Hypocrisy of the first order

Politicians must learn from history and try to resolve the contentious political issues themselves

PTI Chairman Imran Khan has no match regarding conjuring up false narratives and propagating them with unrivalled consistency. Who in the country is not aware of his narrative of thirty-five punctures on which he based his agitation against the government and when the judicial commission as a result of an inquiry into alleged rigging repudiated his claim, he admitted in an interview with a private TV channel that it was only a political statement. Somebody had told him about it. Since his ouster from power through a constitutional process, he has been hurling unsubstantiated allegations against state institutions including the establishment, particularly targeting his benefactor, former COAS General Bajwa whom he holds responsible not only for his removal from power but also the current state of affairs in the country. He however has not come up with any evidence to prove that as far as his downfall from power is concerned. The interesting thing is that he negates his propagated narrative after some time. He concocted a conspiracy theory against his government by PDM with the help of the US and establishment which was based on a cipher message sent by our ambassador in the US. He tried to sell this narrative in his more than seventy public rallies across the country. However, in the end, he withdrew from his rhetoric regarding the involvement of the US and the establishment in the much-trumpeted conspiracy against his government. However, when he came under criticism from the media and the intellectual circles for his somersault on the issue, he reverted to the old narrative. Addressing a women workers’ convention in Karachi via video link Imran Khan remarked “I fear that unfortunately, our establishment has not learned from the past. Today we are seeing political engineering being carried out. The merger of MQM factions and BAP members from Balochistan joining PPP testifies to this reality. Similar efforts are afoot to bring PML into power in Punjab while a different game is being played in KP to weaken PTI. Look at the past and see how much Pakistan has lost out because of the establishment’s political engineering. We have seen long-term disasters for short-term gains because of this. He also reiterated his party’s stance for immediate elections to winch the country out of the quagmire it is stuck in. Imran is trying to say that not only General Bajwa was responsible for the situation, but the new COAS is also following the footsteps of his predecessor. The establishment is continuously in the line of fire from the PTI Chairman and his cohorts even though the former made an institutional decision in February 2021 to stay apolitical and as General Bajwa revealed to end the Army’s intervention in politics, which it had been doing in the last seventy years. Nobody appreciated the intervention of the establishment in the political domain and playing a role in the making and breaking of governments. But what Imran is saying now is nothing but the hypocrisy of the first order. The question arises that if the thought that political engineering by the establishment was harmful then why did he accept it when it was done to catapult him into the corridors of power? Is it not mind-boggling to note that while he castigates the establishment for political engineering, he still wants the new COAS to ensure free and fair elections in the country? It is tantamount to inviting intervention of the establishment in the political affairs of the country irrespective of the fact that it no longer intends to do it. If the establishment has played a negative role, the politicians are equally responsible for the state of affairs the country is faced with. Their failure to put the country on the path envisioned by the founder of the country and to perpetuate their vested interests by not changing the archaic colonial system of governance and building their fortunes through in-built avenues of corruption has been instrumental to the intervention of the generals in the political domain. Politicians must learn from history and try to resolve the contentious political issues themselves through parliament which is the true forum for such undertakings. Politically and economically the country is faced with unprecedented challenges and more so due to political instability fomented by Imran Khan. He is admittedly a leader in his own right enjoying a huge following but treading the wrong path. He is well advised to revisit his policy of confrontation with the opposition and allow the PDM government and the assemblies to complete their mandated tenure. That is the only way to strengthen democracy and work on resolving the economic crisis. Therefore, politicians must say adieu to the tradition of destabilising governments of the rival political parties and allow the people to judge their performance at the end of their mandated tenures.

Malik Muhammad Ashraf

The writer is a freelance columnist. He can be reached at ashpak10@gmail.com.

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