Pakistan is in the grip of a political crisis that is threatening to engulf the whole country with an ever-increasing chaos. The genesis of the crisis goes back to April 2022, when the government of Imran Khan was removed through a vote of no-confidence in the parliament that is widely perceived as highly controversial and engineered. The disparate political parties that until recently had been sworn enemies of one another such as PPP and MQM, and members from Balochistan were cajoled and pressured into patching up a hurried alliance by an all-powerful military establishment to oust the Prime Minister who had become too independent and assertive for its comfort. Not only that, but to add insult to injury the person brought back into power through this shady mechanism was facing corruption charges, and was on bail the very day he was taking the oath for the august office. That was too much to swallow for the people of Pakistan. There was a spontaneous outburst of public anger across the length and breadth of the country, and people came out in droves to protest against this travesty of justice and decent norms of a civilized city. All this lent an aura of illegitimacy to the government from day one. This coupled with the fact that Imran Khan’s party was the single biggest party in the assembly made it eminently clear that the matter should be decided by the people of Pakistan in a fair and free election. There was no other solution to the acute crisis of legitimacy in Pakistan. And this is precisely what Imran Khan and his party demanded. His demand was not only consistent with the norms and practices of parliamentary democracy where a government coming into power through a patchwork of a coalition ousting the biggest party in the house should go back to the electorate- the final arbiters of power- to seek approval, but also dictated by the unique circumstances of the case where a widely held perception regarded establishment’s hidden hand to be behind the whole exercise. This perception was also consistent with the chequered history of regime changes in Pakistan. The fact that Imran Khan’s party was the single biggest party in the assembly made it eminently clear that the matter should be decided by the people of Pakistan in a fair and free election. What was the government’s response to this reasonable demand? Repression and yet more repression. The media was gagged, the journalists and political leaders arrested and tortured and even assassinated as in the case of one of the most prominent Pakistan TV anchors and journalists, Arshad Sharif. This witch-hunting and repression are then combined with judicial fascism to open a spade of spurious cases against Imran Khan to harass and exhaust him. There are almost 146+ cases filed against him to this date and counting. In the face of the mounting public pressure and mass mobilization by Imran Khan, the powers that be decided to resort to the unthinkable: they tried to physically eliminate Imran Khan. By the grace of Allah, he was saved, and Pakistan was saved. Another tactic used by the illegitimate government was to dare Imran Khan to resign from the assemblies of two provinces – Punjab and KPK – where he held majorities if he was sincere in his election demands. Imran Khan after consulting the legal advisers- who rightly opined that the government had no option but to hold elections within 90 days if the assemblies were dissolved- called the government’s bluff and resigned from the assemblies of the two provinces, bringing on the caretaker setup whose only raison d’etre was to fulfil the constitutional requirement of holding elections. Lo and behold! blatantly and shamelessly the government went back on its words and has been dragging its feet on holding elections using one false pretext after the other. Imran Khan had no choice but to recourse to the apex court, the Supreme Court of Pakistan to make the government comply with the constitution. The Supreme Court then ruled that the government must hold elections on May 14. In naked defiance of the ruling of the court, the government has refused to hold elections to this date. Remember that until now, neither Imran Khan nor his party has resorted to any extra-constitutional or illegal measure to press their demands for the elections. Peaceful rallies, and protests, petitions before courts – all granted to and protected as the fundamental rights of the citizen in the constitution – are the modus operandi of Imran Khan’s movement. All this is confronted by the simple “Might is Right” approach by the illegitimate government and its backers. The brazen disregard for the law has gone to the point where Imran Khan was not allowed to file an FIR (First investigation report) for an attempt on his life and named the suspects. Why all this fear of elections? The answer is simple: it is because the cabal of corrupt have been ruling and sucking the blood of Pakistan for the last 75 years would be seriously threatened if Imran Khan gets back into power; riding the wave of public support and anger against the system. They rightly sense it is a tipping point for the Ancient Regime, and they are desperately trying to hold onto their empire of privilege and loot. American and British governments have publicly announced that they want the rule of law in Pakistan. Let me remind them that the constitution is the highest law of the land, and the current Pakistani government is in blatant violation of the constitution by refusing to hold elections as mandated by it. It is black and white not ambiguous who is in the wrong here. We know that the US and Western governments are guided by their geo-political interests rather than higher principles when it comes to foreign policy. Still, we ask them to put their money where their mouth is and act according to the principles they are never tired of pontificating the world about. Minimally, if they have a modicum of decency they should institute measures to stop the flow of looted wealth from Pakistan to their financial institutions and economy, and ideally should return it. Also, politicians like Nawaz Sharif and Altaf Hussain who are convicted criminals and absconders of justice should not be given sanctuaries in Western countries. For poor countries, financial terrorism is no less than violent, extremist terrorism. It is even worse, as it affects generations. So the so-called civilized countries have an obligation to stop this financial terrorism against Pakistan made possible by the alliance of corrupt politicians. The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.