On October 15, terrorist attacks in southern Balochistan and Waziristan killed 20 Pakistani troops, including an officer. In Waziristan, of the former Tribal Areas, the Pakistani troops were guarding the frontier with Afghanistan.
In Balochistan, a convoy of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) was attacked by terrorists who were killed by the Pakistani security forces. Add to this regular aggression on the western border, and the daily routine of cross-Line of Control (LOC) rocket-fire on the eastern border with India, and you have a pincer of assaults on a state that is currently proving to be politically unstable too.
The following day, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) held its “mammoth” rally in Gujranwala, demanding the removal of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Gujranwala is a stronghold of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), whose leader Nawaz Sharif is in exile in the UK, convicted at home of corruption and money-laundering.
Gujranwala, like most cities in Pakistan, hates PM Khan for the rise in food prices, thanks to the government’s incompetence. The procession of the grand opposition, from Lahore to Gujranwala — led by Sharif’s daughter Maryam — has become popular because of Khan’s incompetence at controlling price rise.
Imran Khan’s popularity has sagged because sugar and wheat shortages brought pressure on a population already haunted by the coronavirus pandemic, floods and locust attacks. His habit of using a language of violence against an opposition, which everybody agrees was most corrupt when in power, has not helped. Yet, the question of rough language will remain at the root of the decline in his popularity.
The political discourse in Pakistan is set low because of the savage vocabulary used against each other by its politicians.