IF proof were needed of the immense damage Imran Khan has been causing to Pakistan's fragile democracy, one has only to observe the anguish with which his party colleague Javed Hashmi has noted the manner in which he let his followers loose on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's residence in Islamabad. Three people have died and hundreds have been injured as a result of Khan's brashness. Khan now charges Sharif with murder when the fact is that it was he who encouraged his followers to create terror on the streets.
Imran Khan and the cleric Tahirul Qadri have created the perfect conditions for democracy to go through a fresh battering in Pakistan. The army has come to the forefront, suggesting that force must not be used in the current crisis. That in effect is an undermining of the country's elected government. Nothing has been said about the chaos Khan and Qadri, in clear violation of the constitution and the law, have been causing. The future, one could argue, is thus fraught with dire consequences. Sharif is now a much weakened prime minister and Pakistan is haemorrhaging yet once again. The very demand that Sharif resign despite the fair and free elections which brought him to power fifteen months ago is a harkening back to times when politicians unable to win public support have looked to the army to overturn the popular mandate.
It should now be the job of the army to uphold the constitution. A weak and battered democracy is a recipe for danger. And demagogues like Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri can only push Pakistan over the precipice yet once again. The law must deal with these two rabble-rousers firmly and decisively.