Here is a quick comment on Najam Sethi’s editorial on Imran Khan (TFT: “Prince who would be King“):
It is possible to identify four key issues:
- An uncritical recycling of the Gallup poll data: Gallup Pakistan is utterly discredited due to right wing and pro-military establishment biases and interpretations which are its consistent hallmark. A similar decontextualized version of macro-economic data is presented with an implicit aim to discredit the democratic government and the political class. Mr. Sethi refers to “the collective failure of these parties [PPP, PML-N, ANP, MQM, PMLQ] and their leaders to improve the human condition of Pakistanis and then refers to low economic growth, failing education and extraordinary instability and insecurity reported by the Legatum Prosperity Index 2011. Doesn’t Mr. Sethi know that the extraordinary instability and insecurity is an ongoing gift and legacy of the Deep State which in turn has an enduring adverse impact on economy, education and general well being? Is it a coincidence that while while Pakistan is declining on macro-economic and human development indices, its military generals retain their place in the Forbes’s list of world’s most powerful people in 2011. According to the list, Gen Kayani is described as Pakistan’s most powerful person and 34th most power full person of the world. Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha is standing at 56 position on Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s most powerful people. Anyone connecting the dots?
- The author suggests that “18-30 year old” demographic youth (30% of Pak) represents a strong tail-wind for Imran”. This is a sweeping misrepresentation, per se. Pakistan does not start and end at Lahore’s Minar-e-Pakistan.
- Mr. Sethi refers to “the chunk of society that voted General Pervez Musharraf and his PMLQ out of power and compelled the restoration of CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry to office.” Here the author is mixing apples with oranges. Musharraf and PML-Q were voted out of power by the PPP, PML-N and other political parties. Although PML-N had its own stakes in the restoration of some judges (Justice Sharif, Justice Ramday etc), CJP Iftikhar was restored to office by the coordinated efforts of the ISI-PTI-JI trio. These two groups (political parties and apolitical proxies of the establishment) belong to two opposite not same chunk of society.
- Further, the author writes: “the mood in the country is anti-establishment and anti-politician.” The country is always pro-politicians, a fact which the people of Pakistan have consistently demonstrated in various elections by rejecting the pro-establishment parties. This fact, however, is consistently lost on someone who was a caretaker minister in Farooq-ul-Haq’s cabinet.