Consider this: Washington, in the middle of the Russia-Ukraine crisis, is plotting to oust Imran Khan and change the government in one of the key countries in the world, Pakistan. The coup, in which billions have been spent to 'buy' 174 members of Parliament, has been a befitting reply to Imran Khan's visit to Moscow the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.
The strong declaration made by the ‘statesman’, “What a time to come here, what excitement”, worried the White House, as also the number of treaties and agreements Imran brought home when he went back to Islamabad – zero. Biden and the American government have not been sleeping for several nights thinking about how they could counter such a threat. In the end, they resorted to the use of a lethal weapon – the routine report of a diplomat expressing his opinions on the current situation.
When Imran Unveiled the 'Ultimate Truth'
Holding the letter like his cricket bat of the good old times, Imran went on TV to denounce evil Uncle Sam and to tell proudly the country that being chosen by God and with the help of the pet ‘Jinns’ kept by his wife in her boudoir, the truth had prevailed. A sword was pulled out from a rock and a flag appeared in the sky. Meaning, he bullied the National Assembly Deputy Speaker into declaring null the no-confidence motion endorsing the 'foreign hands conspiration' theory, and convinced president Arif Alvi to dissolve Parliament.
New elections will be held and the champion of the masses, the Prince of 'Youthias' (a pejorative term for the cult of Imran’s followers), the hero of human rights, the mastermind of revolutionary foreign politics that left a permanent mark on all democratic international institutions, will be democratically ‘selected’ again by the people of Pakistan.
Translation: the Army will allow him again to rule the country after they showed him what the role and the place of a pet puppy is. As many say, it’s difficult to find somebody easier to manipulate once you have flattened their ego.
There might be another divorce in sight if the gossip that has been doing the rounds is true: pet Jinns inspired the boudoir saint, the one who apparently really rules the government from behind her veil, to dictate to Imran the suicidal strategy of the past months. She had told Imran that he would win elections only if he married her. And that proved to be right. So, she told him not to sign the replacement of ISI Director General Faiz Hameed with Lieutenant-General Nadeem Anjum, and Imran thought that this was a great idea.
As Emperor Constantine saw a cross in the sky carrying the message 'In hoc signo vinces' (you'll win with this symbol), the veiled one told the ‘Kaptaan’ that his reign will be over without Faiz. So, in the umpteenth version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein being played in Pakistan, the creature revolted against his creators and the Opposition no-confidence drama unfolded in Parliament.
Black Magic and Hidden Powers: A Heady Mix
But, as the famous Italian satyrical writer Ennio Flaiano would say, once more in Pakistan, “the situation is desperate but not serious”. Desperate because nobody – certainly not Pakistanis – needed another proof that democratic institutions in Pakistan are a joke, a smokescreen used at convenience by the real rulers of the country and by their associates.
The last show staged in the Pakistani Parliament shows not the prevalence of people’s will and the health of its democracy but, in fact, the pathetic lack of it. The mere fact that a large part of the country can be convinced that the majority of Parliament has been 'bought' by a 'foreign power' tells you something about Pakistan's political class and institutions, and how the system in the country is rotten to the core.
There's nothing serious in the fiction developing at the moment: the amalgam of (not so) hidden powers, black magic, manic egos, Cato's epigones shredding their clothes because there's an attempt to undermine democracy and the Pakistani Constitution when they perfectly know and knew since the beginning that there was nothing in the country remotely resembling the rule of law, seems like a bad plot written by an insane scriptwriter.
The Jinns will be domesticated, the veiled one will sentence more prophecies. America will take all this for what it is – a joke – confident that the real rulers are on a different page. Most probably, after a good kick, the pet will be taken back on his master's lap. And the show will go on.
(Francesca Marino is a journalist and a South Asia expert who has written ‘Apocalypse Pakistan’ with B Natale. Her latest book is ‘Balochistan — Bruised, Battered and Bloodied’. She tweets @francescam63. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author's own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for his reported views.)