By Zafar Siddique
In 2012, when Imran Khan’s political popularity was at its peak, I got a chance to meet him and told him that the youth of Pakistan is overwhelmingly supporting him because they believe that he was the only hope for Pakistan. I told him that a certain segment of the youth believed that what he was offering was simply impossible to implement in its actuality and was highly unrealistic. I told him that we were still going to support him, vote him and were even ready to die for his cause when needed. Nevertheless, I told him that he must keep one thing in mind, his supporters – the youth of Pakistan – were not like the supporters of other parties and they would hold him accountable if he would not deliver up to the expectations which he himself had raised quite high.
Being the voter and supporter of Imran Khan, I feel that he betrayed me. I had not given him vote to destabilize the already vulnerable political situation instead I had given him vote to further strengthen the existing political system. His recent demand for resignation from a sitting Prime Minister will sponsor the political bedlam that will last for a long time which is highly undesirable and something which was not expected of Imran Khan. Imagine, if Imran Khan will be able to force the Prime Minister to abandon his post under the pressure of that PTI is creating then is it possible for next Prime Minister to complete his tenure without such pressure?
Secondly, it was believed that Imran Khan will always give more weightage to the national interest over his own political interest. Conversely, he is doing his recent Long March to safeguard his own political prestige by completely ignoring the harmful consequences of it to the country in the long-run. It was wrongly perceived by the PTI that Imran Khan’s political cachet will be in danger and can be snatched from him by Tahir Ul Qadri if Tahir Ul Qadri gets success in his ‘Inqalab-March’. Actually, both Imran Khan and TUQ were selling the same thing; therefore, they had a natural competition between them. That is why, to neutralize the impact of Tahir Ul Qadri, Imran Khan had planned to go for ‘Azadi-March’ and to make it more revolutionary he had demanded the resignation of elected Prime Minister.
By demanding the resignation of PM, Imran Khan diverted from his original demand of electoral reforms and investigation of corrupt practices that took place during May, 2013 elections. It was a popular demand if this demand were met then it would be a genuine change that can ensure free and fair elections in future. However, it seems like Imran Khan is motivated by the demand of Abdullah Abdullah who rejected the general elections of Afghanistan and called for a comprehensive audit of all casted votes. Imran Khan wants to implement the same in Pakistan by ignoring the fact that the ground realities of Pakistan and Afghanistan are different. Abdullah Abdullah has started his campaign just after elections whereas Imran Khan is doing it after fourteen mouths.
Moreover, PTI’s six sequential demands have contradiction in themselves. If government decides to accept all demands for now then it would be constitutionally impossible to implement all of its demands in the same order. Other political parties like PPP and JI endorse these demands but they also have reservation on the order. Therefore, PTI needs to reshuffle its demands and make a logical order out of it that can lawfully be possible to convert them into reality if it is sincere in resolving current political mystification.
Ideally, it would be better if Imran Khan had taken the opportunity of having government of KP as a pilot project to show the whole nation that what he had said before the elections has implemented. Before elections, he convinced the nation that it is the need of hour that government of Pakistan should impose education emergency in Pakistan. Here question arises, where is that education emergency in KP? He informed the entire nation that all governmental luxury palaces needed to be converted into universities or colleges. Has KP’s CM house been converted into any such institutions? He was a strong supporter of devolution of power. When did local government election take place in KPK? The same elections according to Imran Khan, are the nurseries for producing democrats. He believed that it is highly enviable to provide sport complexes to youth so that it can enhance its physical fitness and later on, can be able to perform well in international sports competitions. For this, he promised to build a ground in every district if he gets the chance to be the PM of Pakistan. Unfortunately, he could not be able to become PM of Pakistan due to alleged huge rigging in May, 2013 elections. Hurrah! Fortunately, his party got chance to create a government in KP. Is there anyone who has seen those sports facilities in every district of KP? These are the few questions out of a long list and I got the answers to all these questions in negative that is why, I am feeling betrayed by Imran Khan.
It does not mean that we – the proud citizens of Pakistan – should lose hope in our beloved country. Instead, we should stop ourselves being exploited by all fake politicians and believe in our own strength. It is really encouraging to interact with the youth of Pakistan because each of them truly wants to do something for the betterment of Pakistan but regretfully, they don’t know what to do. The youth just needs to stand united against all those feudal, businessmen, capitalists, politicians and bureaucrats who have their vested interests and the youth must take the rein of this country in their own hands.
The writer is a political activist and human rights advocate and has graduated from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).