Almost two decades ago, Imran Khan stepped into the world of politics. His first public gathering came soon after. Unsurprisingly, his speech was centered around tackling corruption and injustice.
For the next 22 years, he kept preaching his brand of politics with slow but sure progress until he finally achieved a majority in National Assembly and was able to form Government for the first time.
In this article, you will read: (Click to reach the specific portion)
- Imran Khan over the years
- Why does he seem unprepared?
- What would happen if he continues to stagger?
Over the course of this struggle, Imran Khan took increasingly bold and aggressive stances on issues. He criticized his opponents endlessly and relentlessly. As his supporters grew so did his coverage.
By the time 2018 arrived, he was darling of the media. Pakistan wanted to see what Imran Khan had to say and media executives made that come true, covering every minute detail.
This was unprecedented in Pakistan politics; no other political figure had gotten this much attention and day to day scrutiny.
While it helped Khan’s ascent to power, it also meant that every word he spoke was now indelible. Recorded, uploaded to the internet and distributed, his words will soon start to haunt him as many predicted.
Before the elections, Imran Khan was the Messiah who will bring Pakistan out of decades of incompetent governance and corruption into the light of dawn.
He was the man who promised the Pakistani public the moon. He was the prince who was promised. He was a Messiah, a champion of the people, the white knight we all deserved.
After the elections, however, reality gave way to fantasy. As the nascent govt. of Imran Khan fumbled into the office, a peculiar challenger surfaced, the party itself.
Gone were the days, when sitting on the sidelines he could criticize anything and everything. Now that they had to deliver, statements of years past were played and replayed on the media showing stark contrast is what had been promised and the actions of the govt.
Why does Imran Khan seem Unprepared?
Soon after Imran Khan became the PM, it became painfully apparent that despite claims to the contrary, he and PTI had no cohesive plan in place. All that rhetoric of “experienced and technocrat team” went straight out of the window because of the uncalculated and instinctive steps.
Khans’ plan was rather a combination of populist agendas and sheer self-belief in his ability and the ability of his chosen ones to deliver. Late night political talk shows dissected every action of the newborn govt and tore it to shreds over perceived and real broken promises within a week.
The first major blow came in the form the cabinet formation, where people who keep an eye on the national political paradigm knew straight away that the names and portfolios do no match, and in some case, the name doesn’t even deserve a portfolio.
Then, Imran pledged to end VIP culture and protocol, but the head of states in countries like Pakistan can’t be allowed to roam free without necessary security, in the eyes of opponents that’s a promise broken.
Imran Khan pledged that anti-corruption drive will start from himself and his cabinet, yet members of his cabinet were under NAB scrutiny at the time of appointment.
He promised positions to be filled based purely on merit, yet fired a world-renowned economist due to his beliefs.
From the use of Govt. Helicopter, Private Plane, breaking pledge of no foreign visits for three months, irresponsible remarks of ministers, political interference in police, appointment of tainted bureaucrats in key positions, increase in Gas prices and the cabinet, which was supposed to be small, adding ministers seemingly every day, the list of Khan’s indiscretions are long and that’s only the first month of his govt.
The only real plan, which was brushed by the experts for its technical shortcomings but marks for the effort must be given, came from Dr. Arif Alvi in a Facebook video where he mapped how he will end the Karachi’s water crisis.
The question despite the competent and experienced people in particular domains, why does the PTI government seem to be missing the actual plan?
The answer is very simple, they spent all their energies and momentum to win for the last 4-5 years the election battle.
To some, it may seem the right approach, but the fact that political adversaries and hawkish anchors who reign the prime-time TV are looking forward to the smallest of loopholes to shred it apart, PTI must have known what would be the post-victory strategy.
Because of the bar which Khan himself has set so high, and the way he educated the masses how an ideal state and its corresponding should be, people were expecting miracles right from the word go.
And since it was the first time PTI was to hold the power, they needed to outperform their opponents or else people like Ahsan Iqbal would use their “Tajurba (Experience) card” yet another time.
If not showing miracles, which is obviously a far stretched idea, the least Khan could have done was not to provide blunders for its opponents to exploit and for its supporters to feel upset.
Secondly, there is a lot of a difference between running comparatively small-scale enterprises and departments than entire ministries of a country which has dysfunctional state mechanism.
Khan and his followers’ people might have complete trust on the appointees but it will take time for them to get used to of the national level responsibilities.
In the eyes of Imran Khan’s opponents, all of this further cement the famous nickname “U-turn Khan”. What Khan and his supporters will have to understand is that the added scrutiny is his own doing.
For years from the platform of Jalsas Imran Khan promised the end of status quo yet here he is doing the same things he promised not to. Khan cursed his opponents, called voters of other parties’ “donkeys” and abused his political opponents relentlessly.
It’s time for Imran Khan and PTI to taste their own medicine because for once he has the power to bring “change”.
Impact it could have if the same approach prevails
First and foremost, the time elapsed is not even close to sufficient to judge the government base on the performance scale. A good two years is what needs to be given by the media and masses in general to implement the change they want to bring in the administrative structure and legislation.
Having said that, if the instinctive policies based on popularity keeps governing the statecraft, then it will only be detrimental in the long run.
The first unpopular with the plausibility of positive impact has come in the form of increased gas prices, which we hope plays as the government intends it to be.
Every government has its strengths, or to be politically correct so that people could comprehend it better, and aspirations. For example, Pakistan People’s Party has a socialist agenda where they “want” communities to be more inclusive, less economic disparity and tolerance.
On the other hand, PMLN has always been fascinated with mega projects and infrastructure building.
When a government goes on to make popular choices in the form of projects which are very low in its priority in the first place the result becomes Peshawar’s BRT project.
PTI needs to play as per its strengths especially when they need another term for sustainable long-term economic and human growth.
It is imperative that now Imran Khan focuses on future of Pakistan instead of fighting the ghosts of his past statements. He cannot govern by moving from crisis to crisis putting out fires.
Let his critics criticize and instead of worrying about optics, focus on his performance. After five years, voters will not judge Imran Khan on his past but rather on the improvements in their lives.
The road towards a prosperous Pakistan is full of obstacles and will not be accident-free. It’s time for Imran Khan to prove that he is worthy of dreams of hopes of millions of Pakistanis and the world is watching.
If he falters, he will be reminded of what he promised. Pakistanis must learn to hold politicians accountable for their promises instead of blind worship and who knows in decades to come people might really be lining up to get visas to Pakistan.
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