By deliberately playing into the hands of this foreign plot as the “useful idiots” that they truly were even in the unlikely event that none of them directly colluded with American intelligence, the Pakistani opposition showed that it’ll sacrifice national security without a second thought, which should concern all sincere patriotic members of the population. No self-respecting government could ever allow such a Hybrid War plot to succeed without doing its utmost to resist it, let alone someone as passionate about their country’s strategic autonomy as Prime Minister Khan is.
Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri’s dismissal of the opposition’s no-confidence motion arguably saved Pakistani democracy from the US’ regime change plot against Prime Minister Imran Khan that was hatched as punishment for his independent foreign policy, especially with respect to the game-changing geostrategic consequences of his country’s rapid rapprochement with Russia in recent years. It nevertheless prompted plenty of criticism among those at home and abroad who claimed that it was an anti-constitutional move intended to preserve the premier’s hold on power in spite of he himself calling for new elections within the next 90 days.
This South Asian state is polarized like never before owing to the opposition’s politicization of its ongoing economic crisis that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pakistan’s economic fundamentals have been weak for decades after prior governments practically sold the country out to the US-dominated IMF and other financial institutions like the World Bank. This created a dependency relationship that’s extremely difficult to break, hence why the incumbent has also had to request support from these same structures despite the strings that they attach to their aid. The resultant cycle in some sense worsened aspects of Pakistan’s economic crisis and generated more resistance to him.
It’s unfair to blame Prime Minister Khan for the challenging economic situation that he inherited from his predecessors but it conveniently helps score political points among the opposition’s targeted audience who might not know any better than to believe that he’s purely responsible for their plight. While the impact of some of his administration’s policies remains debatable, there shouldn’t ever have been any expectation that this single man could pull off an historically unprecedented economic miracle by having Pakistan replicate the Chinese model of prosperity in just a few years’ time. Rather, what he’s sought to do is systematically reform his country’s decrepit structures so as to give Pakistan this chance.
No politician is perfect but Prime Minister Khan certainly seems to have his country’s best intentions in mind. He’s very passionate about building what he’s described as an Islamic welfare state, which requires Pakistan to first become truly sovereign in order for this ambitious vision to succeed. This goal involves more than just economic sovereignty but also political sovereignty as well, ergo the moves that he’s made on the world stage in pursuit of this, particularly when it comes to practicing a policy of principled neutrality towards Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, and neither will his vision of “Naya (New) Pakistan” be either.
The problem is that the opposition is impatient and has their own self-interested reasons for wanting to return to power as soon as possible at all costs, not least of which is their fear of being brought to justice throughout the course of the incumbent’s rolling anti-corruption campaign that’s admittedly been imperfectly executed over the past few years. Some of the most opportunistic among them saw the perfect chance to unseat Prime Minister Khan by filing their no-confidence motion against him on that pretext of punishing him for their country’s economic crisis.
Prior to that, they worked very hard to convince some of their compatriots that he’s purely to blame for their troubles and that removing him from office will immediately alleviate them. This weaponized information warfare narrative accompanied four other main ones that collectively contributed to misleading some well-intended but ultimately naïve members of the population. This set the basis upon which US Assistant Secretary of State for South & Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu allegedly threatened to carry out regime change against Prime Minister Khan as punishment for his independent foreign policy.
According to reports, he informed officials from the Pakistani Embassy in the US a day prior to the opposition’s no-confidence motion that such a scenario was about to unfold for precisely that reason. They conveyed this information to Islamabad, which in turn ended up in the letter that Prime Minister Khan waved around during a rally and presented as proof of the US’ regime change plot against him. It remains unclear which, if any, members of the opposition might have directly colluded with this foreign power for that end but they were all indeed functioning as “useful idiots” of the US by refusing to rescind their no-confidence vote after being made aware of America’s regime change intentions.
Patriotism is universally defined as love for one’s homeland and isn’t considered by any sincere practitioner thereof to involve collusion with a foreign power no matter how supposedly “well-intended” one’s reasons for doing so might be. Those members of the opposition who might sincerely have been motivated by their interpretation of “patriotism” to table the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Khan should have reconsidered the wisdom of doing so upon being informed that they were playing right into the US’ regime change scenario. By not doing so, they rightly opened themselves up to accusations of going along with this plot for politically self-interested reasons.
