Imran accused of creating wave of public anger that could prove difficult to control

Islamabad, April 18  Many fear that the deep polarisation cultivated by former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan could prove deeply destabilising for the country, pushing it into greater political turmoil that the new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is known more for his skills as an administrator than a charismatic leader, might be unable to contain, The Guardian reported.

In recent days, the inflammatory rallying cry of Khan, who has gone back on the campaign trail with gusto, has been “ghaddari” � traitors � with anyone opposing him, be it his political parties, the media, activists, intellectuals and the judiciary being tarnished as part of a “foreign conspiracy” to oust him.

Pervez Hoodbhoy, an analyst who has extensively written on Khan, called the former PM “a true populist”.

“Khan has polarised Pakistan to an extreme level. The coming days will be chaotic as his insatiable lust for power makes him truly dangerous for this country,” said Hoodbhoy.

Evoking popular anti-western sentiment that he has played on for the past four years in office, Khan has continued to push the narrative that the no-confidence vote which ousted him was a “foreign conspiracy” by the west, citing diplomatic correspondence with the US to prove it.

On the streets of cities and towns across Pakistan, the narrative that Khan was victim of a western conspiracy has been powerful and pervasive, and thousands have continued to come out in protest in support of him, The Guardian reported.

Reema Omer, a lawyer who was victim to a lengthy online trolling campaign by Khan’s supporters, said Khan is creating a wave of public anger that could prove difficult to control.

“This narrative is based on no evidence whatsoever and has repeatedly been debunked. However, Imran Khan is following Goebbels’ playbook, using �convenient lies’ that evoke strong emotions and spew hatred and contempt, not caring about how dangerous the effects can be for the society,” said Omer.

With Khan expected to contest the next general election, which is likely to be called before the end of the year, many are predicting a volatile time ahead for Pakistan.

“I wasn’t dangerous when I was in government. But I will be now,” Khan said on Wednesday while addressing a rally.

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