Not a colony but a sovereign nation
To answer why the PTI government of former Prime Minister Imran Khan was removed from office, I would like to climb the academic ladder and go back a bit in the past and talk about theory and history. The system didn’t work, thought Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who wrote the “Social Manifesto” in 1840 and wrote about overthrowing the manipulative system of feudalism in which the owners of production exploited and oppressed the working class. Both writers were socialist reformers and both imagined building upward bridges to end growing inequalities in the system. Almost two centuries earlier, the two anti-capitalist scholars defined history as a dialectical process produced by class struggle. As a student of international relations, when I climb the theoretical steps of the academic staircase, I am reasonably informed that all capitalists present themselves as socialists, but all true socialists are always anti-capitalists. Because capitalism inherits the compulsory exploitation of the working class and when capitalism is concentrated in a few hands, it gives rise to the monopoly of a few; and after that capitalism no longer remains capitalism but transforms into imperialism which functions on the framework of extending the interest of the few at the expense, need and cost of the majority.
All politicians in Pakistan as elsewhere in the world call themselves and declare themselves socialists and make promises after promises to the poor of this country – promises which they have never kept. As a strong nation, Pakistan might be able to bear the burden of Sharif and Zardari, but these capitalist-turned-imperialists have spent far too long in power to figure out how to never let go. To maintain themselves in power, they further create miniature imperialists in every institution and throughout society whose job it is to remain loyal to them before being loyal to the state.
In such a system, creating some kind of abundance for the whole country that everyone could benefit from was never an achievable goal. Over time, these imperialists, including the original version and the miniatures, spread all over the country and became what our biology teacher at school called the blood-sucking organisms called parasites. Parasites can only live on a willing host, and we the people are host to these parasites, because they take anything and everything from us that can fatten them up to have a nice long life while taking us away, to us the poor, even the will to stay alive and survive.
Can the poor survive now that the price of petrol has skyrocketed to Rs233 per litre? With huge sums in their pockets and properties held both at home and abroad, these imperialists are the recipients of super profits and have no idea how an ordinary man suffers. The current disruption and destruction of our political, economic and social capital is the work of those miniature imperialists and imperialists who have ruled us badly for a very long time and whose wealth living on us as host has only grown, double, triple and multiply forever. So theoretically, as long as our local imperialists are here, no socialist or reformist like Imran Khan will be allowed to chart a new course of travel.
This brings me to the second step of the academic staircase – history. Escalating this, of course, is a huge question, but given that I plan to answer the question of why Imran Khan’s government was overthrown. I will only take a small bite of this historical portion of bread relevant to the impeachment of Imran Khan. For this I will have to take the readers to the course of a Cold War 3 (assuming that Cold War 1 was about the USSR-US rivalry and Cold War 2 was about the US-US rivalry and China).
A Cold War 3 overlaps Cold War 2 and although the United States fights it with multiple objectives, its primary political objective is to isolate Russia. Not Ukraine but the whole world is his battlefield. American propagandists create an environment and a global mood in which any country, even if it imagines siding with Russia, will submit to the wrath of the United States. And imagine our former Prime Minister not only negotiating the possibility of buying wheat and oil from Russia at a reduced cost, he was doing it on Russian soil the very day Russia invaded Ukraine.
“Either you can be a colony or you can be sovereign,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said. If we were a ruler, we would never have experienced the regime change that we have experienced. While keeping the honor, dignity and respect of the noble profession with which some of us are associated, can a professor of political science justify regime change to students of any university in Pakistan and how he was executed – and that too to be replaced by a government that has a cabinet full of crooks and criminals?
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the United States has been threatening China, which is a vital partner of Russia, that if it supports Russia, it will lead to a deterioration of relations between the two countries. China has so far not criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In fact, both President Putin and President Xi Jinping are of the view that the global economy has become complicated due to the West’s policy of illegal sanctions and that the global economic slowdown is not only a concern for Russia. and China, but the whole world.
President Joe Biden says all countries that support Russia’s war in Ukraine are on the wrong side of history. The UN General Assembly has so far passed three US-sponsored resolutions on Ukraine. The first in March called on Russia to halt its offensive and withdraw its troops from Ukraine. No less than 141 countries voted for, 5 against and 35 abstained (countries representing more than 50% of the world’s population did not vote for). The second UN resolution in March called for the protection of civilians and humanitarian access to Ukraine. This time, 5 countries voted against and 38 abstained. The third UN resolution in April called for Russia’s suspension from the Human Rights Council. In the assembly of 193 members, 93 voted for and 24 against while 53 abstained.
Clearly, the pattern of voting in the UN General Assembly shows that geoeconomics more than geopolitics drives politics today. Isn’t that what Imran Khan’s government said when it launched its first-ever national security policy? If his economic policy was going well, what was the reason for his withdrawal, except that it was the brainchild of our internal and external imperialists. Our political and economic future is tied to regional powers like China and Russia. History will laugh at us if we continue to attach our national interests to a distant power across the Atlantic and the Pacific.
Finally, bridge the inequality gap by learning socialist theories and ideologies and learn from history by shaking hands with China and Russia, but also keeping the United States as your friend. But please, as President Putin said, “don’t be a colony, be a sovereign nation”.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19e2022.