Imran Khan is riding the waves because he is talking about change à la Obama. Right now he is being propped up ostensibly by the establishment as an acceptable alternative to Zardari or Nawaz Sharif. Unfortunately he has not come out with any concrete answers or a roadmap for improving the economy, creating quality jobs, global bilateral relations, and good governance. Salman and Abrar can whip up a frenzy at his rallies but the question is, “Where’s the beef?”
Some big names as well as the youth, and what are called “burger families”, have rallied behind him. He terms his various rallies as a Tsunami that is out to wipe away the traditional political environment that is the root cause of the way this nation is being governed. This was the same scenario in 1977 when the Pakistan National Alliance was set up against Z A Bhutto till Gen Zia took over. The “primo” leader of PNA was Air Marshall Asghar Khan who was touted as the next Prime Minister. At that time, the big names in the politics of Pakistan were in PNA but the focus was on Asghar Khan.
Nearly two million people lined up on the streets of Karachi when his procession made its way from the airport to Kakri Ground in Kharadar. I was one of those who participated in the procession till the wee hours of the morning. “Is quom ka Asghar jeetay ga; Mazloom ka Asghar jeetay ga” were the slogans that people vociferously chanted. Come Zia and Asghar went into oblivion. Could the same happen to Imran? One still takes with a pinch of salt why political stalwarts of major parties such as Javed Hashmi, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Jehangir Tareen, Sardar Assef, and Mian Azhar, to name a few, have joined his bandwagon.
The vibrant media where Imran is fortunate to get over exposure may turn out to be his Guardian Angel and enable him to counter any such moves to “push” him into the deep abyss of darkness. That may probably be his salvation. Would there be elections within the next few months? One can rightly be skeptical about the same Tweedledum and Tweedledee getting hold of reins of the government again.
Pakistan needs a non-political technocrat government for three years to once and for all cleaning the malodorous deterioration. This is doable and must be sincerely done. Accountability of the corrupt, whosoever they may be, must be undertaken. How long will Pakistan continue to be hostage to political rogues running the country and deciding on her destiny? Of course Pakistan does not require the Bangladeshi model in toto where ruthless accountability was initiated but then the reins of power were transferred to one of the two Begums and now the same music is being played during the new game of musical chairs.
Meantime, political parties such as MQM, ANP, JUI, and the FATA representatives must get their houses in order and shed their old habits of wrenching maximum benefits for their Parliamentary support as so-called “coalition partners” and in this process becoming cohorts in ultra-violation of the rules and being accused for indulging in corruption, misuse of powers, and ensuring that the malaise continues.
Of course, finally, a message to all democracy lovers in Pakistan. Please ensure that democracy does not take any more revenge on the 180 million denizens as it has done in the last four years. We Pakistanis have had it up to our necks. Please just don’t hide under the shawl of democracy just because you keep promoting that a bad, stinking, juvenile democratic order is better than authoritarian or one-man rule. Yes, you may be right but the bare fact is that the survival of this motherland is at stake, just because democracy has nearly taken its revenge. You all are witness to this happening. Remember, the Fat Lady is about to Sing:
Apnay hont siye hain tum nay, meri zuban ko mat roko
Tum ko agar tofeeq nahi to mujh ko hee sach kehnay do
(The writer is former President, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry)