Narrative U-turn.

FORMER prime minister Imran Khan's most recent U-turn must have left even his own party confused. Ever since his ouster from power in April, he had consistently accused the security establishment of having partnered with his rivals to pull off a US-backed conspiracy against his rule. The objective of his anti-establishment stance had all along been to somehow put pressure on the military leadership to give up its so-called 'neutral stand' and help him return to power through early elections. But now, he is ready to dilute his anti-establishment narrative - which has poisoned Pakistan's polity and caused deepening divisions in recent months - to perplexing levels. This was evident on Saturday when the PTI chief argued that 'even if we assume that the establishment wasn't behind the regime change, it could have thwarted it'. A few days earlier, he had told a British newspaper that as far as he was concerned, Washington's (alleged) role - on which rested his entire conspiracy narrative - in his ouster from power was behind him.

One does not know what is actually behind these feelers he has been putting out of late. Does he have reason to be encouraged by the reported back-channel talks led by President Arif Alvi on his behalf with the establishment and the government? Or is his new...

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