Sudden rise of Pakistan’s cricketer turned politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf has been acknowledged worldwide. Although he himself calls it a tsunami of an awakened youth, many having the political know-how are still divided in their opinion. Some say that it is a continuation of Arab spring, where social and electronic media has made people aware of the wrongdoings of the seasoned politicians and establishment, by virtue of which they have turned to IK’s PTI. Others believe the refusal of mainstream political parties to play in the hands of military establishment to weaken the system has led the establishment to invest on Khan. While Khan remains a throbbing sensation for the youth even at his 60, for a person like me it is still difficult to decide which way to go. The problem is choice. Although Imran Khan is gathering points day by day, it is still not clear whether he is going to be a real agent of change, the one that will really be up to our expectations or not. A struggle between hope and fear is tearing me apart.
Suspicions of being a brainchild of cornered establishment have been raised and not without reason. Imran who failed to establish his party in last sixteen years has suddenly rose to fame, beautifully coinciding with the weakening of the strength of the invisible hands on national politics, allegedly because they ran out of options. On the contrary it is also clear that current is one of the worst times regarding national economics, electricity and energy crises and inflation which has added to people’s frustration, pushing them to look elsewhere. Difficulty is to decide whether crowds are being pulled or pushed towards him.
His party has pulled the largely dejected politicians from the mainstream parties, people who have been known for changing loyalties on the wishes of their godfathers. Yet they are the same people who lost in their negotiations with other parties and had no choice other than to join Imran, either for a future in politics (read Mian Azhar) or to improve their bargaining positions (read Marvi Memon) whether they were told to do so or not. Even some of them might have joined him with the hope to have their feet with those of the elephant.
A great critic has been raised about his allegedly fundamentalist approach and a soft corner for militancy. He can have the same respect for the bad guys as that of Aabpara people which will result in continuation of previous policies and future will not be much different. An important point here is, is it possible to ignore the religious factor when addressing the national politics in this country at this moment? I believe it is not. And the way he refused to comment on Salman Taseer’s killing, stating that he doesn’t want to hurt people’s sentiments, his line becomes clearer here. His stance on the war on terror has been unchanged over the last decade and is a considerably a realistic one when he talks about the collateral damage and rise of Pakistani Taliban. Right or wrong?
Many blame him for his double standards, dictatorial approach within the party, lack of awareness of the political situation, problems with his nomination and ticketing policies and many more faults. They are all potential mistakes which can lead to a disaster if he gets to the hot seat one day, without correcting them. Many of his political plans are too idealistic and far from reality to be implemented across the country. Our politics has a signature of nepotism which we can hardly ignore, and no plan will be viable without a change in brothery oriented people’s attitude. Take for example, his claim to free peasants from patwaris by computerizing the land data. But he forgets that while implementation of stuff like this needs to take on a whole mafia, which will oppose it to limit. Despite good intentions, some nice initiatives of the current and previous regimes have met such fate, which include computerized system for matriculation examination and results, NADRA records and free books for school going children. I, once, came across a private school providing free books to its students from Punjab government by secretly putting their names in a nearby government school, and charging them fees equal to other private schools. On the opposite, we don’t know if the ongoing Noora Kushti between PMLN and PPPP for next five years will bring any improvement? The obvious answer is NO. The politics of family hierarchy will not but strengthen itself, bringing the next generation of Zardaris, Chaudhris and Sharifs into power.
Continuation of a political process is healthiest thing one can imagine. It will lead voters to believe that they can bring a change with their vote. Once the voter has his belief in the system, he will start rejecting people with false promises and a better leadership will emerge. Continuation will lead to economic stability, solutions for the ongoing crises will be sought and implemented and institutions will be strengthened. Sticking to the mainstream parties becomes a definite and healthy choice. But here again, is voting for Imran Khan’s PTI not the continuation of the same political evolution that we think of? Why trying Mr. Clean instead of dirty politicians is a taboo? Should we, at least, try him as an opposition first and see what he is really capable of? I am confused whether by voting IK into power I will be strengthening the hands of those who don’t want democracy to prosper, or not voting for IK will strengthen those who don’t want a prosperous Pakistan at all. The troublesome point is that he may be the cleanest politician in Pakistan, but what if he is playing in the invisible hands unaware?