I was two years old when Pakistan had won the cricket World Cup in 1992. Undoubtedly, Imran Khan was the center of attention for that remarkable triumph and with the passage of time, my devotion for Imran Khan gradually increased. Even when I was a kid, I was enthralled by Kaptaan’s charismatic personality. I wished him to lead our nation in the same way he led our cricket team in the World Cup. By 2012, he had achieved unprecedented fame and popularity in the political circles. I still remember the historic jalsa at Minar-i-Pakistan which attracted massive crowd from all over Pakistan. That was a turning point for his politicking. Subsequently, I had made up my mind to vote for Khan in the May 2013 elections. Being his supporter, I was expecting that he will deliver what he had promised but things went in a different direction. Khan did not only disappoint me but his current performance and attitude forced me to regret why I voted for him and compelled me to join the camp of his critics. However I do understand that one year may be too short to evaluate his performance and intentions. But it is important to highlight the major reasons which are turning a supporter like me into a critic.
Meritocracy versus Elitism
Youth constitutes majority of the country’s population. Arguably, youth is now more interested in politics and politically conscious than ever due to social media and other factors. It was his promises of preferring meritocracy over elitism and nepotism plus providing the youth a platform to do something for the country which brought couch potatoes on the roads with some vague sense of change. However one can see that indeed people like Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Jahangir Tareen, Pervez Khattak, Shireen Mazari are few of the ‘youthful’ prominent members of PTI who are holding all important positions of the party.
It is true that PTI has some parliamentarians who are young but party’s leadership and central command is predominantly still the prerogative of the elite.
Coalition with Jamaat-i-Islami (JI)
Forming coalition in democracy is common and at times crucial. It also paves the way for maximum participation in legislation. As far as Khan’s agenda is concerned, he lucidly used to vow that he will not form coalition with those parties which have played their role in country’s deterioration. JI has always been the leading actor in religiously radicalizing our society and especially under the Zia’s regime it has popularized a violent and strict version of Islam. Khan has always maintained that Pakistan is fighting the US’s war in Afghanistan. However in the late 1970s, interestingly, JI, PTI’s current coalition partner, was one of the key proponents of Afghan War which was also led by the US with support from Saudi Arabia and Israel. Moreover he remained silent when former JI chief Munawer Hasan called Hakeemullah Mehsud, murderer of thousands of people, a martyr while our soldiers who give their lives for our motherland, are not martyrs.
From Imran Khan to Taliban Khan
Over 50,000 people have lost their lives in this ongoing war. Ruthless Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) has launched enormous attacks throughout our country and took responsibilities. Rather than taking strict stance against TTP, Khan offered TTP to open an office and called them our brothers. These barbaric lunatics are not our brothers for sure.
A threat to democracy
Theoretically, democracy is all about evolution. If we look at Europe which is home to the world’s most stable, prosperous and successful democracies, we may realize that the democratic evolution in those countries took centuries and resultantly made them great nations and states. Unfortunately here in Pakistan dictatorship has plagued our political history. As a result our institutions remained weak and dismantled. One cannot deny the fact that last general elections were affected by rigging and it has been happening almost in every election due to institutional weaknesses. But sieging the capital and other cities in the name of protests is not the solution. The only solution one can suggest is continuity of democracy which will ultimately strengthen democratic institutions.
Protest is a democratic right of every citizen and nobody can take away the democratic right of any individual but if a protest is meant to derail democracy then it can no more enjoy our blanket support. It is being discussed that these series of protests, starting from 11th May, can have a negative effect on the continuity of the democracy and if it happens, Khan will push this country back to the dark ages i.e. dictatorship.