As Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan failed to “charm” both US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Pakistan Army is making plans for replacing Imran Khan with Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as the PM of the country, reports Sunday Guardian.
Reportedly, it seems that even China, considered to be an “all-weather ally” of Pakistan, seems to have lost trust in Imran Khan. Imran Khan is also losing support from all sides, which was displayed during the “Azadi March” held from Karachi to Islamabad, demanding his resignation.
On Friday, the so-called “Azadi March“, led by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl’s (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to call for overthrowing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, reached Islamabad from Karachi. Interestingly, the rally was addressed by Pakistan’s Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as well, who termed Imran as a “puppet”.
According to Pakistani media reports, Imran Khan asked in a rally regarding Bhutto joining hands with a right-wing Islamist party. Rehman has been alleging that Imran is a “selected” and not an “elected” PM. According to him, the elections which brought him to power were rigged.
Bhutto’s father, Asif Ali Zardari is also jailed by Imran Khan regime on corruption charges. Bhutto had recently accused Khan of trying to murder his father by not providing healthcare facilities.
It is believed that the kind of response the march is getting would not have been possible without the active support of the Pakistan Army. “We need to remember that the protest march is not only getting the support of the Bhutto’s PPP and Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N, but also a large number of people from across the country,” said a source to Sunday Guardian.
The ongoing “Azadi March” is similar to the “Inqilab March” in 2014, which was spearheaded by Tahir-ul-Qadri Quadri, joined by Imran Khan with his “Azadi March” against the Nawaz Sharif government at that time. The experts believe that Pakistan has come a full circle since then as Nawaz Sharif was at the receiving end during 2014, but this time it is Imran Khan who is facing heat from radical and fringe players.
Former diplomat Kanwal Sibal, responding to the situation said, “Yes, it is an alarming bell. Fazlur Rahman is giving Imran Khan a taste of his own medicine by organising his Azadi March to oust him from power. Imran Khan had used these tactics against the Nawaz Sharif government. The bad blood between the Maulana and Imran Khan rooted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa politics is well-known. Apart from an element of personal vendetta, the Maulana is capitalising on the situation of economic distress in Pakistan.”
Another source to Sunday Guardian said that not only has Imran Khan failed to set the economy right, he has also not been able to sell to the US as well as the other Western countries Pakistan’s fake narrative of the Kashmir issue.
“There is huge resentment against Imran, who has become one of the most unpopular leaders of Pakistan and therefore, Pakistan Army, which had supported him once with great hopes, is feeling let down. His much-hyped visit to the US where he addressed the United Nations meet, turned out to be a total fiasco. He could not convince the global community about his narrative on Kashmir. That is why, it wants to get rid of him and prop up Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in his place,” the source said to the Sunday Guardian.
It is being said that the march could be beginning of the end of the Imran regime. The Pakistan Army has already taken control of the economy. In fact, Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa had called a meeting of the all the top industrialists and business leaders soon after Imran’s return from US visit last month, in which the Prime Minister was absent. According to experts, this was a clear indication that Imran is gradually being sidelined in the complex power set in Pakistan.