Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Imran Khan: Can He Swing the Political System of Pakistan? -By Iftikhar Chaudri
Longing for almost fifteen years for ‘Better Pakistan’, in political arena of Pakistan, Imran Khan fights back to get his place in the mainstream politics of the country, by demonstrating the power of his muscles in an unprecedented public congregation at Lahore, stunned both the main political parties, PPPP and PML-N.
The hard-hitting Imran Khan, who is also desirous to get ‘two wickets’ with a ball, asked the rulers to declare their assets and threatened a civil disobedience movement and a countrywide blockade if they did not do so. The roaring Imran, vociferously asked them “Declare your assets or face the wrath of people,” He said declaration of politicians’ assets was necessary for a transparent governance. If politicians did not do so, the PTI would set up a commission to prepare a list of politicians and their assets and take it to court, he said.
In a separate move, the former Foreign Minister , Shah Mehmood Qureshi, joined Imran Khan’s Team , in a handsome gathering at Ghotki , Sindh, though mostly dominated by the followers (Mureeds) of his Spiritual Clan and Gaddi of Hazrat Bahauddin Zikria Multan. Shah Mehmood Qureshi tendered his resignation from the lucrative slot of Foreign Minister, when he was, allegedly asked by president Asif Ali Zardari to declare , American Spy , Raymond Davis , as a diplomat , which he refused. Raymond Davis was forced to release, under the controversial garb of Islamic law of ‘ Diyat’, facing multiple murder charges and under arrest with Punjab Police and intelligence agencies.
The resignation from the minister's slot and membership of National Assembly,
Qureshi also strongly criticized the performance of the government saying one thousand billion rupees have been wasted in granting bail out packages to Railways, Pakistan Steel, PIA and WAPDA. He said the restructuring plan of strategic assets given by Shaukat Tarin has been thrown into the waste papers basket. He termed President Zardari as national security hazard and maintained that under his command, the nuclear assets of Pakistan are not secure. The resignation of the Former Foreign Minister is a major dent and shock for already losing popularity, PPPP, especially from specially from Seraiki belt , and home town of Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani, to be more specific.
At the surface, Imran Khan is, vehemently criticizing , the leaders of both main political parties PPPP and PML-N for their alleged massive corruption and eroding the development structure of whole Pakistan. His principal slogans, getting approval, with growing mandate, of masses especially youngsters . The poor and wretched citizens of Pakistan, who are worst hit of unprecedented price-hike , Electricity shortage, energy mismanagement, lesser opportunities for young educated persons, institutionalized Corruption, lawlessness, terrorism , are seeking any ‘emancipator’ to rescue them from the grim situation.
“Pakistan is losing over Rs3,000 billion a year in tax corruption. If it can be tapped, the country does not need foreign aid. Once the government wins the confidence of people, economic woes would simply go away” Imran outcried. PTI Chairman claimed that his party, if comes into power, then it would end corruption, declare an education emergency, improve tax collection, pursue an independent foreign policy, bring Balochistan into the mainstream national politics, end the war on terror and protect rights of minorities and women. The Corruption of ruling elite is ruining the infrastructure of the state . Imran Khan said a country that had “over 180 billion tons of coal reserves could not in any way be called an energy starved state”. There is an equally great potential in hydro-electric resources. “If the PTI can run thermal units even at 70 per cent of their installed capacity, currently running at 25 to 30 per cent, the country will have no energy crisis,” he said.
Pakistan’s Foreign policy , is mainly , allegedly dictated ‘ by the Military Establishment, especially , on Kashmir, Afghanistan , India and USA. Even it has been reported in the press that Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and civilian Presidents or Prime Ministers, either were not allowed or to be discouraged to visit all the nuclear installations of Pakistan. Since the creation, Pakistan’s foreign policy, is mainly tilted towards Americanization, with the handsome approval of both Military and civilian authorities of the successive regimes. While Pakistani Nation, by virtue of its social thinking , are anti-Americans, in majority. They have witnessed the series of worst experiences and betrayal at many critical stages of Pakistan’s history. The ‘seventh Naval Warship’ was never reached to support Pakistan Army during Indo-Pak War in 1971, in which Pakistan was divided. USA masterly planned to defeat USSR, another counter-part super power by using expertise of Pakistani Security and Intelligence Agencies in Afghanistan. The Afghan War led Pakistan to multiple international and national crises.
Unfortunately, Pakistan’s Military Establishment and ISI became the principal targets of terrorism and international subversion. The primary reason was; due to blind following the ‘orders’ of Capitol Hill. The present series of ‘ following the orders ‘ was started when 9/11 incidents happened and the then Chief of Army Staff and President Musharaf , bent down to the wishes of USA. On the other hand Pakistan suffered immense loss to this ‘so-called’ War against Terror , lost almost 40 thousand civilians and security personnel. Recent NATO attacks on Pakistan Army Check Posts is an eye-opener for Pakistani Military Establishment, forced everybody at the helm of all affairs to block the supply-line of NATO and asked USA to leave the Shamsi-base. Imran is of the view that American highhandedness and accesses is due to the ‘ blind-following’.
