I often sit and scratch my bald head to see if I’m right or wrong in my longtime opposition to the strange phenomenon known as Imran Khan. The captain’s the heartbeat of millions of the countrymen and to differ with him means inexorably you’re either a thief, or a looter, or then a highwayman. But I take the risk, for to err is human and even if I’m wrong Imran himself has made quite a few mistakes all along. So, mine wouldn’t make much of a difference, unless, of course, some PTI tiger or tigress takes it as a national offence. The reasons why I’m at odds with Imran’s political plan are multifarious. I’ll, therefore, try to be clear, logical, and spontaneous. It’s true that Khan Sahib has won us the 1992 Cricket World Cup and built the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, but, are they sufficient reasons to believe in his personality that’s too much paradoxical? Allow me to run a thorough CT scan of the man and show you how he lacks the leadership talisman. The first and foremost reason is simply this: His acute condescendence and self-righteousness. It’s either my way or the highway of sorts. If you’re a PTI member, you’re a tiger. If you aren’t, you’re a traitor. If a TV network approves your narrative, it’s competitive. If it doesn’t, it’s negative. If an anchor or a journo is on your side, he’s honest and forthright. If he isn’t, he’s lifafa outright. If you win an election, it’s kicking. If you don’t, it’s rigging. If a court decides in your favour, it’s justice. If it doesn’t, it’s prejudice. And so, the list goes on and on and on. So much so that the duplicitous discourse and state of denial has driven the nation into a hotbed of polarization. It has visibly divided the country into two diametrically different camps: One’s mad about Imran; the other calling him a madman. The trajectory the nation has taken thus far is a perfect recipe for a civil war. If this divide isn’t addressed on the war footing, mere chaos, anarchy and bloodshed will be in the offing. God forbid, it happens, but it’s bound to when you turn something purely political into a battle of good versus evil. Add to this the skipper’s retraction from many an earlier statement and you’ll be left with an open mouth in astonishment. Also, have a look at his underhanded tactics, and you’ll have a taste of his theatrics. In fact, the kind of rhetoric and political discourse the skipper regurgitates serve no other purpose but the masses to agitate. I’m not sure if I’d be right in terming him a demagogue, but then I’m also not sure to call his discourse a forward-looking dialogue. Whether it’s dharna one, dharna two or the so-called Panamagate, all his negative politics to me seems nothing more than a mere mirage. A cursory look at the catchwords used by Imran is enough to illustrate his political acumen. The PTI’s all-time favourite slogan ‘Go Nawaz Go’ was an oxymoron to say the least, but there was no one to correct it for them among its many a sympathetic journalist and analyst. It’s a shame that the Oxford graduate himself would also take no notice of it. There’s now no use in rectifying it as Nawaz is gone, but if they ever want to devise another such motto, it should be something like ‘Run Khaqan Run’. Politics in itself is not the dirty game it’s often portrayed to be. It can be a noble cause, provided one keeps one’s eyes wide open and doesn’t stick to extreme narratives creating nothing more than mass hysteria Take also for instance the word tsunami — a highly destructive natural force — or obnoxious words like beghairat, jahil and patwari. As the skipper’s frustration grows, more such words are added to his political lexicon, such as munafiq, besharam, and Firuan. These words are used and abused by Imran ad infinitum, until one really grows tired of them. No wonder then, his followers take his cue and create on social media a great hullabaloo. Is this how it’s supposed to be? Does it become of a true revolutionary? Or he wants to uplift community? Or he who aspires for the ultimate victory? Or he who wants to go down as a messiah in history? Unfortunately, no! This is not the way of true statesmen, but only of tyrants and autocrats. Naturally, it’s something one expects from a person who’s guided by emotionalism, having no solid footing in a profound ideology. That’s one reason why he has no long-term vision, and comes down hard on those who’ve with derision. “I’m telling you. There’s a mafia at the upper level. There is the head-man of the mafia. There are other mafia men working for him. This mafia has looted the country. This mafia has plundered the country.” Okay, Khan Sahib! Relax! Just sit back and relax. We’ve heard these movie lines a thousand times. We know there’s a mafia, right? We even know its name: The Sicilian. So what? All political parties are mafias in one way or the other. In what way yours is different from theirs? How about the Pervez Khattak mafia? Or maybe the KP government is innocent like a new-born baby. Or as compared with the rest of the country the social indicators are far better in KP, right? The fact is Khan Sahib could’ve been another Abdul Sattar Edhi, had he restricted himself to sports and philanthropy. Since, he hasn’t and rather entered into politics, he should’ve the nerve and verve to listen to his critics. Politics in itself is not a dirty game as it’s so often portrayed. It can be a noble cause, provided one follows it with open eyes, and doesn’t stick to extreme narratives that create nothing but only mass hysterias. The examples of M A Jinnah, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Kamal Ataturk, and Mahatir Mohamad are there for him to follow. The writer’s a freelance columnist. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, August 16th 2017.