File photo of Pakistan PM Imran Khan | Facebook/mranKhanOfficial
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While there’s a lot to worry about what’s happening between Rawalpindi and Banigala in the last one week over the appointment and subsequent (non) notification of the new DG ISI, there are those reiterating that both Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa are on the same page. But well, speculations are just speculations.

Ok, we’ll bite. What was all the heart-to-heart with PM Imran Khan at a recent cabinet meeting, which the government later confirmed? During the meeting, the PM expressed that if the army is a respected institution, so is the prime minister’s office. Surprising, how respect for the PM’s office is only visible today when you sit in it, otherwise, on all occasions while flaunting the ‘umpire ki ungli’, respect never came for the office. That was then, and this is now. But we know ghabrana nahin hai as “everything will be okay”, at least for someone.

Also Read: Pakistan has a grocery list for Taliban – free Kashmir, flag on Lal Quila, maybe even pudina

Imran Khan’s tide of emotional waves

Amid this tide of emotional waves, PM Khan said that he wasn’t a rubber stamp prime minister. A rubber stamp would be the last thing on those innocent minds who interview the PM. The interview template is simple these days: How to control the Taliban; what about United States-Pakistan relations, and what has now become a teasing question, really — US President Joe Biden hasn’t called you since coming to office, when will he?

The reason Biden-not-calling became a teasing question for the world is also to be credited to government officials. They kept repeating: “we are not waiting for Biden’s call,” as some sort of a domestic achievement but cribbing about the US President not calling, internationally. There was also a self-satisfying round of not getting a call because Imran Khan said “absolutely not”, to absolutely nothing. The trend has caught on, and no foreign media interaction has been completed without “Biden-not-calling”.

The answers sound like options in a multiple-choice question, except that there is no MCQ: “Not waiting for a phone call from Biden,” “whenever he has time, he can speak to me. But at the moment he has other priorities,” “he’s a busy man,” and the latest “it’s, you know, up to him, it’s a superpower.” And all this while we thought we were promised that we’ll be the superpower. But you know, such is life. We do believe when the PM says “we haven’t spoken but we are in touch.” This is like you think you’re dating but you are actually just hallucinating.

The visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R Sherman reportedly said POTUS has been busy internally, hence no call as of yet but there will be one soon. The questions on the call are not going away anytime soon. All hopes are now pinned on an ‘influential American-Pakistani’ to arrange a phone call with Biden. We hope it works; otherwise, the Foreign Office will have to rely on TikTokers to get that call through.

Over the years, during Khan’s interviews, he is also without fail asked about his stance on the Uyghur genocide in China. Knowing well how any reaction publicly will irk the Chinese, Imran Khan began with “frankly, I don’t know much about it” in such interactions. But given how foolish that seemed, considering the overwhelming coverage of the issue, the “don’t know much” soon turned to “we talk to the Chinese behind closed doors”, to “we have economic ties with China. They’ve been very good to us in our most difficult times,” to “we actually accept the Chinese version and what they say about their programmes in Xinjiang.” The concentration camps, the enforced sterilisation of Uyghur women, the mass detention and torture coupled with religious and cultural repression, are some of the programmes that are supported by PM Khan. Then he complaints that “selective pronouncements are immoral.” Only if irony had a mirror.

Also Read: Imran Khan is waiting for a call from Joe Biden. The phone still hasn’t rung

Starter pack on India

Then there is the other neighbour and its leader who find mention — the starter pack on India, Kashmir, and India’s Prime Minister is always ready. In his latest interview with the Middle East Eye, he argued how India is influenced by Israel and “should we read anything into it that Narendra Modi visits Israel and then he comes back and clamps down on Kashmir,” referring to 5 August 2019 abrogation of Article 370. Should we then assume that the 2017 visit is the day before 5 August 2019? It must be.

Making up your own history to back your claims is an art not known to all. Like, while talking about the Haqqani network, PM Khan gave them their own Pashtun tribe. Jalaluddin Haqqani would have been elated if he were still alive. His aim for a couple of months has been to introduce the world to the unknown version of the Taliban that only he and his government know. Khan has offended ethnic Pashtuns by saying that they had affinity and sympathy with the Taliban and earlier termed them the most xenophobic group on earth. For someone who proclaims to know the West, India, Uzbekistan more than anyone else, PM Khan is surely foreign to the reality that the Taliban is an anti-Pashtun project.

What we know for sure is that all the problems of the prime minister, and ours today, began with him going to England at the age of 18. The whole package deal with rock and roll, drugs, family system, divorce and whatnot. All were researched by him in those years. It’s futile to wait for him to change, for this will be PM Khan’s legacy even if others tell him to keep quiet and not say unverified things. You’ll see how he is still the butt of memes then.

The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.

(Edited by Srinjoy Dey)

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