The debate | opinion
By bringing the military as an interested party as well as defending an intelligent blockade, Khans COVID-19’s response has consolidated its retention in power.
Earlier last week, Pakistan decided that reopened all educational institutions in stages starting from 15 September. The decision was made a month after the federal government decided to open it public places such as restaurants, gyms and tourist destinations. that the rate of coronavirus infections has not hit fast, even after the resumption of business activities, the Eid-ul-Azha and Muharram processions, is an indication that Pakistan is finally returning to normal. Recent reports and analyzes have described Pakistan as a bright spot for COVID-19, a sharp turn from several months ago, when it feared that countries unable to deal with the crisis would lead to disaster. That Pakistan has turned the tables for several months is a victory for its Prime Minister Imran Khan, whose position has now become stronger than ever.
There are three reasons why Pakistanis fight COVID-19 has turned Khan into a comfortable position in front of his opponents.
First, Pakistan’s COVID-19 response was channeled through a cooperative mechanism between government and the military, something that has led to institutional cohesion and harmony. Civil-military cooperation in fighting the pandemic has been evident through the National Coordination Committee (NCC) and its operational arm, the National Center of Command and Operation (NCOC), which includes both civilian ministers and military leaders. The NCC, headed by the Prime Minister, is the top decision-making body on COVID-19-related issues and includes the military. upper brass in its discussions on future courses of action. The work of the NCOC has also reinforced how effectively civilian and military officials have worked together to unite all efforts and implement the decisions taken by the NCC. The NCOC is headed by the Federal Minister Asad Umar and includes several senior civilian and military officials. Moreover, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by a three-star general in service, has also been in forehead of managing this gigantic crisis.
The model of Pakistani civil-military cooperation has certainly been given, showing that the ties between Khan and the army are strong. It also shows the reports of a potential getaway between the army and Khan were overcrowded. Indeed, experts who were predicting a last-day scenario for Khan talked about internal change and the minus-one formula, both of which would have included him being removed from the prime minister.
However, these possibilities depended on one eventuality: a vague catastrophe, caused by COVID-19 in Pakistan. The armies’ successful working relationship with the Khan government has also deteriorated rumors of a behind-the-scenes deal between the Pakistan-Nawaz Muslim League (PML-N) and the military. The ability of the Khan-led government to manage the pandemic has deprived its opponents of a rally call against it. Recall that there was the President of PML-N, Shahbaz Sharif lit. the government for its complete lack of readiness to deal with COVID-19 related crises. Governments capable of dealing with the pandemic, along with military support, have made it easier for the Pakistani prime minister to address the political landscape.
Second, Pakistan’s COVID-19 countermeasures were in line with Khans ’consistent policy of saving lives and livelihoods. From the outset, Khan, citing Pakistan-specific circumstances, strongly opposed a full-scale blockage. While Khan defended and implemented a targeted blockade in an effort to keep the economy afloat, the Sindh provincial government led by the People’s Party of Pakistan set up a complete blockage in that province. However, results were not encouraging, to say the least. Ultimately, the Sindhi government had to impose one smart jam along the lines that Khan had supported. The intelligent blockade approach showed its positive effects in the provinces ruled by the Khans party. Punjabi is a perfect example. Once a real coronavirus hot spot , the province has been able to avert a major health crisis due to the implementation of a group of smart jams. With the intensity of the crisis significantly fading, Khan continues to highlight how decided he had to stick to his smart blocking policy, despite constant denunciation and resistance.
With the Pakistanis anti-COVID-19 actions and Khans smart blocking policy being praised, the country’s prime minister finds himself in a much better position than he was earlier this year. Optics could not have been better for him. That he did not give in to pressure and remained determined to strike a balance between the economy and public health shows that he boasted of the chances presented against him. Moreover, the fact that a path of intelligent blockade was taken generally justifies Khans’s position on the state of civil-military relations in the country. Recently, he declared aloud that the military supports all the policies of his government. All of this has left little room for the opposition to pose a threat to the Khan government.
Third, the Khans government was given some rest due to encouraging statistics on the state of the economy. Pakistan recently recorded a current account surplus, as he had a mammoth deficit for years. Moreover, the country received record deliveries in July, giving the prime minister an opportunity to announce the good news in tweet. With Pakistan expected to witness GDP growth 1 percent for the current fiscal year, it can be argued that the economy as a whole has not been crippled as a result of the pandemic. Economic recovery is being predicted, as evidenced by wave trends in the stock markets in Pakistan and an increase in business trust The view may not be ideal, but it is not so bad that the opposition resents the government and the latter feels fruitless. Moreover, Pakistan’s exports returned to the pre-COVID-19 market level earlier this year. That the Pakistani government has managed to mitigate the harmful effects of COVID-19 on the economy is a sigh of relief for its prime minister. Greater or more lasting damage to the economy would have provided an ideal opportunity for the opposition to drink Khan.
As Pakistan slowly pulls itself out of the shackles of the COVID-19 pandemic, Khan finds himself sitting in a stronger position at the top. This breathing space can be used to further consolidate his hold of power.
Syed Ali Zia Jaffery is an analyst on strategic issues and foreign policy. He tweets on @ syedalizia1992.
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