Imran Khan, in his first speech after his victory in the polls, said that the rule of law, zero tolerance for corruption, rapprochement with neighbours especially Afghanistan and India, and economic prosperity would be the hallmarks of his government. Indeed, it was a great speech and let’s hope that it doesn’t remain confined to mere words. Looking at the 70 years long chequered history of Pakistan, not a single prime minister has been allowed to complete his/her 5 years term. All have been dismissed on one pretext or another. Still democracy faces a bumpy ride; and any government can be toppled at any moment. Now the question arises: would Imran Khan be allowed to complete his term and to pursue the policies he talked about in his first speech? As far as corruption is concerned, it would be a great problem to deal with the ‘turncoats’ who have joined PTI, whose aim is not to eliminate corruption, but to continue with their corrupt ways. No doubt that Imran Khan has a charismatic personality and has mobilized the youth with a renewed hope to make a new, corruption-free Pakistan; yet he is short of the tally of 172 votes in the National Assembly, required for the slot of prime minister. The once disqualified Jahangir Tareen is out to garner the support of the independently elected lawmakers, as well as political parties like MQM-P, PML-Q and even PPP. This I especially surprising considering he once said that he would prefer to sit in the opposition rather than make a coalition with the PPP or the PML-N yet here he is trying to do the same. To clinch a tally of 172 votes in National Assembly, he would have to compromise on his stated stance. There have been attempts from his predecessors in the past to radically change Pakistan, but they all miserably failed when they found themselves surrounded by coterie of same corrupt political elites whom they wanted to replace with clean faces. Hence, Pakistan saw a continuation of the same patronage politics. As Imran declared in his speech that everyone would be treated equally according to the law; the trials of Rao Anwar, who has recently been released on bail in Naqeeb Ullah’s extra-judicial killing case, and Pervez Musharraf, who is an absconder in high treason case of abrogating the country’s constitution, will be a litmus test of Imran khan’s claims about rule of law. Throughout the 70 years history of Pakistan, not a single general has been held accountable for corruption and abuse of power. Taking steps in that direction may prove fatal for Imran Khan, as has been the case with previous prime ministers. It’s not to support Imran Khan’s predecessors, but to remind the wretched masses who have pinned their hopes on Imran Khan. Moreover, Imran khan’s government would receive serious setbacks from quarters who wield real power in the country, whenever he would try to pursue the policy of rapprochement with our belligerent neighbors. Our foreign policy vis-à-vis India, Afghanistan, and the United States of America is deemed by the powers-that-be to be their prerogative. Any serious attempt may create serious hurdles for Imran Khan’s government that would be propped up by co-opting footloose independents and other small political parties. Given the turncoats and other political opportunists who are firm believers in ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune’ may switch their allegiance at any moment when there is an ensuing contention between military establishment and the civilian set-up. In a situation when almost all political parties cry foul on election results and many see the elections as rigged; irrefutable proofs of rigging that are impossible at this moment might come to the fore when needed; and some other cases that might be re-opened at suitable occasions, all combine to render the government weak and servile to the all-powerful extra-political decision making state apparatus. It may also result in his removal from the slot of premiership. Furthermore, the country is facing severe economic crisis. As of July 26, the country had a total of $15.72 billion foreign reserves (State Bank $9.1 billion, Commercial banks over $6 billion). Pakistan’s trade deficit has reached to $37 billion. Pakistan is in dire need of bailout form IMF which would likely impose strict conditions that would reduce economic growth and jobs, and increase inflation. The second option is to take loan from China on higher interest rate which may result in grave situation for Pakistan in case of failure to comply with the conditions imposed by China. This would remain a big problem for Imran Khan to cope with. The once disqualified Jahangir Tareen is out to garner the support of the independently elected lawmakers, as well as political parties like MQM-P, PML-Q and even PPP. This is especially surprising considering he once said that he would prefer to sit in the opposition rather than make a coalition with the PPP or the PML-N If we look at PTI’s performance in KP during its tenure during 2013-2018, it presents a bleak picture where there has been no considerable growth in almost any sector. They trumpeted their lofty claims of change, Naya corruption-free KP, of having built so many universities, and of having introduced police reforms so repeatedly till the people believed them. In reality, there is no such change or development. Pakistan being on grey list, Imran Khan’s new government would have to take meticulous steps otherwise continuation of the present policies may jeopardize Pakistan to be blacklisted. These are the pressing issues that need to be heeded seriously. Given our history, politicians have not been given the liberty to openly express themselves on issues pertaining to security and foreign policy. Imran Khan being new and with lack of experience both gives hope and fears. He, at times, has the benefit of doubt. The writer is a PhD student, at the Department of Chemistry, QAU, Islamabad Published in Daily Times, August 6th 2018.