NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s capital Islamabad is in lockdown, not due to Covid but to prevent the entry of thousands of supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan. The latter is leading a long march on the city with the aim of forcing a commitment from the government of Shehbaz Sharif of early elections. That has not been forthcoming until now and it looks like Sharif intends to ensure the long march collapses.
In this chat on The Gist from his home in Islamabad, Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, academic and political commentator, looks at the phenomenal popularity of Imran Khan despite his poor record of governance. He argues that Khan has been able to build his constituency through a combination of religosity, support for the Tehreek-e-Taliban despite its violent excesses and anti-Americanism.
Hoodbhoy notes that Khan appears to have support within a section of the army that idolises the late Gen.Hamid Gul, who is credited with beating the Soviets in Afghanistan. But the army brass led by the chief Gen. Bajwa will not deal with him, nor is the army likely to break ranks.
Tune in for more in this conversation with Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy