Imran Khan’s tsunami is flooding Pakistan!

By: Agha Haider Raza

Pakistan’s media airwaves have gone haywire over the spectacle that has emerged since renowned journalist, Hamid Mir, was shot at multiple times in Karachi a few weeks ago. In response to the audacious attack, Mir’s employer, GEO News openly hinted that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was responsible for the attempt on Mir’s life.  As expected, the ISI sprung into action; flexing their muscles through the “independent” media and “civil society” by protesting against the allegations leveled by GEO News.  Rather than using the unfortunate attack on Hamid Mir as an opportunity to engage in a frank discussion on the safety of journalists in Pakistan (deemed one of the world’s least safe place for journalists), this incident has opened a debate on the credibility of Pakistan’s first democratic transition and reignited long-standing tensions between the incumbent government and the country’s most powerful institution, the Pakistan Army.  Using the bold attack on Hamid Mir as a springboard, Imran Khan is boycotting GEO News and has resorted to street protests to declare the sham of a democracy we have at present. Khan and his party claim that the general elections of 2013 were stolen from them via alleged rigging committed by the PML-N and GEO News and after exhausting all appropriate avenues have decided to utilize there street power.  This is not the time. What the country really needs are its politicians to embolden and strengthen Pakistan’s fragile Parliament by passing electoral reform and acting on the discrepancies in the last election to avoid repeating similar mistakes in the future.

Despite publically accepting the result of the general elections from his hospital bed in May 2013, forming the state government in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and being members of the National Assembly, PTI has now seemed to have woken up from its proverbial hospital bed and decided to use street power to “establish democracy” in Pakistan. Why now, especially when there is friction between the military and the present government? Al-Gore lost in 2000 against Bush, he went to the courts and accepted an unfavorable verdict decision graciously when Bush was declared victorious.  It’s time Imran Khan follows suit.

Rather than showing solidarity with the people of Pakistan and respecting their mandate, the PTI has decided to further shove the PML-N in a corner.  Yes, PTI has used disclaimers in their narrative that they had not accepted rigging in the elections and they have tried legal avenues, but the question remains – why not use the power and supremacy of the Parliament to address grievances rather than favoring the very forces that have caused nearly 35 years of military dictatorship in Pakistan?

Ironically claimed by all political parties, it is an open secret that rigging was committed in the elections.  But for the sake of sustainability and the strengthening of Pakistan’s weak democratic institutions, the PML-N was able to form the Federal government, while respecting the PPP mandate in Sindh, the PTI mandate in KPK and Baloch Nationalists in Baluchistan.  In order to address all allegations of rigging, all candidates and parties can approach the election tribunals, judicial courts and the Election Commission of Pakistan.

In order to create his political base, Khan shifted right of the political spectrum.  Portraying himself as a conservative politician, Khan’s political playbook had him going for PML-N’s jugular.  He lambasted them for being a “friendly opposition” whenever PML-N and PPP attempted to work in a bipartisan manner while implying that the role of the opposition should be akin to that of the ‘party of no’ on all issues when working with the treasury benches.

Given the global economic meltdown and the economic loss Pakistan has suffered due to terrorism, no one was led to believe that the county’s economic problems would be solved over night with a new party in power. Playing politics, Imran Khan has consistently castigated the PML-N government for not improving the economy, despite macroeconomic indicators, the IMF and World Bank acknowledging PML-Ns positive economic policies.  While many politicians don’t pay heed to their polling numbers, in the latest Gallup poll, Imran Khan is the only national leader to have seen a decline in his approval ratings. Maybe a new narrative is required for the rapidly receding  popularity of PTI?

At a time when civil-military relations are not at an equilibrium, Imran Khan and his party should be standing tall beside the country’s nascent democratic institutions.  There is a time for playing politics, but given the fact that the PML-N is the federal government for the next four years with no midterm elections, PTI must live up to the Naya Pakistan (New Pakistan) they promised rather than dragging the country through the same politicking that has paved the way for military dictatorships.  It is time the PTI and most importantly, Imran Khan get off the media talk shows, respect the mandate of the people of Pakistan and carry out there work as legislators in the legislature for the betterment of Pakistan.

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3 responses to “Imran Khan’s tsunami is flooding Pakistan!

  1. M Uzair Hameed

    May not agree a 100%, very nicely written though!!

  2. well written…but what you refer to in the last para as the “mandate of the people” is exactly what we want to establish through a proper investigation…that has been our demand from day one…recount in 4 constituencies, not to destabilize the govt, but to establish empirically what went wrong, SO that we can work in the “legislature” to ensure it does not ever happen again…as you say above, its an “open secret” that rigging was committed…than how is this the “Mandate” of the people? Why should we accept a “puppet” assembly that works only to further its own business interests at the cost of our country? Why should we even participate in the electoral process as voters and candidates if we can not have faith in the legitimacy of the outcome of the exercise?

    The government, in my view, should not shy away from this demand from PTI for they may have been “selected” by the invisible hands this time around, but the same may go against them the next time around,despite their popularity in the masses…pti is only asking for electoral reforms for the all coming elections and THAT will ensure a democracy we can believe in and accept…IF the govt did that, it would take the air out of this balloon once and for all…

    So it depends on how you look at it…you think PTI by protesting is destabilizing the democratic institutions…another may see this as a move to SAVE the same from becoming UNdemocratic…by resisting the legitimate demand of pti for a recount in 4 constituencies, by its stubbornness, some may say it is actually the PMLN that is destabilizing the democratic institutions, as it has a history of doing in the past…,

  3. I totally disagree with your analysis.The points you make about derailing the democracy by protesting against the rigging is complete nonsense.In my view it is the rigging of the election may put off people to go to vote in an election because rigging of the results seems to be negate their choices.As for IK accepting the result on 12th.does not make it free and fair until all the proofs of rigging were coming forward by the media afterwards.
    As for as the attack on Mr.Hamid Mir is condemned by all the political leadership but the way Jung & Geo Group maligned the DGI. of ISI must also be condemned with full force by the democratic thinking people. Mr. Hamid Mir’s brother should have refrained from alleging the involvement of ISI (without proof) immediately after the attack must also be condemned. The use of his remarks on the GEO TV. makes it odd and shows the owners of the group have their own agenda to blame and weaken the ISI in the eyes of the people. By the way the bunderstani media used it to malign the ISI ( a thorn in their designs against Pakistan) makes a involvement the Jung Group’s involvement in the maligning of Pakistan a fact. Further,the blackmailing and boycotting of IK by geo and propaganda against him lashed out on goe tv. proves how anti Pakistani is group has become after the signing of ‘Aman KI Asaha’ with TOI. By signing this piece of paper for no apparent gains to the peace process but keeping quite about the attacks from the same TOI against Pakistan shows who have gained from this useless agreement. If Jung Groups management is patriotic and love the country,they should tear this useless piece of paper at once and should support the Army and its departments whole heartedly.

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