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Imran Khan and South Asian politics

Published : Tuesday, 31 July, 2018 at 12:00 AM Count : 1019
Akmal Hossain

Imran Khan's political party 'Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf' (PTI) has successfully obtained majority votes in the Pakistan 11th national election. He declared his victory in the press conference. That means, Mr Khan is going to be the next prime minister of Pakistan.

Although, many cricketers, (total fourteen) of this subcontinent have turned themselves into politicians from cricketers. For instances, Sanath Jayasuriya, Mohammad Azharuddin, Arjuna Ranatunga, Kirti Azad and so on. But no one attained a praiseworthy success as like as Imran Khan. He proved himself another winner captain in politics among them.

What made Imran Khan hero? There had many controversial issues about the national election of Pakistan. Among those influences of Army, heavy corruption of Nawaz's family members and popularity of Khan as a cricketer were main issues. Pakistan's army always was the playmaker of Pakistani politics since its independence in 1947. After seventy years, the scenario has not been change. Till now they are the core power in Pakistan politics. They determine Pakistan's foreign policies, security issue and decision-making process of civilian leaders in different ways.

The election has gained huge media attraction compared to any other previous election of Pakistan. Because Pakistan is now a sandwich in terms of politics, economy and especially terrorism in world politics, especially in the south Asian politics.

Terrorism has been humiliating Pakistan every day. It faces, frequent terrorist attacks present Pakistan as a harbour of terrorists worldwide. Even couple of weeks ago of election, one suicide attack killed more than 150 peoples including a political leader who was working for election canvass. And at the day of election, another suicide attack killed about 31 innocent people who came to cast their ballots. Consequences, the world media were waiting that what's happened in Pakistan national election and who will be next vanguard of politically devastated Pakistan.

Opposition parties alleged that, the military manipulated the election in favour of Imran khan. According to New York Times, the most likely beneficiary of the military's manipulation is the party leader, the former cricket star Imran Khan, who has called the Taliban's war against the United States military in Afghanistan justified. He is seen as the military's favored candidate -- a notion he denies. Mr Khan has positioned himself as a fighter against corruption, taking aim at the dynastic politics and nepotism of parties like the PML-N while maintaining a good relationship with the military, which he credits with protecting the country.

Now let me turn into the south Asian politics. Writer B M Jian has coined the present South Asia is a new south Asia. Before nine eleven attacks, the world politics was the USA centric but the post incident politics are multipolar. In addition, the era of globalization has opened up new opportunities and challenges for the south Asian countries due the connection with more and more nations.

The opportunities are to join with global networks of information, commerce, security and curb the terrorism with altogether. In contrast, non-state terrorist actor, Islamic State (IS), for instance, has created a threat for political instability, economic development and security for the entire nations in global politics. Because their economic well-being and political instability increasingly depend on it.

The geo-psychological politics of south Asia are completely different from the other regional politics like as European Union (EU) or Association South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Usually geopolitics and psychology are interconnected with one another intertwined in terms of history, socio cultural structure, psychology and strategic thoughts. 
 
The interstate relationships among the south Asian politics are highly determined by geo-psychological factors. Consequences, the enmities between the nations of south Asia has never ended, especially India and Pakistan. Inasmuch, India and Pakistan are the two major powers in terms of military capability in the south Asia region, for that, without cooperation between them, attainment of peace, security and economic development impossible. Because, many years ago, Pakistan attained parity in terms of military power when it tested its nuclear weapon in 1998.

In south Asian politics, India undoubtedly is the leading power and regional hegemon. After getting independence, India has enabled of its secular and democratic values to keep together the diversified ethnic groups in Indian politics through the federal system. Indian army never intervened in the Indian political, security and other important issues. For this, now India is the biggest democratic country and economically fourth largest economy in the world just after Japan.

If we observe prudently south Asian politics then we will find out the new political dynamics. Before nine eleven incidents, India was the core political power and dominated the other south Asian nations' politics. But now it is just nothing but nightmare for India. For instances, recent Maldives crisis prove Indian weakness to express it power, although previously it was considered that the Maldives was the satellite state of India.

In contrast, Pakistan has increased many folds of its military power with the help of China. After nine eleven some incidents proved that Pakistan attained strategic parity in terms of India. Terrorist attack on the Indian parliament in 2001, for instance, which shocked the foundation of Indian pluralist democratic order. The horrible attack of Taj hotel in Mumbai in 2008 which carried out more than 160 lives, allegedly proved Pakistan's capacity to deniability India. After these both incidents India offered Pakistan to handover the terrorists' personnel to India but Pakistan did not response.

Finally, although Mr Khan in press conference said, he will maintain the good relationship with India. Verily, it is very optimistic message for the cooperative and peaceful south Asia. But whereas Pakistan Army has manipulated Khan's policies and politics, then it is so sceptical that he will be able to do it. Because, Pakistan army relentlessly tried to keep hostilities between India and Pakistan to prove them the true patriotic to its own nation through the fight against India. We have to wait to see what is happening with Imran khan's fate and south Asian politics.

The writer is studying Political Science, University of Dhaka



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