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Malik Ayub Sumbal is Senior Broadcaster, Political Commentator, and Media Consultant. Malik has been associated with world-leading media outlets and news channels. He has more than 18 years of experience while working on key editorial positions. Malik was President at the Consortium for Press Freedom (CPF), a leading organization working for the Press Freedom and Free Speech around the world.
Imran Niazi – The Revolutionary or a Fallen Pawn?

Imran Niazi – The Revolutionary or a Fallen Pawn?

Imran Niazi, the former son-in-law of Sir James Michael Goldsmith and former Prime Minister of Pakistan, who is trying to bring about a revolution in Pakistan while his own two sons are being raised in the UK. If Mr. Niazi is to be believed, he is fighting against the corrupt elites of the country who have built vast assets in the western countries and are providing their children a privileged western life that most Pakistanis can only dream of. However, his two sons also study and live in the West.

A story of false promises and claims

Mr. Niazi’s followers see him as the only hope to take this country down the right path. Despite his failure to achieve this, his followers believe that he is a bold leader and the only one who dares to say “Absolutely not” to America. They believe that he is the only person who can take Pakistan to the highest ranking on the global arena. His followers believe that Mr. Niazi could have gotten cheap oil and gas, even wheat, from Russia, except for the scheming Americans who deprived them of this bounty by plotting regime change in the country. Interestingly, Imran Niazi visited Russia only a few days before losing his government, and hadn’t make any prior efforts to chart his so-called ‘independent’ foreign policy throughout his tenure. In fact, his frequent lamentations at not receiving a phone call from Joe Biden became a constant feature of his interviews.

The last straw

To the disappointment of the many stakeholders who had launched him, Imran Niazi badly failed to serve them, and hence was dropped unceremoniously. His recent outbursts might be an attempt at relaunching himself by creating a wave of anti-American sentiment and riding it straight into the PM House. History shows that it is very easy to play the sentiments of the masses by raising the anti-US or anti-West card in Pakistan.

The legacy of Mr. Niazi

Mr. Niazi’s tenure will be remembered for the widespread damage it caused to state institutions and the political culture of Pakistan, despite its short-lived existence. As his chief contribution to Pakistani politics, Imran Niazi has introduced a culture of name-calling and abusive speech against his opponents that his enthusiastic followers have adopted without a moment’s hesitation. There is no question of accepting the other person’s opinion in his political philosophy. This is mainly why he has been termed as a fascist by his rivals. His party and media team resort to an obnoxious and yobbish culture, full of hooliganism, to demoralize journalists and any other voices that contradict the official party line.

His tendency to run into collisions with various state institutions all too frequently is a very dangerous sign for a federal state like Pakistan. Niazi has openly called out the police and other civil officials in his speeches, implying that they are the enemies of the people, and threatening them with dire consequences, all of which has created mistrust between the already ruined institutions and the people they are meant to serve.

Imran Niazi has regularly made contradictory statements and shifted his stance several times before coming to power, during his tenure, and after losing his throne. Sadly, none of his followers are ready to accept this. Their solidarity with Mr. Niazi reflects a celebrity worship syndrome and an obsessive addictive disorder.

An international conspiracy or a political crisis?

Coming to the heart of the matter, is Pakistan right now the target of an international conspiracy, as Mr. Niazi has been claiming repeatedly since his ouster from power? Are hidden actors orchestrating the current political and economic crisis from behind the scenes?

It is an open secret that Pakistan’s legislature, executive, and judiciary have been controlled and arm-twisted with little effort from several western capitals. In fact, some countries have such complete control over Pakistan’s politics as to effect any kind of change in the country to promote their interests. Political trends in the Middle East, in particular, have a direct influence on Pakistani politics. A look back at the political history of Pakistan over the past seven and half decades reveals that it is nothing more than the imposition and execution of one foreign agenda after another.

The religion factor

While the anti-American card is the latest arrow in Mr. Niazi’s quiver, he has traditionally appealed to the religious proclivities of his supporters. Being a conservative society, religious symbolism has a powerful influence on Pakistani politics. Politicians in Pakistan have appealed to religious sentiments to build political capital and carve a niche for themselves on the political landscape. Making religious rhetoric, invoking scripture, amplifying religious/sectarian differences, and organizing huge protests at short notice have been convenient tools in the hands of clever politicians to impress their supporters and intimidate their rivals.

Playing politics in the name of religion is very easy in Pakistan. Chanting slogans steeped in religious sentiment is the easiest way to fool the masses and take the party’s popularity graph to the highest level. The practice can be traced back to the creation of Pakistan. Interestingly, such tactics have been used to deceive and betray the masses by political parties across the religious/political spectrum, but sadly the people have not yet learned from the experience.

Even the military dictators have tried everything from hardline religious fundamentalism to enlightened moderation, to the point of abrogating the Constitution. The courts have been too willing to grant legal protection to such policies by providing legal cover to the dictators’ ambitions of gaining power by hook or by crook.

How will it play out?

Pakistan again finds itself in the throes of a political and economic crisis which could be an effort in setting the stage before bringing out the next line of puppets to the show. The characters might be different this time round but the script will be written by the same masters who have been controlling this country directly and indirectly for the last seventy-five years.

Malik Ayub Sumbal is an Award-Winning journalist, Geopolitical Analyst, Commentator & Moderator. He is the author of his newly published book Tovuz to Karabakh, A Comprehensive Analysis of War in South-Caucasus. He tweet @ayubsumbal