Mobeen A. Chughtai
I’m sure, by now, all of you have seen the events that unfolded between August 14th and August 17th,2014. I’m only going to be focusing on the #PakistanTehreekeInsaaf [#PTI] in this narrative. The Pakistani (ghair)Awami Tehreek [PAT] and the Chaudhary brothers don’t interest me. Neither does the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz [#PMLN] because… well… you can’t and shouldn’t expect anything good from that lot.
Let me begin with a confession.By background and life experiences, #ImranKhan was exactly the kind of man I would have supported, stood behind…perhaps even died for at one point in time. At first glance, an educated man –a student of Aitchison College and a political sciences graduate of Oxford University – Khan certainly had a shining Résumé. A born leader out in the field – the man who won Pakistan accolades and esteem repeatedly during his stint at Cricket. The man had a flair, a class… he was an icon the Pakistani youth was proud to emulate.
His work at establishing the premier and most successful Cancer hospital in Pakistan – the Shaukat Khannum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre – set him apart from all those before him. He was a man who could move people, influence them… he was a man who could put dreams in your head.
It was at this stage in his life that this man started a movement for justice and egalitarianism in Pakistan. He flew solo for many, many years. Soared.
An island of staunch forthrightness in a sea of corruption. Regardless of the fact that he was politically ineffective and irrelevant throughout almost that entire phase of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s existence – it stood for SOMETHING.
He was, without a doubt, the definition of a true Pakistani ‘Hero’. He was my hero.
What was there not to love?
But then things changed. Imran Khan lost the requisite prime trait of any true reformer. Patience.
The strong, reasonable visionary disappeared almost overnight to be replaced with… THIS. A pushy, self-absorbed,hypocritical, power-hungry madman.
I am not interested in, nor will I refer to, Imran Khan’s private life. It is none of my business – nor should it be yours. Each one of us is imperfect; eccentric in our own ways.
But in order to become who Imran Khan has become there needs to be a fundamental, personal paradigm shift. He had to become selfish. He has.
Imran Khan has come a long way since those days. From being the ‘lone ranger’ crusading for justice today he has surrounded himself with the likes of Jahangir Tareen, Shah Mehmood Qureshi,Sheikh Rasheed, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Shirin Mazari etc. The man we see today is so overcome with lust for power that he refers to himself as Prime MinisterImran Khan without a shred of constitutional dignity attached with the act. Without a doubt, birds of a feather really have flocked under the PTI banner.
Look at the sheer disrespect served to PTI followers in Islamabad over the last 3 days. How does a self-professed messiah leave his flock out in the rain (literally) to leave for the comfort of his palace only to come back and add insult to injury by insinuating that he went away for their benefit?
The arrogance and disregard for human suffering behind such a statement is… unbelievable.One of the high points of Imran Khan’s pre-douche-bag phase was how he took a stand against Altaf Hussain and the MQM. This was with the May 2007 carnage in Karachi in the backdrop. No political leader in Pakistan was calling a spade a spade at the time – despite seeing it all on LIVE television… all except this man. Imran Khan called out Altaf Hussain for being the threat that he was, publicly. He threatened Altaf for being a dictator within his own party and a criminal for the atrocities he unleashed. He declared that he would go to the Scotland Yard with evidence…alas, that threat never saw fruition.
Today, Imran acknowledges Altaf as a legitimate politician. More so, Imran has resorted to the sincerest form of flattery: Imitation. Today, Imran has turned into a party-dictator just like. Altaf Hussain, who doesn’t tolerate any disagreement with his opinion. Admittedly there is a difference of degree but give it time. Otherwise, why have all the members of the initial core group of the PTI, who stuck with him through thick and thin, vanished from the list of his current political advisers?
There is so much departure from what was once good and honest about the man that I could go on and on citing references. But in light of what is on television; in light of how the PTI continues to falsify its numbers by labeling 10,000 as 4 million; in light of how PTI’s own supporters are deserting its ranks, I don’t think I need to.
Today, the most important speech of his career was nothing more than slapstick comedy. The demand for civil disobedience – an act that took 12 hours to formulate within the limited confines of Khan sahib’s cranium – is laughable at best. Not paying electricity bills for 2 days?
That is what the ENTIRE PTI could come up with??
How do you NOT pay taxes when they are deducted at source?
How do you shirk paying the GST when it is levied at the time of purchase?
Is Khan asking people to initiate a defacto mass-starvation campaign?
I think there is need to mourn the fall of hope; the fall of a man who could have been ‘it’. There is need to lament for a Hero that continues to fall deeper and deeper into the pit of mediocrity.
How unfortunate that with this #AzadiMarch the spiraling nosedive has passed the point of no-return.
I grieve for this loss. But as a could-have-been supporter of a man who turned out to be the exact opposite of what was expected of him, I will continue to do what I can to dismantle the PTI machine, or what is left of it.