US conspiracy: closer to truth than theory-- By Mohsin Saleem ullah

The narrative fits. The recent admission of John Bolton — a conservative Republican diplomat and former US National Security Advisor — about the US being directly involved in the engineering of regime change across Latin America and the Middle East has served as the proverbial missing link to PTI’s narrative. After all, if Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq have been admitted targets of the US’s government-overthrowing and leader-ousting schemes, the notion is not far-fetched that a similar play was made in Pakistan as well.

Civil society, however, stood largely fragmented on this accusation. Some accepted the narrative provided to them wholeheartedly while others were dubious about the blame. Now, as both the prosecutor and the defence have agreed upon the engineering of regime change, the truth should become rather clear for people. But there remains one actor who is still not aligned with this narrative — the jury. But who is the jury? Well, it consists of a small, elite, and highly influential segment of Pakistani society — old school politicians, judiciary and some government officials. An old boys’ club one could call it. The jury has chosen to bury their heads in the sand since they perceive that the narrative is somehow a direct threat to the power they have acquired over the years. More than that, it is an admission that these very actors are the ones who have allowed external powers from across our borders to influence and control our society, while those sitting in our highest offices are busy lining their pockets.

While some claimed that the outcome of the no-confidence motion was indeed the will of the people, that the awaam wanted a change in leadership, then PTI’s mammoth victory in the bye-elections is a direct inference that the people of Pakistan fully support Imran Khan. After all, why else would they turn out in such huge numbers to vote for a party that they so eagerly wanted to get rid of 3 months ago?

A valid question here would be: what exactly ignited this foreign conspiracy to play itself out? In truth, it was a long time coming. From Imran Khan’s much-needed aggressive stance of “absolutely not” to the PTI’s “Pakistan first” foreign policy, the quarters in Washington saw their power in the region waning. The last nail in the coffin was Imran Khan’s visit to Russia and the desire to improve relations with the regional superpower. Our neighbour, India, has held a very valid stance that the Russo-Ukrainian war is a European and Western conflict and that it will continue to do what is best for its people. The West should not strong-arm India into compliance.

If one recalls, Imran Khan too had a similar vocal stance about the conflict. But then why has Pakistan only paid the price of resistance and not India? One has only the establishment of the old boys’ club to thank for this. Power-hungry politicians in cahoots with other influential actors were ready to carry out the deed on their master’s behalf. Their lust for power has led Pakistan to such an unstable state that the country is on the brink of default, leading analysts to wonder if Pakistan is headed towards Sri Lanka’s present.

There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel. The sheer number of voters that turned out in rejection of US intervention in Pakistani affairs was a breath of fresh air and a glimmer of hope. If Imran Khan can inculcate in people the same passion during the general elections, then, rest assured, all of Pakistan’s current economic, social and political woes will start to dwindle.

Global political and economic indicators have constantly reflected a poor social, political, and economic situation in Pakistan, but the country’s elites appear to be in denial. Pakistan is on the brink of an economic disaster with hardly $8 billion in foreign exchange reserves; a trade deficit of $50 billion; inflation at 18%, exports of a meagre $32 billion and the dollar reaching nearly 245 along with fuel, gas, electricity, food, and medicines price hikes. The thin line between failing and failed states can be crossed when the elites who wield power are in denial and disregard the crisis faced by the country.

It is worth analysing how Pakistan, which is home to nearly 220 million people, a nuclear state, and holds geo-strategic power transformed into an economically fragile and politically unstable state. Despite facing the trauma of disintegration, five decades ago, Pakistan was able to turn around and re-emerge as a promising country

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