IK: the initials unbeknown to none. The initials represent the complacent bearing and exuding the confidence of a face that gives permanence to a hope that is nearly extinguished. The hope of Naya Pakistan. The young ambitious PTI activists might run amok if we claim that the tiny flicker of hope is actually diminishing. The reasons for this being none other than Imran Khan’s own bouts of opportunism, each one more potent than the first. Yes, to some extent it is right that politics and opportunism are good companions. But they need to part somewhere; a point IK has brazenly surpassed.
His courage undoubtedly rouses us to a surge of admiration. But with an open invitation to grimaces, it will be okay to claim that PTI’s values are doused and their morals renounced. The party, in a way, has submitted to the whims of Pakistani politics. So, let’s peek into IK’s unbidden spells of opportunism and hypocrisy.
1) Expats Voting Tale
PTI is striving hard to get the expats to excercise their vote in the coming elections and several opposition parties have misgivings about this petition. The founding days of ‘Naya Pakistan’ movement, in 2013, saw immense support from overseas Pakistanis. So, no wonder Khan would want to materialize that support into a greater voter base for PTI. However, the scarcity of time to the election is channeling towards the counter-productivity of this action. It could potentially create confusion in the election process as well, which will be beneficial for no one.
2) Alliance with PAT’s Tahir-ul-Qadri
This union materialized at the recent anti-government protest where PTI supported PAT with glimmering exuberance. And, yes there is another dense silhouette in this anti-government loop; Mr. Zardari. This lethal step was taken by the Chairman Imran Khan in which the party is countering none but itself. You can also see this stance as a continuance of garnering the expat voter base. Tahir-ul-Qadri’s support means greater votes, particularly from Canada, if the motion to allow expats to vote is passed.
3) Bringing in the Khatam-e-Nabuwat Oath
Amidst the brewing storm of Mashal Khan’s case, IK decided to take potshots on the government regarding Khatam-e-Nabuwat case. His stance granted the November 2017 Faizabad sit-in a subtle nod of approval from PTI. This has greatly enhanced the might of religious extremists in the country. The sit-in was nothing less than a mayhem, where twin cities were held hostage and the unfortunate ransom was democracy. Interestingly, Khan had to say the following about the upheaval:
“From the beginning to the end, signs of a deep conspiracy could be seen in the issue. An independent inquiry into the matter is inevitable to show facts to the nation”
It seems through this statement that in the end, it was all about exposing Nawaz Sharif. The attempt to pacify religious forces seems to be a garb to protect his own voting interests. Using such a sensitive issue to rile the masses into revolting against the existing government, is further proof of IK’s rising opportunistic tendencies.
4) Imran Khan taking in rape convict Farooq Bandial in PTI, firing him just hours later.
Hours after hiring Farooq Bandial, PTI fired him saying that the party has no space for people with such a poor track record. Bandial was one of the five accused in the dacoity and rape case of actress Shabnam in 1979. He was handed the death sentence but Zia ul Haq pardoned his crime upon pressure from the accused on Shabnam’s family to forgive the convicts. While PTI was prompt in responding to the social media backlash and getting rid of Bandial, we still have two words to put out there: due diligence.
Did the party fail to carry out a background check entirely? What is the reason behind such haphazard decisions? The hiring and firing of Bandial have everyone confused as to the mode of operation within the party when it comes to fresh recruits.
5) PTI proposes the controversial Orya Maqbool Jan as Punjab caretaker CM.
While the nation was still reeling from the ill thought out decision of hiring Bandial and its aftermath, Imran Khan struck again with his questionable decisions. This time by hiring the controversial columnist Orya Maqbool Jan and proposing his name for the position of caretaker CM Punjab. Jan has been embroiled in controversies specifically related to his downright sexist attitude towards women. Last year, he tried to justify women being raped saying it is their dressing that results in rape. Last month, Pemra was forced to serve a notice to him when he made unacceptable remarks on Meesha Shafi in the wake of the sexual harassment scandal against Ali Zafar. And, in the most disgusting of comments ever, he maintained that Pakistani soldiers raping Indian women were absolutely ethical and justified in their actions. Moreover, Jan also spoke quite offensively about Malala recently.
His nomination spurred an internal split in the party as well, which makes it more confusing why PTI would allow this information to come out entirely. If Khan’s party is so vociferously supporting women’s rights, how they can justify Jan’s nomination is a question on everyone’s minds since the news broke.
In the end, it is, of course, all politics. But, Imran with this unkempt opportunistic attitude and rash decisions of late seem to inflate the number of adversaries he has. But, in the end, it is not about Nawaz, Imran, or Qadri. It is our home we care about; our ally is Pakistan, and whosoever is sincere with it, will win the nation’s unabated support. And hopefully, come 2018 elections, the citizens will see through these instances of opportunism and the hypocrisy within and make more informed choices of who to place in power this time around.
*Authors: Aysha Bilal & Saniya Rashid*
*Feature Image Source: Rava.pk*