Imran Khan & Destructive Politics

What a shame and disappointment. Once hero of young and educated class, Imran Khan, is acting like loose cannon determined to destroy the same democratic process in which he vested so much-and is opting for mob rule. His speeches are disjointed, ill-thought, full of hot air and self-megalomaniac with repeated references to his heroic days of cricket matches as if it was not cricket but Jang-e-Badar. Many times he sounded like a street bully trying to scare two street smart Sharif brothers. It is tragic that a political party and a leader that would have played a great constructive role for political process and advancement of the country, may meet its own demise by self-inflicted wounds. Although Dr. Tahir-Al Qadiri and his followers showed more discipline but its course of action is also no more than a heavenly inspired political circus. Below are some excerpts from the opinion piece by Zahid Hussain in Dawn.( F. Sheikh)

“If not macabre, at the very least the situation is bizarre. Imran Khan came to storm the citadel of power and destroy the old order, but may have killed his own and his party’s political future in the bargain. He is trying to rock the boat that may sink him too. His call for civil disobedience followed by the decision to resign from the assemblies is a high-stakes game that he may never win.

Imran Khan seems to have boxed himself and his party in a blind alley with no exit. One wonders if there is any logic behind this apparent madness. How can a leader of a major political party be so thoughtless in his decisions — decisions that not only threaten the entire system but also politically isolate him and his party?””

“Over the next five days, it turned into a part-time dharna with the protesters reassembling in the evenings — almost corresponding to prime time TV viewership — to listen to the unending rants of their leaders with the blare of song and music in the background. The atmosphere was more festive than charged with revolutionary zeal.

The disconnect between the leadership and the audience could not be more obvious. While the leaders would return to the comfort of their place of residence after the end of the late-night dharna sessions, those who came from other towns were left to spend nights in the rain. It was a chaotic setting for the struggle that promised to deliver change.”

“A powerful demagogue, Qadri has upstaged Imran Khan with his more radical pitch. He proclaims himself a revolutionary in the “cast of Marx and Lenin with a strong Islamic shade”. His ‘revolutionary manifesto’ presents the outline of a ‘utopia’ where everyone will be equal. In contrast, what has been lost on the kaptan is that politics is not a game of cricket. Not being in electoral politics Qadri has nothing to lose, whatever the outcome of this confrontation.”

A new political alignment is emerging as the threat of the winding up of the system becomes real. All major political parties have closed ranks as the country descends into chaos. Even the Jamaat-i-Islami, the PTI’s only political ally, is not willing to support its decision to quit the assemblies and call for civil disobedience.

The destructive politics of the PTI seems to have given Sharif some space to regain his initiative. The support of parliament still is the biggest strength for the prime minister provided he wakes up from his deep slumber. But it may already be too late. His options are running out as he gets more deeply mired in the turbulent waters. Even support from other political forces is not much of help. The balance of power is already shifted to Rawalpindi.

Once again Pakistani politics has taken a unique twist just when a feeling had crept in of a return to the democratic process. Whatever the outcome of the last episodes of the melodrama, it has broken that slow reassurance amongst most Pakistanis. This confidence, important both for citizens and our image internationally, has been broken by the kaptan leaving deep scars on Pakistan’s already bleeding politics.