Pakistan emerged as Islam in 1947. After its establishment, we do not have an administrative structure like India nor a well-equipped state apparatus. At that time we only had one stable institution which was the army. He kept the state strong when it was collapsing because the lack of key leaders in Pakistani politics had suffered unprecedented incidents. Pakistani politics has a history of unpleasant incidents, whether it was the Bhutto mujeeb brawl in 1971 or President Ghulam Ishaq Khan who sacked Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s cabinet in August 1990. Although the military as an institution has crossed its line at various times in history each time it has it is our political parties that invite the military into politics.
Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) emerged in the political arena in 1996. Although Pakistan has a history of long marches in 1980,89,92,93,2017. The PTI is the first party to introduce the sit-in (Dharna) culture into Pakistani politics. It all started in 2014 when the PTI launched its 120-day sit-in in Islamabad. During this sit-in, he demanded the resignation of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and an audit of the 2013 general elections. Throughout this campaign, the media played a key role, especially social media platforms which proved to be a key tool in setting the agenda and building a strong scam narrative during the 2013 general election. praised military leaders on all platforms.
On November 29, 2019, the PTI government extended the tenure of the current Army Chief of Staff through special legislation. On October 17, 2020, speaking at an event, the Head of PTI commended the Pakistan Army and the current COAS for their efforts to pull the country out of the economic crisis and help the government address management issues and planning. In April 2022, when Pakistan’s Democratic Movements tabled a motion of no confidence in the National Assembly, they disqualified Imran Khan as the leader of the state. Since then, the PTI has launched a campaign against the current government, in particular against the state institution. The PTI has also been accused of introducing a sectarianism into Pakistani politics that only one man can deliver. Apart from this man, this country would not survive, this is where the whole agenda of the PTI revolves. He tried to spread this narrative as much as possible through media channels and social media. Social media has proven to be a lethal weapon for this PTI propaganda against state institutions and promoting their agenda that Imran Khan is the only hope for Pakistan. PTI has long carried a history of banned foreign funding.
On November 9, 2022, the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) summoned the head of the PTI in a prohibited foreign funding case. According to authorities’ value of the transaction, more than £0.6 million was recorded in a local bank account. These banned financing cases and Imran Khan’s aggressive narrative against state institutions prove that his political campaign is detrimental to the state. On October 28, 2022, the PTI resumed its march to Islamabad to secure dates for snap elections. Throughout this march, the PTI criticized the state institution and security agencies for their role in political instability and the overthrow of Imran Khan’s government. It was followed by a heavily organized social media campaign slandering institutions and security agencies.
The ultimate agenda of the PTI so far does not appear to be securing an early election date, but slandering security agencies and institutions to become popular among foreign actors. Imran Khan blamed the United States and security institutions for his overthrow of the government during his 2022 Azadi March. But this Imran Khan narrative is also changing over time. The malevolent agenda of Imran Khan and the PTI may make them vulnerable to the foreign agenda, as many foreign actors are very happy with this narrative of Imran Khan against state institutions. This kind of hostile situation was introduced in Pakistan after the Imran Khan container shooting incident on November 3, 2022. After that, the PTI launched an organized campaign against security institutions by calling their personnel by name.
Muhammad Ali Raza is an undergraduate student in peace and conflict studies at the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad and has worked as a research intern in various think tanks like the Pakistan Institute of Conflict Studies and Islamabad Security and Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad. My area of interest is political tolerance and intra-state and ethnic conflict.