Imran Khan, Pakistan’s petulant ousted leader, is already plotting his return
Last weekend, Pakistanis saw something they never expected to see: their prime minister, Imran Khan, in tears. He was addressing the nation on TV after being sent back to the national assembly by the supreme court to face a vote of confidence that he would go on to lose, to be replaced by Shehbaz Sharif.
In his subsequent 8 April address to the nation, Khan reiterated his claim that it was the US that wanted him out; he asked people if they wanted to be a free nation or American slaves. The US would never do it to India, he said. Here, he welled up, he choked. As a cricketer, Khan was always shy of showing his emotion. Even in moments of glory, he offered half-hearted high fives and reluctant, two-tap hugs. But when he became prime minister he learned to emote. And he became very angry. Approaching 70, he transformed into that angry young man who passionately delivers one contradictory sentence after another.
Why is Khan not blaming the army for his ousting? Behind his petulant facade, there is a pragmatist at work. His party cadres are seething at the army for abandoning them, but Khan himself doesn’t want to burn the bridge that may one day bring him back to office.