Imran Khan is the principal protagonist of an ‘Independent Foreign Policy’ , to be controlled by elected governments. On foreign policy, he said the focus should be on “independence, not slavery: the PTI will want friendship with everyone, including the Americans, but on the basis of equality. The Americans will be told that Pakistan cannot fight their war and Pakistan Army cannot do its bidding. “Ties with China will form the cornerstone of PTI’s foreign policy. I am leaving tonight for China at the invitation of the Chinese government and friendship with them will be pursued to the fullest.”
To form an independent foreign policy , is an uphill task for Imran Khan, if he is elected on top slot. Imran, once blue-eyed of General Musharaf, is allegedly considered as ‘ brainchild’ of Inter Services Intelligence and Army, by his opponents maintained that drone attacks were part of the problem rather than a solution. “They are feeding terrorism. The PTI bigwigs believe that they are pushing over one million armed Pakhtuns to the other side of the divide. Once Pakistan quits the US-sponsored war on terror, these one million armed tribal people will take care of militancy and terrorism in their areas. It is simply a matter of making the right choices.” He has personified his repentance on his certain affiliations with former dictator General Musharaf , whose political party APML, is still in the offing to take off.
It is very difficult to understand . that if Army or ISI , as alleged by most of the analysts, is supposed to form foreign policy and pursuing the alleged American Agenda, then how they can support Imran Khan ?? If the latter is principal protagonist of an anti US led War in the region against Terror and a ‘ well-defined role’ of Army as laid down in the Constitution, how can Military Establishment accept to leave ‘dictating civil governments’ on Foreign policy matters . It will be acceptable by Army and ISI that they quit the role of forming policies, though due to corrupt and weak governments. When asked by a journalist that Imran khan is being supported, funded and patronizing by ISI, PM Gillani maintained “ Agencies are working under Prime Minister, not under Imran Khan” . In fact , Imran Khan responded well to the ‘ irritating question’, stated, “ More the politicians accuse me of having patronization of ISI, more people throng to join PTI”( as ISI is considered as source of Power in the political circles) .
Recently, Military Spokesman Maj General Ather Abbas also rejected a news item appeared in the national press that Imran Khan met US Embassador in the presence of DG ISI, Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha .“The allegation is an attempt to divert the attention of the people from the fast-declining popularity of PML-N because of the failure of its government in Punjab and its anti-people policies that it practiced during its two tenures in the federal capital,” said Dr Arif Alvi a leader of PTI maintained. Imran Khan must be ready to face moral corruption charges and allegations of a primary figure for elections, patronized by Jewish lobby, besides ‘ man of the match’ candidate of Army and Agencies.
A cricketer-turned-politician, Imran Khan, who has been in the political wilderness of sorts, has matured in the last three-four years. His popularity graph has shot up only recently. Until a few weeks back he was known for being a single-man political party. He has to play a long innings , he is accused of gathering the ‘ turn-coats’ in his team, which included Mian Azhar, a former governor of Punjab, EX-MNA Faiz Tamman some ex- MPAs and members of former Uninion councils. He needs to demonstrate utmost leadership political qualities to keep intact all segments of the PTI tiers. It is fact, ’ There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip’ before going for general Elections . As soon as, the popularity graph will jump, some more turncoats are expected to join, simultaneously he must be prepared , that there might be possibility of some desertions too. As it is rumored that PTI leader , Shireen Mazari is thinking to quit PTI, who was aspiring an ‘ an Apple’s Eye’ position in PTI. During the early days, Journalist Naseem Zehra also quitted PTI , when it was in an embryonic stage.
Pakistani politics is roaming around SHO Police and ‘ patwaari’ , which supports the landlords and feudal mindset. Every elected representative, has an earnest desire to manage the appointment of police officers and revenue officers in their respective constituencies, to influence the voters and maintain their threat perception or ‘tyrannical policies’. The next Election will also be subservient the subject vicious circle. To break this circle is a Herculean Task - A circle, in which all tycoons from Civilian and Military Establishment may directly or indirectly involve. Though Imran has planned to computerize all the Revenue record, but he will face immense resistance from all the corridors of power.
To get sudden surge in political popularity is just termed as his ‘Maiden Century ’. He has to play, while keeping an eagle’s eye on every political ‘fielder’ of the Political ‘Ground’ with the ‘opponents’ , also to dispel the image of an ‘arrogant’ Captain for his rapidly growing magnitude of his Team-mates. Any midterm Elections in country will be harmful for him. Imran Khan , so far, did not chalk out policy , how to pitch candidates in rural areas, as it has different standards and political game-plan. Secondly, in the absence any ' independent Election Commission', will be available to ' play' a fair 'game' or otherwise, that too under the aegis of President Zardari? Political pandits have to observe , how Karachi behaves him on 25th December 2011, where he is scheduled to address the public. So far he has managed to clip certain definite votes from almost every constituency of at least Punjab province. He has very limited choices to have political alliances with the present political parties , but the possibility of some settlement with lesser parties like JI , cannot be ruled out. However, he is the most popular leader in overseas Pakistanis and he can expect immense support from them during the general elections, as compare to that of any other political leader.