By Mansoor Ali Khan.
During our schools days in science classes, we were told about an experiment of the “Boiling Frog”. The boiling frog is an anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. It is thought that if frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is put in cold water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger. It will keep on adjusting its body temperature as long as the water reaches at the boiling point. By the time frog realizes and tries to jump out, it will be cooked to death. This story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react at the right time, or to or be aware of problems that rise gradually. The same is the dilemma of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the second largest political party of Pakistan.
A lot has been said about Imran Khan’s personality, his honesty, his sincerity and his love with principles. Imran Khan himself narrates the fact that he never accepts defeat, but he seems to have ignored the fact that he has been facing political defeats since the start of his political career. Yes, this is because he has been making wrong decisions at the right times. He is trapped somewhere into the Real and Idealistic approach. As much as his rhetoric would make us believe, Pakistan’s political parties are corrupt and being run by the capitalists and feudal. Give the context; it is heart breaking to see Imran Khan himself indulged in the same dirty politics by having the same capitalists, industrialists and feudals at the top of the rank in Tehreek-e-Insaf.
Despite of the fact that Imran Khan is confused and lacks rational approach, he has been successful in formulating an Army of die hard supporters and a dedicated vote bank across the country. Thanks to the incompetency of traditional and mainstream political parties, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was able to form its government in KP, win 26 National Assembly seats and become the second largest political force in Karachi. But wait, this was not what Imran Khan has expected. What did he expect then..? Well, his critics claim that he was absolutely confident about his simple majority in the national assembly. It was hard to see his main political opponent taking oath for the third time as Prime Minister.
This was the time when his party should have formed a model in KP and work for some concrete legislation and electoral reforms in the National Assembly. Imran Khan had some other plans and he formulated rhetoric of rigging which he could never prove, and here comes a list of his political blunders at the right times.
Wrong Decision # 1: Imran khan was willing to join anyone who would help him in toppling the federal government. For the purpose, he could not have better allies than Sheikh Rasheed and Allama Tahir ul Qadri (people having no vote bank and no stakes in the electoral process, also known for their personal enmity with Nawaz Sharif). In haste, Imran invaded the federal capital with their political allies cum cousins, and announced a sit-in outside parliament.
The 2014 sit-in had put the ruling PML-N under immense pressure and with some good political tactics, Nawaz Sharif could have forced to bow down for any kind of electoral reforms. By that time Imran Khan was not happy with anything less than Nawaz Sharif’s resignation. He lost that Golden opportunity and the sit-in lasted without any political achievement. Instead it made the ruling PML-N more powerful and the terms like “political protest”, “long march” and “sit-in” had lost their charm.
Wrong Decision # 2: End of the sit-in was yet another opportunity for Mr Khan to perform better in KP and work for electoral reforms to make electoral process more credible and give a reason to his voters to vote for him and his party. Instead Imran Khan decided to follow the same traditional model of running the provincial affairs. We still can’t understand how KP government is different from the rest of the country when its own Ehtisaab Commission was ripped off after a well reputed Hamid Khan had resigned as its Director General. How KP government is different from the rest of the country when majority of PTI MPAs are not happy with their own CM. How PTI is different from the rest of political parties when most of its top brass consists of billionaire industrialists and politicians who joined PTI after leaving their parties
Wrong Decision # 3 Khan’s decision to boycott the recent join sitting of the parliament was yet another immature and emotional move. Despite of the fact that he did veto his party decision, he still justifies his act and rejects the ire from media and political parties. He missed an opportunity of a blistering speech on the face of Nawaz Sharif. However, it is largely believed that one speech in parliament is far more damaging than a thousand speeches outside.
Wrong Decision # 4 The recent wake of Panama leaks has raised serious concerns among Pakistani nation. It has raised doubts over the credibility of Pakistani politicians, political parties and state institutions. The demand for across the board accountability is gaining momentum. Imran Khan without any doubt deserves the credit of keeping this issue alive. But once again he has come up with a wrong decision at the right time. In my humble opinion, the issue of panama leaks would never be sorted out through agitation on roads. Instead of using this issue as an election slogan and demand for an early election, Mr Khan has decided to repeat the same mistake by announcing yet another March and sit-in in Islamabad on October 30. This time he may not have the support of his past allies.
What would Imran Khan and PTI achieve at a time when PML-N Government has lived more than half of its life and there isn’t much time left in 2018 elections..? Only the time would tell but one thing is for sure, if it fails, this could well be their last agitation.
Writer is a Current Affairs Producer with a News Channel based in Islamabad. He can be reached at;