Khan’s destructive politics

Imran Khan’s political blunders have done a great disservice to his political campaign and a great service to his political rival Nawaz Sharif who is now leading the political discourse of the country. Nawaz remains a popular leader despite being ousted by the country’s apex court

After the massive power show of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in Lahore in 2011, the political analysts in the country said the party was an emerging major political force in the country. The party maintained this charisma and ‘winning perception’ up till 2013. Today, in 2018, PTI is a failure and has lost all the support.

Imran Khan’s political blunders have done a great disservice to his political campaign and a great service to his political rival Nawaz Sharif who is now leading the political discourse of the country. Nawaz remains a popular leader despite being ousted by the country’s apex court. The forces that engineered Nawaz’s ouster were wrong in their calculations: Nawaz turned the tables around and instead held a mammoth rally on the motorway in a bid to defy the verdict and show the massive public mandate that he claims to enjoy.

Nawaz has been playing his cards very cleverly ever since he was ousted. His journey from the PM office to his residence in Jati Umrah through a massive rally translated into his new political rebirth.

Up till his removal, Nawaz had remained surrounded by the clouds of mystery. He would seldom visit the parliamentary sessions and was not even available to his MNAs and MPAs, let alone common supporters.

His party members and supporters were always made to feel dejected and disappointed by his attitude and unavailability. Nawaz was losing his political charisma and popularity even among his support base.

But then, came a controversial court verdict that ousted him and proved to be a blessing in disguise and restored his lost connection with his party members and common supporters.

Judicial scrutiny and investigations against Nawaz Sharif and other PML-N leaders have only played out in the former’s favour. On the other hand, sagas of Imran Khan’s romance and rumours of multiple marriages have given a bad impression about his priorities and interests

From August 2017, he has been lucky to have enough time to reorganise and consolidate his party with full swing.

Had he been not removed through what he calls judicial coup, he would have never been able to enjoy the political resuscitation and significance in the 2018’s general election. His disqualification as a PM for the third time has prevented him from fading away from the political scene.

Judicial scrutiny and investigations against Nawaz Sharif and other PML-N leaders have only played out in the former’s favour. On the other hand, sagas of Imran Khan’s romance and rumours of multiple marriages have given a bad impression about his priorities and interests.

In addition to the controversies in his personal life, the incidents of rape in KP proved to be the last nail in his coffin. His province has seen a rapid rise in the incidents of child abuse. Imran Khan did not even utter a one word for the victims or their families. The culprits are still at large and seem to be enjoying provincial government’s patronage.

Though Nawaz Sharif’s performance during his third term as PM cannot be called an ideal one, he was at least successful in the completion of the developmental projects.

Nawaz has not taken any ideal step to improve the issues pertaining to education and health. Even after five years of PML-N’s rule, majority of the teachers and other staff members in the government schools are begging for the payment of their eight-months’ salary.

PTI leaders like Akbar S Babar and Hafeezullah Niazi were right in their assessment that the PML-N’s power show of February 8 in KP would reshape the political landscape of the province.

PTI now stands on the edge of the precipice and can be swept aside any moment. Nobody would be more responsible for PTI’s political death than Imran Khan himself, and to some extent, the opportunists that surround him. Imran does not need any foe to destroy him.  Imran Khan has repeatedly breached the trust of his supporters with whom he made the promises of change and radical reforms. He did so because he thought he is the only option left in the country.

The PML-N’s Peshawar rally was both a vote a confidence for Nawaz Sharif and his defiant politics, and a resounding vote of no-confidence against Imran Khan.

Those who founded and built PTI with their sweat and blood have painfully watched the destruction of PTI over the period of few years. The sincere and hard-working workers of PTI have been repeatedly humiliated and disgraced at the hands of opportunists in the party.

The allocation of ticket for the upcoming Senate elections is yet another example of how PTI sells its soul to the highest bidder.

The silent spectators in the party should also take a partial blame for the party’s destruction. Had they stood courageously to Imran Khan, the party could have been salvaged.

The writer is author of several books, columnist and political analyst based in Islamabad. He can be reached at naveedamankhan@hotmail.com

Published in Daily Times, February 10th 2018.