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Its political crisis far from over, Pakistan faces a difficult future

Nargis Babar/YJI

STOCKHOLM – Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan put the spotlight on the nation in the last two weeks with his bid to dissolve the National Assembly, all in the hope of blocking a no-confidence vote seeing his removal.

But lawmakers resisted the move and Khan’s plan failed.

Khan claims that Sunday’s no-confidence vote and his ouster was part of an illegitimate grand plot by the United States to overthrow him.

Though Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled against Khan, the country’s larger political crisis sees no end in sight. 

Imran Khan’s official Twitter photo

Pakistan faces – and will continue to face – the consequences of a government which has been unstable since its inception.

Interestingly, media sources such as The New York Times consider Pakistan to have its democracy under threat as a result of the Khan’s latest actions.

But was Pakistan a democracy to begin with? Perhaps only in name.

After the nation’s independence from Great Britain in 1947, the newly forged state of Pakistan faced not only the possibility of a brighter future, but also one of intense instability.

Like so many former colonies, while some development in education and infrastructure had occurred, the country was bound for rough waters as it navigated the establishment of an independent national identity.

Since the nation gained independence, not one prime minister has completed a full term. The instability has major implications on regular people. 

In the past 75 years, Pakistanis bore witness to a system of two steps back for every one step forward.

The first female prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, came to office in 1988 and offered a glimmer of hope for women’s equality. But even still, girls outside wealthy families are denied their right to education, autonomy and respect.

For years, the government – backed by the nation’s powerful military – absorbed vast sums of national resources, leaving average people impoverished. In so doing, a lack of socio-economic development also stunted national economic development and progressive values. 

Those who have the courage to voice their criticisms of the government are charged with blasphemy and imprisoned.

Worse still, activists such as Karima Baloch have been found dead under suspicious circumstances despite living in exile outside Pakistan.

In this government-created an atmosphere of oppression, citizens cannot question, nor dare to defy, the inequality they face in their country.

Despite an enormous group of people feeling the detrimental effects of a government unwilling to support their needs, they are silenced by cultural stigmas and the more sinister threat of judicial repression.

From an outsider’s point of view, it seems Pakistan averted a descent into dictatorship with its no-confidence vote to oust Khan.

But considering the decades of corruption and hushed-up political repression, there is clearly a long and bumpy road ahead. 

Nargis Babar is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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