Minus One.

Nearly every civilian prime minister in Pakistan has had to leave office prior to the expiration of his/her stated term. Just as the army's blessings were crucial for the PMs to ascend to the highest civilian office, so too they have had to leave unceremoniously once they fell out with the establishment. The three-year itch is when things have historically gone sour, when the same page begins to rip.

To students of Pakistan's political history, the writing was on the wall. When Bhutto could be sent to the gallows and Nawaz into exile why would it be any different for Imran Khan? But this history was lost on PTI supporters. They believed Imran was exceptional. Until he wasn't.

Yet, as a firm critic of Imran's politics, I must acknowledge that his charisma has proven overbearing. Who would have thought that when he falls out with the establishment, lifelong supporters of the institution would turn against it? That high-ranking retired soldiers would shift allegiances to him and become critics of the very institution they served in and benefited from?

As an objective analyst I must hand it to Imran. This is a tabdeeli (change) that only he has managed. Yet his supporters are not interested in democracy or civilian supreAmacy. They are only convinced that anyone who opposes him is evil (read: corrupt, lifafa, chor, daku) and those who stand by him unquestioningly have seen the light. It doesn't matter if it's Reham Khan or Gen Bajwa; Aleem Khan or Jahangir Tareen. As long as they are tied to Imran Khan they are good people but the minute that link is severed, they become horrible. This is what is meant by 'Imran is our red line'.

They believed Imran was exceptional. Until he wasn't.

His authority must be accepted blindly. With the result that the party that was ostensibly created to counter undemocratic dynasties, has no real party structure and is entirely reliant on one man. That man is undoubtedly very popular and can contest from seven seats and win them all in the by-elections. But that popularity does not hold in the Karachi local government polls, where PTI candidates were lacklustre and the party slumped to third place, behind rivals PPP and JI.

Party stalwarts like Fawad Chaudhry have announced that if elections are held on the seats from which PTI MNAs have resigned, Imran will contest from every constituency. So he will contest from 70 different places? Even if he wins all 70, what will happen when he vacates those seats (for he can...

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