The shadow prime minister

Daily: Daily Times
Date: 13.04.16

Pakistanis are innovative in their field of interest which currently is politics, after cricket.
While Britain’s Westminster system is ceased at the concept of the shadow cabinet (formed
by the Opposition in the parliament) to have shadow ministers, Pakistanis have introduced
the concept of the shadow prime minister (PM) – though still in an inchoate form – in the
opposition benches. On Sunday evening, Pakistan’s first shadow PM, Imran Khan,
addressed to the nation from his palatial house in Bani Gala, Islamabad. The shadow PM,
who also happens to be the Chairman of the Pakistan Tehrike Insaf (PTI), also imitated
some politicians for comic effect and scoffed at the rich who had languished the poor of the
country.

This development is not without any reason. With the leakage of Panama documents, some
politicians in the opposition benches were under the illusion that the incumbent elected
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would leave the seat vacant for them, despite the fact that his
name was absent in any such leak; nevertheless, the damage to his reputation was done
by the appearance of his picture in the constellation of those the names of whom were
appeared in Panama documents. His picture was included by the Pakistan chapter of the
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for a maximum media hype. This is how
the objectivity of journalism is called into question.

Sunday evening also witnessed Imran Khan claiming the status of the opposition leader to
justify his act of addressing to the nation. With that, the position of the leader of Opposition
in the House, Khursheed Shah, was challenged. Consequently, there are now two
opposition leaders: Khursheed Shah (a de jure opposition leader), who was elected by the
opposition parties in the parliament, and Imran Khan (a de facto opposition leader), who
claims that his party, PTI, secured the second highest votes in 2013 elections. This is how a
noble cause of holding the powerful to accountability is ruined by consigning the cause to
the struggle for fetching the credit and making the opposition divided. The same reason of
solo flight imposed isolation on the PTI during the sit-in days in 2014 and the yearning for
the same reason finally drove a wedge between the leadership of the PTI and that of the
Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) in 2014 (and led to the premature leaving of the PAT from the
sit-in in 2014). Later on, the sit-in got dissolved into embarrassment and the solo flight bit
the dust. Perhaps, the PTI still treasures its flaws.

The address was overstepping the limits of a political leader, even if he were heading a
political party. The address was to show an erroneous way to other politicians to follow; it
was like sowing the wind before reaping the whirlwind. During the address, the enthusiasm
to lap up the chance of toppling the sitting government so overwhelmed Imran Khan once
again that he demanded the resignation of Nawaz Sharif. In this way, Imran Khan again
disrespected the precedence of holding an investigation into the matter over the conclusion
drawn. Nevertheless, in his address to the nation, Imran Khan finally became successful to
regurgitate all those statistics which selectively indicated the failure of the government in
different sectors of life, but in the background of these statistics, the voice of Chaudhry
Ghulam Sarwar (ex-Governor of Punjab) was quite audible.

The address was meticulously planned defending Shaukat Khanum Hospital in the name of
philanthropic work and stirring the religious sentiments of the masses by carefully
mentioning Allama Iqbal, who was introduced as an ideology leader, in partner with Pakistan’
s founding father, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who was relegated to the position of
just a political leader. The slant was noticeable effortlessly. This aspect of the address
gives an idea how, in certain circles influencing Imran Khan, the slogan of ideology is being
played standing on the shoulders of Allama Iqbal, a poet who recited stanzas on several
aspects of life, both social and politics, as per the need of the occasion, to warm the hearts
of the audience. In the 1920s, in the wake of the First World War, in the Northern India,
there were several Indian Muslim personalities who were in race with one another to project
a dream of divided India along religious lines, and Allama Iqbal was just one of them. In this
regard, the significance of Allama Iqbal was that he became the President of the All India
Muslim League (AIML) in 1930 and verbalized his dream of divided India from the platform
of the AIML in December 1930. It was the platform (of the AIML) that made a difference
between one dreamer and another. When Allama Iqbal and other personalities were
precipitating pan-Islamism in India, Jinnah was staying aside, even aloof of politics. Jinnah
never abandoned the legal and constitutional discourse to achieve his objectives. No
dream could create Pakistan if Jinnah’s legal and constitutional mind was not available. No
dreamer was around when Jinnah launched a practical struggle to safeguard the
constitutional rights of the Muslims of India. Hence, Jinnah is the sole and undisputed
founding father of Pakistan. Nevertheless, Pakistan has already honoured Allama Iqbal by
declaring him a national poet.

The would-be shadow deputy PM, Sheikh Rasheed, has also sprung into action and has
become finally able to pronounce correctly the word “morality”. Whereas Sheikh Rasheed is
still pandering to the needs of one TV talk shows gratis after another, his former boss,
General Pervaiz Musharraf has been reportedly paid abroad 300,000 dollars per lecture.
Certainly, the intellect of General Pervaiz Musharraf is priced not in Pakistan but in the
foreign lands. Likewise, about seventy (70) retired generals of Pakistan army are residing
in villas in Richmond Hill, the Greater Toronto Area, which is an affluent town of Canada. It
is yet to be seen when the morality brigade of Pakistan led by Sheikh Rasheed will join
them.

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