What made Imran Khan adopt Sheikh Rasheed — a man he has called ‘sheeda-talli’ in the past, as a major political ally? And why do these two politicians curse Pakistan’s Parliament? When Sufi Muhammad of Tehreek-e-Nifaaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi questioned the legitimacy of the Parliament of Pakistan — the state declared him to be a terrorist. Will the state deal with Khan and Rasheed’s treason the same way? In what capacity can Sheikh Rasheed, a man with only one seat in the National Assembly — incite people to attack people’s private property? The January 17 protest by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) in Lahore marked one of the darkest days in Pakistan’s political history.
The Parliament of Pakistan has bicameral legislature in which the National Assembly serves as the lower house and the Senate as the upper house.
Both houses are responsible for upholding the Constitution of Pakistan and amend it as per the wishes of the people while protecting Islamic Ideology and the basic principles of Quran and Sunnah. This is the reason that Kalma-e-Tayyiba is inscribed on the Parliament building.
Khan would do well to mind his language. His conduct has brought serious shame and humiliation to his party. The ramifications of this are likely to be felt in the upcoming general elections. The PML-N and Nawaz Sharif should learn a lesson here and also refrain from making offensive statements against Pakistan’s national institutions
One cannot deny that there are certain corrupt people in the Parliament — but it gives absolutely no right to anyone to question the most sacred institution of the country. It is very unfortunate that Khan and Rasheed crossed all the red lines while criticizing the incumbent government for its alleged wrong doings. The former being the opposition, reserves every right to criticize the government, nevertheless, cursing and maligning the Parliament using obscene language while encouraging people to engage in violent behaviour — is equivalent to an assault on the state itself.
Khan should not forget that the people of Pakistan and residents of Islamabad in particular, remember how he chanted slogans in favour of Gen. Pervez Musharraf in the unconstitutional referendum of 2002. Nobody has forgotten how Imran Khan used the unfortunate events of May 12, 2007 for a political campaign of his own.
The people are still looking for answers from Khan about his campaign against Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and its leader Altaf Hussain. Khan made huge claims in 2007 and 2008 about bringing down Altaf Hussain and the MQM and he also involved Scotland Yard in the matter. Nonetheless, like many of Imran’s campaigns and endeavours it was more or less a stunt to gain political support.
It is clear that the PTI Chief is engaging in politics of hatred by creating an ‘us versus them’ narrative. This tactic may somehow serve his goal of becoming the Prime Minister of Pakistan but it will weaken the moral, social and political fabric of Pakistani society in the long run.
Meanwhile Khan should be aware that the people of Pakistan remember all of his forgotten promises. They remember his alliance with Nawaz Sharif during the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM). They are also quite pessimistic about him ever delivering on his promise of eradicating corruption and nepotism from the party, especially since he now stands with a number of people who has called corrupt at one time or another.
He would also do well to remember that institutions are important, not individuals. If he does not believe that Parliament is capable of acting on the people’s wishes then why is he a part of such a rotten institution in the first place?
If Khan intends to lead the Pakistani people then he has to change his behaviour and answer these questions. He would also do well to mind his language. His conduct has brought serious shame and humiliation to his party. The ramifications of this are likely to be felt in the upcoming general elections. The PML-N and Nawaz Sharif should learn a lesson here and also refrain from making offensive statements against Pakistan’s national institutions.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in Daily Times, January 23rd 2018.