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PTI is finally All out…



Islamabad (Imran Y. CHOUDHRY) :- Former Press Secretary to the President, Former Press Minister to the Embassy of Pakistan to France, Former MD, SRBC Mr. Qamar Bashir analysis :
Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and former Prime Minister of Pakistan, is arrested today(5th August, 2023) by the Islamabad Police allegedly even before Session Court announced its order and declared him guilty of proven charges of misappropriation and unauthorized possession of official gifts received by him from the foreign dignitaries and selling them in the black market on fake and counterfeit receipts, making huge capital gains and not declaring them or their proceeds in his mandatory asset declarations before the Election Commission, National Assembly, and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
Of course, this is not the only charge that has earned him 3 years in prison and disqualified him from contesting the elections for another 5 years, with a fine of Rs. 100,000, he has over 200 more cases registered against him on a host of charges one can think of. These cases are being adjudicated in different courts of law in many parts of the country. This can give nightmares to any one even with the strong nerves to appear in each and every case personally, file defense, produce witnesses and arrange a lawyer in so many cases. Court cases are not the only ones which he had to face, but he had to appear before National Accountability Bureau, Election Commission of Pakistan and before the different JIT’s.
The decision in the ToshaKhana case has just arrived, which most likely will open the flood gates of decisions in other high value cases, and most likely there would be so many convictions against him that he might not see the open sky and sunshine for the rest of his life.
The government, on the back of all the State Power, planned and staged the entire arrest episode in a meticulous, clean and professional manner without leaving anything to chance. They first removed all the possible hurdles and impediments which could cause any protest and street reaction.
The government used the deplorable and abhorrent act of May 9 in the most intelligent manner. The print and election media advertising campaigns were launched, which were full of patriotism, love for the armed forces and respect and dignity of the Shaheeds. The burned down building of Jinnah House and various gruesome images of the it being torched by the charged protestors with a commentary charged with emotions forceful denouncing all those who masterminded, abetted, aided, participated or sympathized with the Chairman or PTI were aired through all TV channels and Radio and FM stations, with an hidden and concealed threats, that if they resort to the same protests on the second arrest of the Chairman, they will receive much bigger punishment, which they had been subjected to after the May 9, mayhem. These continuous and persistent messages worked like an elixir to wean off the support for PTI chairman in the general masses.
The second critical component of the government’s approach was media manipulation through a carrot and stick policy. Despite the absence of any written order from PEMRA, freedom of speech and press guaranteed under Section 19 of the Constitution, and repeated statements by the information Minister that no such orders had been issued by the government, the media was unofficially ordered not to even use the name of PTI chairman in their programmes. But, off the record, the media was skillfully handled by opening up the flow of costly advertising campaigns combined with informal intimidation that none of the TV networks, even vloggers and you tubers located in Pakistan, dared to pronounce the PTI chairman’s name. They willingly observed a total prohibition on the PTI chairman’s utterances, boycotted his press conferences, blacked out his public appearances, and converted a media favourite into a media pariah. As a result, all TV networks became monotonous and began harping on the government’s tune with no dissenting voices. The outcome was as expected. People saw that they weren’t seeing the chairman as often on TV as they used to and realised that his time in politics may be coming to an end.
The government’s next critical target was the Supreme Court, which, according to statements and tirades of politicians and some ardent followers, was friendly and supportive of the PTI Chairman. The administration attacked the courts in four ways. First, allegations of corruption were levelled against past and present judges, putting them on the defensive. Second, a schism developed among the Supreme Court’s justices. The division became so acrimonious that judges publicly accused one another of breaking the law, disregarding the constitution, and being biassed, giving the government and parliament the opportunity to attack the judiciary and accuse them of deciding cases based on personal whim and liking rather than merit. A fourth assault was conducted when Maryam Nawaz led the PDM’s large gathering in front of the Supreme Court, when the chief justice was warned to quit and return home. These assaults were tremendously effective in taming the combative judiciary and making it submissive to the government, as seen by their future acts, inactions, and judgements.
The government was successful in dismantling the PTI from within. The PTI, which the chairman said was the sole national-level party, has been reduced to ashes. First, IPP was formed from the PTI, which was a minor party at the time of its inception but grew to become larger than the PTI itself. The PTI’s heartland, PK province, was secured. Mr. Pervez Khattak and Mehmood Khan, two of his closest cronies, formed another party by absorbing practically the whole PTI MNA and PMAs, leaving the PTI high and dry in PK province, and effectively halted any impending public response to the PTI chairman’s second detention.
The government meticulously planned and seamlessly excited its next strategy which was to take care of those leaders of PTI who did not join the IPP or PTI-P. Government in one pretext or the other arrested almost the entire non compliant PTI leadership and put them behind bars before the second time arrest of the chairman. Those who could not be arrested went into hiding and were neutralized for all practical purposes.
The next part of the strategy was to teach a good lesson to the PTI supporters who took part in 9th May Mayhem. Thousands of workers were arrest after being indentified through their pictures and videos. They were put behind bars and allegedly tortured. They and their families were forced to denounce the May 9 incident and condemn the act and its perpetrators which they did in so many words. Their recordings were widely circulated in the media which successfully created negative sentiments among the public against the PTI Chairman. The public also learned albeit bitterly, a good lesson which was, if they, or their children, family members or relatives will repeat the same mistake after the second time arrest of the PTI chairman, they would know what consequence they are going to face.
Taking the lead and learning from the prior experience, the authorities totally surrounded Zaman Park. Picket lines were set up everywhere, and all visitors were barred. This stopped PTI supporters and workers from reaching the Chairman’s house and averting any potential reaction to a second arrest.
After putting everything in place, manipulating the media and the courts, dismantling PTI, eroding popular support, sending the leadership into hiding, and fully disarming the Chairman, it was now time for his arrest.
The court’s judgment was well timed and coordinated with the police. The Chairman was reportedly detained by police before the court’s ruling was announced. He was taken to the airport to be transported to Islamabad by special plane, but due to bad weather conditions, they used a motorway to take him there, but Islamabad was not his final destination because there were still pockets of supporters who could have staged a protest. Furthermore, Chairman’s closeness to two major centers, Islamabad and Pindi, was possibly unwise.
As a result, he was hauled away to Attack Fort, Pakistan’s most renowned yet safe and guarded jail. We visited Attack fort during one of our professional trainings and were surprised by its architecture, the curvy and narrow entrance with sky touching strong and thick walls, the smelly prison cells with small and narrow ventilators, so small that not even sun rays could dare to enter the cells. There, we learnt that the Mughal ruler Akbar built this fort in the 16th century. It proudly housed Mirza Ghalib, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar, and Bhagat Singh as prisoners before partition. During the war on terror, it housed Taliban and al-Qaeda militants, as well as Swat Valley captives. It has housed high-profile convicts such as Mumtaz Qadri, Salman Taseer’s murderer, Ajmal Kasab, the perpetrator of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and Masood Azhar, the head of Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Above all, it has the distinction of hosting two former Prime Ministers, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, and now it has added another feather to its crown by hosting Pakistan’s third former Prime Minister. I believe Pakistan’s fourth Prime Minister may visit this fort while still in power and prepare a good cell for himself in case….

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