Deconstruction of Imran Khan’s speech -by Hafsa Khawaja

PTI’s massive show of support, or ‘Inquilaabi Tsunami’ as Imran Khan would like to term, in Pakistan’s political powerhouse yesterday, reinforced much of what his October 30th Jalsa in the country’s cultural capital had proved.

The cracks that have been struck by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the urban votebanks of other parties at Lahore, reverberated in Karachi too and the party’s intimidating ability to pull throngs of ordinary people onto the ground without any pledge or deal of food and cash in return, has been impressive.

As said before, the mobilization of the middle class, upper middle class and the youth to come out of their comfort zones, drawing rooms and into the field, with sheer zeal and discipline, to take part in the political process of the country is imperative for the democratic structuring of Pakistan thus, for the development and advance of the democratic environment too.

Apart from that, Imran Khan refashioned his standard rhetoric in new words; ideas with neither a roadmap nor a clear policy.

Strutting with the same old practice of relating Pakistan to a cricket field and the rest of the world as a stadium, basing his captaincy as a validation of his claim to be a leader that will lead this country out of this morass of complications and multiple cancers.

Once again, as expected for obvious ‘Established’ reasons, he evaded touching upon the most pressing of issues of Pakistan; the Civil-Military Imbalance, of which many of the problems the state faces today are offshoots including the dangerously threadbare relations that state institutions share i.e: Judiciary, Parliament, Army.

And the tenacious plague of terrorism; both homegrown and foreign-terrorism-home-hosted, that he rather foolishly associates simply to Pakistan taking part in the War on Terror.

While his lack of strategy and plan of action when it comes to serious aspects related to the state of Pakistan and the nation, many of which are concisely listed in the subjects to be discussed at the Pakistan Future Leaders’ Conference in Oxford next year(See event information) is pure political callowness fuelled by sheer idealism – His nebulous stance on sectarian organizations such as SSP and LeJ (who share their patronage with his), Hudood Laws, Blashphemy Law, the massacres in Parachinar, the killings of Shia Hazaras, ‘Strategic Depth’ and the Military being above all Civilian oversight – or silence on these actually resonates with the beat of the Establishment’s drums.

One must commend him for his apology to the Baloch, but as laudable as it has been accepted to be, its been equally disappointing to have seen him verbally sidestep the bloody tsunami that sweeps every Baloch house, every day and those responsible for the kill-and-dump policy.

And to be very fair, one must admit that the times when the Baloch could be pacified and their grievances allayed by favourable economic policies or apologies, has gone. Its been too late concerning them, on too many counts.

Sardar Attaullah Mengal Exclusive Interview on Dawn News – 25th Dec 2011

Also, while PTI’s capacity to pull a huge chunk of people belonging to a a diverse social strata onto the ground is imposing – it seems to be quite manifest that the party thrives on populism and individuals, if not the cult and charisma that stems from Khan Sahab’s cricket days (Along with the genuine desperation of the people for a change, any new face, literally.

At the question of recycling political garbage (Mians, Legharis, Bhinders, Tareens, Qureshis et al) that is responsible for constructing and preserving the very system he hypocritically vociferates to bring down, Khan Sahab himself has created this image and idea of ‘If the Kaptaan is the right man, all others will be rendered right’; dismissing the concept of having a conscience in regard to all the pronounced Lotas and despot-remnants joining his party and completely diminishing the principle of a team and democracy. Individuals outweigh systems and people in autocracies only.

As excellently elucidated by Professor of Politics at New York University, Joshua A. Trucker in his article ‘How much do individuals really matter in politics?’ where he compares the impact of the deaths of Vaclav Havel and Kim Jong-Il on their respective countires:

‘It seems more likely that Kim Jong-il’s death will have a greater immediate impact than that of Vaclav Havel.

However, perhaps the most important difference is the fact that the Czech Republic is an institutionalised democracy while North Korea may be the world’s last totalitarian dictatorship. Therefore, one viable hypothesis would seem to be that there should be less disruption to the Czech Republic’s political trajectory (or any established democracy) due to the death of an important political figure than in a case like North Korea, where power is so centrally wrapped up around one person.

…. the less constrained an autocrat, the larger the causal effect of the individual autocrat on growth in his or her country.’

Devoid of essential political substance, the Karachi Jalsa too, seems to be just rollicking fun.



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