The educated and privileged youth of the country went to support Imran only because of the promises he made, during his election campaign. But as we reflect on the track record of PTI and Imran Khan we only witness ‘Change’. Not exactly the change which Imran promised to the nation but a change that nobody could have imagined in his worst of nightmares.
Starting from Taliban apology to blocking NATO supplies and then representing TTP unofficially Imran Khan has always let down his followers. That is the basic reason, Imran seems to be losing the fan base that he gathered up in the last five to six years in a matter of months. His supporters and voters seem to be losing hope in him and the youth especially first-time voters have been left in limbo with nowhere else to go.
There was nothing surprising about Imran’s ascent in the political arena. People were tired of the same old faces, the same broken promises and needed a new ideal to latch on to. Consequently, most people followed Imran blindly, without giving any consideration to his political agenda and his views on important national issues. They gave him a ‘prophetical’ status, rallied for him, enrolled in the ‘Tabdeeli Razakar’ program and did what any patriotic Pakistani would have done. However, what the patriots did not realize was that the hype around Imran would soon fizzle out and things would go back to ground zero.
The most recent corruption scandal that has jolted the roots of PTI and placed a big question mark of Imran Khan’s character, is the missing 3 million US$, which were collected in the name of membership fund from the overseas Pakistanis, and no one knows what Imran did with the money. This news could be taken as authentic because the scam is revealed by a founding member of PTI itself, who claims that Imran Khan has misused his powers to such an extent that now he doesn’t have any other option left but to unmask the real Imran Khan.
Perhaps Imran and his supporters need to travel back in time and assess when things started falling apart.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was making waves and both, the young and old were flocking together to join the latest craze that was Imran Khan. He won the hearts of many with his charisma, fiery speeches, promises for a better Pakistan and open challenges to Mian Sahib and Zardari. He ignited political fervor in the rural areas as well as the urban, in the young as well as the old, in the illiterate as well as the educated.
Attending a PTI jalsa became the thing to do and people did only in the hope of seeing a changed Pakistan. PTI supporters wreaked havoc on social media too and a word against Imran would bring a barrage of insults your way. Then came May 11, 2013, when people woke up with hope in their eyes and patriotism in their hearts. Pakistani expatriates flew all the way to Pakistan to cast votes in favor of PTI and Imran, hoping for a change. He was claimed to be the only savior for this nation.
Where did things go wrong?:
It is now clear that Imran Khan lacks political foresight and flexibility. His first major mistake was to lock horns with none other than the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). A little understanding, seat adjustment and alliance with the largest political party in Karachi could have given PTI a chance to establish itself and implement its manifesto which, by the way, was very much in line with the manifesto of MQM.
Imran was over-confident and thoroughly mistaken in assuming that he would be an overnight success in Karachi alone. Rigging or no rigging, PTI failed to cause any considerable dent in the vote bank of MQM, and the following by-elections, under surveillance of the army, gave credence to the fact that PTI was losing its popularity fast in this part of Pakistan.
His second crucial blunder was to team up with the Taliban and support their recent demand for opening up offices for the militants. His main stream followers are mostly educated elite and students, who cannot under any circumstances, support this stance, and this is fast causing a slump in his popularity.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), where PTI enjoys complete control, has seen no improvement and there seems to be no proper road map laid down by the chief minister and his team. Instead, the blood-thirsty Taliban are being given an opportunity to further implement their agendas.
What makes matters worse is that Imran Khan is running the show as a dictator, and even his own party members are not privy to his policies and decisions. Just recently, a statement made by Khan regarding the opening of a Taliban office has been completely disowned by his party member, Asad Umar who claimed that this was a personal wish of the Khan, and does not reflect the party’s official view.
Imran Khan who once rallied against nepotism, is now giving priority to the relatives and friends of main stream PTI leaders over common workers, for different party positions. it seems that PTI has become like any conventional Pakistani political party where affiliations are preferred over merit.
Suggestions for damage control:
It is obvious that PTI needs damage control and needs it fast. Instead of crying over rigged cases, PTI founding members need to set up an internal audit of the party funds and if Imran Khan pleads guilty in the corruption scam, he should resign from the party chairman as per his promise or PTI CEC should sack him for misusing his powers, which seems to be the only way out for the PTI. Because if PTI will not follow the policy of self accountability, then its quite obvious that Imran Khan will take the party to a new low and the dreams of PTI Youth will be shatters forever.
Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country. Karl Marx