Pakistan’s Unending Political Crisis

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For the last three years, political instability has been endemic to Pakistan. however, even in that context, the current system appears untenable. As long as the Imran Khan government has the support of the military establishment, rallies, long marches or mass resignations will not bring it down.

However, what is also apparent is that Imran Khan and his government are having a hard time with the simple task of running the country.

As Dawn columnist, Khurram Hussain notes, “Running things has never been easy in the best of circumstances in this country, given the fractured landscape that power has carved for itself. Perhaps what distinguishes one government from the next in our history — beyond the route they have taken to come to power — is how they decide who gets the first, second and third water from the well.”

The compact the Khan government created is tested repeatedly and will once again come again under stress “as the government gears up to undertake another round of economic adjustment under the renewed IMF program.”

As Hussain notes, “Losing the street or the goodwill of allies and backbenchers is one thing, but governments are not on a sound footing in this country if they lose the backing of the billionaires. The forthcoming adjustment is probably the only time I can recall when a sitting government had to undertake such an adjustment twice in a single tenure. Of course, it is not likely to put paid to the government’s term, or shake the resolve of its backers. But it will present the government with a bigger challenge than what politics has been able to serve up till now.”

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