with this situation, and solving the political conflict will be his priority.

This is also confirmed by the director of the Institute of Political Studies, Khaled Rahman, who said that the appointment of a new army commander will lead to a new scenario and new rooms for all players.

Rahman believes these events could pave the way for a new phase: “Unless the situation turns into direct conflict or additional constitutional regulation, the current crisis must be seen as a step towards a new equilibrium.”

On the other hand, Rahman says that according to the latest polls, Khan does not enjoy absolute support, so his success lies in maintaining a high pace of escalation and will do everything in his power to keep his momentum going.

Rahman believes going long without real success will be difficult. He adds that Imran Khan did not insist on dissolving the government but on announcing the date of the elections, “and that will be announced by the government after a while to save face”.

And if peaceful solutions fail, analyst Javed Siddiq believes one of the other scenarios is the country’s descent into civil war. “Failing to hold early elections or somehow disrupting the peaceful transition of power in the country will lead to a state of violence,” he said.

Pakistani soldiers from the Special Services Group (SSG) march during the Pakistan Day parade in Islamabad, Pakistan March 23, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood
Some anticipate changes in army leadership that could lead to pressure to resolve the political crisis (Reuters)

What effects does the political conflict have internally and externally?

When we asked a friend about the danger of the next stage, he said that if the situation is not resolved, it will be dangerous. If the country gets into such incidents, the country’s internal security will be negatively affected, and this could lead to one civil war in Pakistan.

Siddiq goes on to say that “Insaf” party members and supporters are highly charged and have a great bond with their leadership, particularly the youth among them. The assassination also stirred the emotions of many people in most Pakistani cities.

Citing foreign influences, Siddiq says that “Pakistan’s enemies, led by India, are benefiting from this situation” and that the Indian media are promoting that Pakistan is on the brink of a very dangerous situation that threatens its stability.

On the economic front, the analyst notes a steady decline since the current crisis began months ago and despite continuous attempts to bail out the economy, Pakistan is now in a difficult corner politically and economically, says Siddiq.

On the other hand, while the attack on Imran Khan certainly escalated the heat of Pakistan’s political crisis, Khalid Rahman underestimated the impact on reality towards change.

How to evaluate the army’s role at this stage?

While the army condemned the assassination from the outset, it expressed great dissatisfaction with Imran Khan’s attempt to involve names of the military and its sovereign institutions in the conflict.

According to Pakistani media, the army’s public relations department issued a strongly worded statement rejecting “baseless and irresponsible allegations” made by Imran Khan against the army.

In this regard, Siddiq says that the top priority of the army, which is responsible for internal and external security, is political stability in the country. Without political stability, the army’s task becomes more difficult, and therefore it tries to calm the situation.

Despite this, the analyst believes the military is able to force political parties to negotiate and end the crisis.

While Rahman sees this establishment in a weak position, Imran Khan, receiving the peak of his political support, is vocally opposed. This is unprecedented. However, he added that “a complete withdrawal of the military establishment is out of the question at this stage”.


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