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Imran Khan faces an assassination attempt. Can this become a rallying cry for political unity?

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The chance of political violence has always been there. Like a dark warning. As the country barrels towards a few months away general election, the odds have been rushing in favor of political vigor and violence. But, what may or would happen has been everyone’s guess.

To this day, the country’s public and social spaces have already been rife with blame games and unending exercises toward point scoring. Making things worse, the political environment grew considerably gruesome after the condemnable murder of Arshad Sharif. Yet, the gravity of all this paled before the fateful events that happened on Nov 3: Imran Khan has been severely injured in an alleged attempt to assassinate him. With the killer reportedly being caught by the public and handed over to the police, outwardly it felt that the mystery of the attempt would soon be solved.

As the story unfolded, it turned out there was a lot to process and much to look into: that at least 13 persons are injured and, unfortunately, one dead, that there wasn’t just a bullet shell fired from a pistol but signs of possible shots from an auto weapon and that, though further investigation may ascertain it, there was more than one assassin. Couple this rising complexity with the persistent political polarization, and the result is the spread of more vague alternative theories, larger than mouths to tell them.

That IK and his party’s bigwigs survive the assassination attempt provides comfort. That the attack has been condemned by all prominent personalities across the political aisle makes the heart shed tears of joy. Yet, could this heinous act of attempted murder on the country’s one of the most leading politicians become a rallying cry for politicians to unite together to contain threats and preserve democracy? Feels like a big ask. If the attack on Imran Khan demands anything on the national scale, it’s imperative for the national political leadership to unite and adjust and solve issues according to the rules prescribed under the umbrella of democratic dispensation. Unfortunately, the moment didn’t translate into reinforcing and consolidating national unity.

There’s also a lesson in all this: whatever message is spread and projected on social media platforms doesn’t remain confined to that realm alone. Rather, it has powerful physical bearings on people’s day-to-day life. Therefore, politicians must always consider themselves duty-bound in fostering positive and healthy political gestures of mutual engagement, compromises, and negotiations while disseminating party lines to their followers.

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