Former cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party is facing a potential ban by the ruling coalition government, led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), following attacks on military installations. The mainstream parties, including the PML-N, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F), along with the support of the military establishment, are advocating for the ban, accusing the PTI of promoting extremism and violence. The Defense Minister, Khawaja Asif, announced that the matter of banning Khan's party would be presented in Parliament, with coalition partners being consulted.
Founded in 1996, the PTI initially struggled for political recognition, but gained momentum after a massive public rally in 2011. Under Khan's leadership, the PTI launched an anti-corruption campaign and achieved significant success in the 2013 elections, forming a government in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. In 2014, the party staged a prolonged sit-in to protest alleged election rigging. The PTI eventually came to power at the federal level in 2018, with accusations from opposition parties that the military had influenced the election outcome.
However, Khan's relationship with the military deteriorated, leading to his removal as prime minister in 2022. Afterward, he launched an anti-army narrative, which is believed to have triggered the May 9 attacks on military installations. In response, the military cracked down on PTI supporters, and several party leaders have announced their departure. Political analysts suggest that the military establishment is now determined to sideline Khan and his party.
With numerous leaders leaving the PTI and Khan's political future uncertain, analysts predict that the party may become irrelevant in the next elections. It is speculated that the upcoming elections will be contested primarily among friendly parties aligned with the incumbent government.
(With PTI Inputs)