Imran Khan; Promises and U-turns

By T.A. Malik
Thursday – August 16, 2018
KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won the general elections, held on July 25, with the slogan of change (tabdeeli) against its political rivals, which the party believes are symbols of the status quo.

PTI claimed to break up the status quo, which according to Imran Khan – party’s supremo – is the root-cause of all evils the country is infested with. He often spoke loud and clear against the traditional politics and lambasted it for all the problems and crises, which the country has been passing through since long.

The mammoth public meeting of party in October 2011 proved to be a turning point in the electoral politics of the party when PTI became a potential challenger to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the political arena.

A critic of traditional politics, however opened the gates of the party to ‘electables’, who flocked to PTI like birds in search of safe sanctuary for survival. The entry of electables in huge number in PTI dented badly the slogan of Khan to get the country rid of traditional politics.

Khan unconvincingly tried to downplay the criticism for allowing electables to enter PTI by justifying that these electables are necessary to win the electoral battle.

This “change of heart” on part of Khan, though damaged PTI’s slogan of ‘change’, it however benefited the party when it bagged majority in the general elections to be able to form the next government in the center.

Now, when Khan is poised to take over the office of Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan, a review of his slogans and promises will be worth discussing.

First, the political parties PTI spoke vehemently against are now their “coalition partners” in the center and Punjab.

The most glaring example is of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), whom Khan subjected to bashing for its involvement in “target killing, terrorism and extortion” in Karachi and in the urban centers of Sindh at large.

He even had pronounced to drag the party in international courts for their criminal records. The same party is now very part of the coalition government led by PTI to be installed very soon.

Though founder of MQM is no more part of today’s MQM, but its local leadership in Karachi was partner in crime when Karachi was put to flames of terrorism and extortion.

All the crimes of MQM are out of sight when their 6 crucial votes are required to elect Khan as the next PM of Pakistan.

The “double standards” of PTI didn’t end with bringing the MQM into its fold despite their criminal record.

Second, the political elements allegedly involved in ‘corruption’ and have been charged by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) are no more “persona non grata” in the eyes of PTI.

A long list of people charged by NAB for committing robbery in national exchequer have joined PTI or its allies.

The famous Chaudhris of Gujrat were dubbed “the biggest dacoits” of Punjab and now the younger cousin Chaudhary Pervez Ellahi is well placed to clinch the slot of Punjab Assembly Speaker after the party entered into alliance with PTI in the center and Punjab.

This was the same Ellahi against whom Khan moved NAB for writing off the loans in 2002.

The blemished past of Ellahi didn’t prove an eyesore for PTI when the need came for soliciting the support of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) for forming the PTI’ Federal and Punjab governments.

A former chairman of Karachi Port Trust (KPT) Javed Hanif was arrested by NAB for misappropriation of public funds and was elected on MQM ticket as Sindh Assembly member.

The accused Hanif was fielded as candidate against PPP’s Agha Siraj Durrani for speakership of the provincial assembly.

The tainted track record didn’t make Khan and his party restless when PTI provincial legislators voted in favour of Hanif without questioning his candidature.

Khan and his party emerged victorious in the last general elections on huge claims and promises that it will turn Pakistan into a corruption-free country.

Being an optimist, I strongly believed what Khan announced and committed.

Actions speak louder than the words. This saying applies to Khan’s promises and what is actually happening on the ground explicitly shows that actions are quite contrary to the words uttered in the past.

The history of this country is full of “broken promises” of political class, which left the people disgusted and disappointed.

Khan infused a ray of hope for cleaning the political dirt and promised a better and prosperous future for this nation. In the case of cleaning the dirt from politics, Khan disappointed the nation by putting the “rotten eggs” in PTI’s basket.

We do hope that on governance front, Khan will not ‘backtrack’ from the promises he made with the nation.

This nation is habitual to broken promises and will tolerate another leader with broken promises, but then Khan will not get a place in history as a man with honouring his promises.

The writer is a political analyst and can be reached at:

Disclaimer: The opinion expressed in this article has nothing to do whatsoever with the agenda, policy, guidelines, opinions, reports and/or views held by the management of The Daily Recorder (TDR - and/or its associated team.