Therein lies the basis upon which the Deputy Speaker dismissed their no-confidence motion on the grounds that it represented unconstitutional meddling by a foreign state into Pakistan’s internal affairs. Even in the extremely unlikely event that every single member of the opposition was operating with so-called “good faith” and their own interpretation of “patriotism” in mind, none of them can claim ignorance of this American regime change campaign after their embattled premier made them all aware of it prior to Sunday’s events. They could have at the very least temporarily removed it pending an investigation into those very serious national security claims but none of them requested that.
This was the context in which Sunday’s events transpired and why the dismissal of their no-confidence motion was justified. Pakistan is an ultra-diverse country whose cosmopolitan population can easily be manipulated by external forces for Hybrid War ends, especially through narratives that exploit preexisting differences between them such as partisan disputes over who’s responsible for their latest economic crisis. These socio-political vulnerabilities can be weaponized to advance regime change against their government exactly as America attempted to do through the recent no-confidence motion that Mr. Lu threatened that the opposition would table a day after his meeting with Pakistani officials.
By deliberately playing into the hands of this foreign plot as the “useful idiots” that they truly were even in the unlikely event that none of them directly colluded with American intelligence, the Pakistani opposition showed that it’ll sacrifice national security without a second thought, which should concern all sincere patriotic members of the population. No self-respecting government could ever allow such a Hybrid War plot to succeed without doing its utmost to resist it, let alone someone as passionate about their country’s strategic autonomy as Prime Minister Khan is. Those who are trying to gaslight their audience by pretending that this national security context doesn’t exist are lying.
Pakistan is at a turning point whereby it’ll either continue proceeding along its present pro-sovereignty trajectory or revert back to its status as a US vassal state. There are many figures within the country’s academia, civil society, and media who want nothing more than to advance their own career interests at the expense of national ones by seeing that second scenario succeed. These folks are operating at full force and stopping at nothing to manipulate the public into selling out their national interests as well by dangling the false carrot of economic prosperity in exchange. The truth, however, is that Pakistan never prospered while it was a US vassal state and will thus never prosper upon returning to such.
The only ones whose interests are served by that happening are those who have career interests connected to America or its allies. These tend to be members of the so-called “professional elite” who have disproportionate visibility within their society relative to their comparatively more impoverished compatriots, hence their association with academia, certain civil society movements, the media, and the opposition. It’s their right to believe in whatever they want, but their targeted audience mustn’t be misled into thinking that their objective interests are connected to this elite class’. True prosperity will only come to Pakistan as a result of the pro-sovereignty track that Prime Minister Khan has placed it on.
It should be remembered that he’s only one man and isn’t solely responsible for the impressive gains that his country has made in defending its interests over the past years since these are also attributable to those patriotic members of Pakistan’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) who helped make this possible in practice. Those who want to overthrow the premier, including by going along with the American plot that he just exposed, implicitly want to change their country’s entire “deep state” in order to ensure that Pakistan never again advances its sovereign interests but instead forever returns to being the US vassal state that it only just recently was.
These grand strategic dynamics prove that the present predicament is truly an existential one whereby Pakistan will either defend its hard-fought independence or revert to becoming the puppet state of a foreign power. The first outcome will increase the chances of prosperity for the greatest share of its people with time while the second will only enrich the elite classes who have a professional interest in serving as America’s compradors over their compatriots. Even if the second worst-case scenario comes to pass, these “useful idiots” will still likely struggle to seize control of their “deep state” from the patriots that are presently employed within it and who will probably resist returning to vassal status.
It’s every Pakistanis’ right to vote for whoever they truly believe is the best person to lead their nuclear-armed country of over 220 million people and ensure its national interests in the very difficult security situation in which it’s been placed since independence, but it’s also their right to be educated about the strategic context in which the upcoming elections will take place so that they can make the most informed decision. There are some folks who’ll never vote for the incumbent for whatever their reasons may be, but those who are on the fence mustn’t be misled by his opponents’ malicious gaslighting into serving as “useful idiots” of the US’ regime change plot.