Burnt bridges.

IT has often been said that in order to rule Pakistan, one needs Allah, America and the army on your side. While it is impossible for mere mortals like myself to gauge whose side Allah is on, Imran Khan seems to have rubbed both the army and America the wrong way.

In a historic first, both the US State DepartAment and the White House publicly refuted claims made by an ex-prime minister of PakAistan, calling allegations of US involvement in deposing Imran Khan absolutely false.

Equally unprecedented, the DG ISI and DG ISPR felt the need to jointly hold a press conference rebutting Imran Khan's narrative on not just the alleged cipher, but also several other points of contention.

For his part, Mr Khan, in his characteristic style, continued to excite his base, with name-calling of not just civilian political opponents but also men in uniform. When interviewed by Pakistani journalists, he reminisced fondly about his relationship with Donald Trump, who, he claimed, honoured him and hence they got along very well.

Does the US feel the same way as the ex PM?

Despite pretending to be concerned about Islamophobia, neither Imran Khan nor the majority of PTI supporters have any qualms about expressing a preference for Islamophobic Trump over Joe Biden, whom they resent for never establishing contact with Imran Khan.

Mr Khan and his supporters were banking on a 'red wave' to counter Biden and eagerly looking forward to a return of Donald Trump in 2024. But that's not the result the US midterm elections yielded. Despite inflation, the Democrats managed to take control of the Senate and with key backers, like Rupert Murdoch, pulling the plug on Trump, it seems entirely possible that Trump won't even be the Republican presidential nominee for 2024.

Read: Imran and America

Hence, a strategy reset was needed. Enter the Financial Times interview, in which Mr Khan conveniently U-turned on the cipher narrative, as he is wont to do, and said that he wanted good relations with the United States and that the alleged conspiracy was 'over and behind [him]'.

The question, however, is: does the US feel the same way? Relationships are built on trust, and it is unlikely that the United States would trust Imran Khan. In his zeal to build a popular narrative, he not only disregarded the truth but also burnt bridges with those who matter, both domestically and internationally.

In the same FT interview, he describes Pakistan's relationship with the US as that of a...

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