A state of anarchy.

WHAT happened in Wazirabad last week was perhaps a story foretold. The gun attack on Imran Khan has pushed the country deeper into anarchy. The would-be assassin may have been arrested but the motive behind the shooting remains shrouded in mystery. The former prime minister has been quick to blame the top government leaders and a senior ISI official for plotting the attack. He has named names.

It may have been a lone-wolf action but the incident has inflamed an already volatile situation. The attack has weaponised the PTI's ongoing 'long march'. By directly implicating a senior intel official in the alleged plot to 'kill him' the former prime minister has taken the battle to GHQ.

It seems to be a well-calculated move to step up the pressure on the security establishment on the eve of a critical transition in the army high command. Imran Khan's letter to the president calling upon him to act against the 'abuse of power and violations of our laws and of the Constitution', and to delineate 'clear operational lines' vis-a-vis the ISPR has accentuated the political divide.

Read: Who will be the next army chief?

Khan has also urged the president to take note of what he describes as 'serious wrongdoings', which were weakening Pakistan's security, and to hold the 'guilty' to account. Clearly, he was referring to elements within the security establishment.

The fear of civil strife looms large with the impending collapse of state institutions.

Khan's appeal to the president for action seemed to have been triggered by last month's unprecedented media briefing by the ISI and ISPR chiefs where the former prime minister was censured for his false foreign conspiracy narrative. The stand-off between the PTI and the security establishment also worsened after the alleged custodial torture of former federal minister Senator Azam Swati. The elderly senator who was arrested by the FIA last month in a case registered against him over a controversial tweet is now out on bail. He has accused two senior intel officials of being involved in the alleged crime.

Meanwhile, the release of an objectionable video featuring him and his wife has caused public outrage across the political divide. The image of the elderly senator breaking down during a press talk has shaken the country. Nothing could be more sinister than this act of videotaping the private life of an honourable member of parliament and releasing it. Predictably, fingers have been pointed at the security...

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