It is a high risk to write not in favor of a godot especially when he is seen rising amidst an atmosphere of perpetual gloom in a country that has been inflicted with endless turmoil. The rise of Imran Khan on the political scene of Pakistan must have its impacts, positive and otherwise, but courting too many hopes on him would lead to an utter despair.
In Imran Khan many see a messiah, but for many others – the cynics as they call them – he is no more than the much awaited godot in the famous play ‘Waiting for Godot’ by Samuel Beckett. As in the play the Godot never comes similarly for many of us the hopes associated with Imran Khan will never come true.
No doubt he is now very successful in gathering huge crowds in the big cities. No doubt his motto ‘change’ is fascinating yet the bigger his processions grow, the more absurd, nay tactful, he becomes. Gradually and steadily Imran Khan is turning to be like the rest of our political folk: rhetoric, mimic, absurd, power thirsty, imbecile, self-righteous and charlatan.
He lacks a new political discourse. His favorite words, along with the cricket vocabulary, are the dreaded tsunami, sailaab, toofaan.
A leader is supposed to turn the public opinion, but in Pakistan every leader, including our ‘rising star’, flies where the ‘winds’ take them. Who really formulate [read: manipulate] the ‘public will’ in Pakistan should by now be known to many. True, the American maneuvers in the region have to share the blame but the domestic security apparatus has the greater share of it. The latter has never seemed ready to accommodate the diverse religious and ethnic realities of Pakistan. Obsessed with a centralized homogenous ‘Islamic state’ our powers-that-be have always been in collision with the secular elements while at the same time being in collusion with the Islamist nationalist right.
In 2002 the grand alliance of Mutahida Majlas-e-Amal (MMA) was formed and encouraged in the then NWFP in order to achieve two main objectives: prolong military rule in the country, and to protect the security assets. The result was a country mutilated with suicide bombing and religious fiefdoms in the North West Pakistan.
Imran Khan’s hatred of the West and America, religious rhetoric and the rally of the withered fall leaves behind him should be analyzed in line with the 2002 rise of MMA. Related to it is his role in the issues such as memogate farce against the last government and marches to cripple the current government so that it may not recover and pose a substantial challenge to the ‘rising star’ among rock stars bands.
Once upon a time, but not long ago Imran Khan used to be the ferocious enemy of Musharraf and Altaf Hussian. He was even restrained from visiting Karachi then. But later he was congratulated on holding a grand Jalsa there. He is no more ready to try Musharraf in a court of law and pleasingly dines with the latter’s cousin. He knew the author of the infamous ‘memo’ prior to every politician in Pakistan.
The Khan talks much about ‘change’ and many of the youth are prone to this rhetoric. The questions that bog us down are: first, what kind of change he has to bring to the constitution of Pakistan, which is questionable on many levels with regard to modern, pluralistic standards? His assertion of an Islamic welfare state is attractive, but what model he has in mind to accomplish the task; and what version of Islam he has to insert in his welfare republic? How will his team deal with the education and economic system of Pakistan? Is the same syllabus all over the country a remedy? And how will he design a foreign policy that could ensure a peaceful Pakistan with its eastern and western neighbors? How will he soothe the bleeding Balochistan? Are mere apologies the remedies?
Many will assert these are questions for drawing rooms and Imran Khan is just doing the populist politics. Right. He seems to be in a hurry to reach the prime minister’s house. For that there is a short way, too; to welcome a coup d’état and get selected in an engineered election. Why to fool the public?
Imran Khan’s is an engineered popularity brokered with the powers-that-be. His is not a revolution, but its counter. His rising is an outcome of the May 2 Abottabad debacle. We should be thankful to Bin Laden for blessing our country by finding a peaceful abode and consequently bestowing us with a leader for ‘change’. In the aftermath of the killing of Osama Bin Laden near a military academy tension between the civilian and uniformed states within Pakistan grew tenser. In principle the former should have asked explanation from the latter, but it occurred opposite. A commission was devised to investigate the big task as to whether the USA had violated our sovereignty or not. The commission was berated from finding how Osama Bin Laden had found a haven inside our territory.
But things were not so easy. The educated youth and writers began to raise pertinent questions on the efficacy of our security forces. This needed to reverse.
A political failure was groomed and launched. Certain segments of the mass media were directed to promote the cause. A memo was discovered as a preemptive measure to tackle the shattering government. Significance of national security was made the sole discourse in the country. An afraid and failed government could not deliver and the multiple crises faced by the common man grew. He is made to wait for the godot. But who knows the godot will ever come.
In our culture a groom is usually lifted on the shoulders of his friends. Thus was acclaimed our political groom who was lately lifted on the shoulders by the establishment. To rest hopes on him would be more bitter despair. A theater is set where Estragon and Vladimir are desperately waiting, but the Godot will never come.