The PTI in agitation mode

Daily: Daily Times
Date: 04.06.14

When someone asked Javid Iqbal, a famous cartoonist, how so many ideas crossed his
mind to be translated into comic figures, he replied that the ideas were ubiquitous because
this country was inflicted with a number of issues ranging from a fragile sewerage and
sanitation system, overcrowded buses and wagons plied in cities, manholes without covers,
the traffic police taking bribes, daylight bank robberies, rising inflation, overpopulation to
increasing unemployment. There is no dearth of issues. Anyone can select an issue of
choice and make one’s voice heard. Forthcoming are another two occasions to agitate on.
The first is in reaction to the president’s address to the joint session of parliament
notwithstanding the contents of the address and the second will be in reaction to the
budget speech notwithstanding the contents of the speech. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf
(PTI) is not a party that can let these opportunities go unused.

The ruling government of the PML-N committed a strategic blunder by making Sardar Ayaz
Sadiq — who defeated Imran Khan of the PTI in the general elections in Lahore — the
Speaker of the National Assembly (NA). Khan is intolerant of defeat, especially when the
winner is sitting in front of him and bossing things around. Can the PML-N replace Sadiq
with a substitute to produce a mitigating effect? Politics is a dirty game, especially when one
is egotistical. Can Khan drop his ego? If politics were a game of cricket and if in this game
only eleven players were to be managed, what else would be required? If a successful
cricket captain can become a successful politician or a prime minister, what else could be
required? Instead of local governments and provincial assemblies, cricketing clubs and
academies would be churning out politicians. Khan has always been found stressing on
club cricket to produce cricketers who could rise up to the district and then national level. In
politics, he does not apply the same principle to himself. Did he contest a local body
election first and then did he proceed on to a provincial assembly before landing in the NA?
As the foundation lessons of cricket are learnt at the club level, the foundation lessons of
politics are learnt at the tehsil or municipality level. He himself says that the mistakes of a
cricketer not checked at the club level stick to the cricketer for the rest of his life. The
mistakes of a politician not checked at the tehsil (sub-district) level also adhere to the
politician for the rest of his life.

Some say Khan is desperate and some say Khan is enthusiastic about disrupting the
system. Khan’s struggle for ‘unintended consequences’ is obvious. To achieve his
objective, he is ready to join hands with anyone, even with the Chaudhrys of Gujrat who
have lost their political future in Pakistan, and with Dr Tahirul Qadri who has absolutely no
political future in Pakistan. The Chaudhrys are ready to resurrect their political future under
the umbrella of another General Pervez Musharraf. They are not in search of any Khan or
Qadri but another chief of army staff. Qadri cannot cross the boundaries despised by the
country of his current nationality. His part time revolution will always stay short of those
limits. Qadri has an ability to initiate a spectacular sit-in and then to call it off with the same
exuberance. Khan is still banking on Qadri’s first ability and overlooks the significance of his
second ability. The Chaudhrys have still not accepted the reality that they could be booted
out by the voters in the general elections of 2008 and 2013. Qadri is also not coming to
terms with the reality that in the presence of a viable democratic system, there is no place
for any revolution.

One thing is obvious: Khan is not ready to wait for the next general elections. He is ready to
run after any illusion promising him a short cut to the corridors of power. Khan’s current
bent of mind shows that, if a martial law is introduced, he will take part. Khan has already
prepared his mind for that and has done the spade work for another military intervention.
He has levelled allegations of electoral rigging at the former chief justice of Pakistan
publicly and he has levelled allegations of electoral bias at Pakistan’s biggest media group.
In this way, he has done his job of maligning both the judiciary and the media, which could
resist another abrogation of the constitution. It was the same chief justice whose rallies the
PTI attended when it sought popularity. By the way, what about those elections the PTI lost
completely and what about those elections in which only Khan won? Can someone show
Khan the healthier path of political relevance? Soon Khan will realise that Shireen Mazari
and Sheikh Rasheed are the bane of his political career.

The PTI has all rights to position itself as a strong opposition but there is a way to do that.
Currently, the PTI is trying to perform like an opposition bigger than its political size. There
should be no power outages in the country, but can the PTI produce electricity if it is given
political authority is a million dollar question. Can the PTI outperform the PML-N in this
regard? What about the promise of the PTI to make Khyber Pakhtunkhawa free of load
shedding? Has it constructed electricity generating projects there to challenge the central
government at the national level? The answer is in the negative. It is now apparent that the
PTI has failed to learn how to do constructive politics and make constructive criticism. The
predicament attached to the fate of this country is that the sitting government is pressurised
unjustly to take such measures as fall under the category of ad hoc and not permanent. If
the PTI could appreciate the PML-N on its measures taken to reduce the electricity
outages, it would be a great service to this country.

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