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Analysis

Are Preparations Being Made For Another ‘Khan Experiment’?

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There used to be a time when I would ask my father for two rupees. Then soon enough, I started asking for five. One day five became 10, as 10 became 50 and 50 became 100 and so on. So saying that children today are more demanding would not be entirely true, but rather the rupee is devaluing with no brakes and with ‘no break’. If only we would focus on this issue and give the game of thrones a break.

The game can only be played in the first place if there is something to be played for. In our tiny little battles, the rupee is on the verge of a big diminishment. The diminishment of rupee would bring the whole dominion down.

What is happening in contemporary times is a glimpse of what has been happening in every era of Pakistan’s history. The ousting and harbouring of politicians, the chronicles of dictatorships, the dictatorially encapsulated democratic regimes and other factors have played their part in this.

Like cricket, people feel disheartened when they see that their player is not doing his best, same is the case with governance. At home, we comment upon many things as to how great leaders we would be if only we were to get one chance. The reality though is very different. As the worthy Inter-Services Public Relations DG Major General Asif Ghafoor, while replying to journalist Salim Safi’s question, said that things would seem much different if we look at things from his point of view.

Imran Khan too was living in a fool’s paradise thinking that if only he would get the chance to become the prime minister, he would change everything for the better. The promise to offer millions of jobs was not a lie nor was it an attempt to deceive people. Imran Khan meant it when he made this promise. He meant it as much as a groom means it when he promises his bride before wedding that he would fulfil all of her wishes. These aspirations are not uncommon. Every time we seek a loan from anyone or even banks, we mean it when we tell the other entity that we would return all debt within the stipulated time. Nonetheless, we are unable to usually end up fulfilling our vows. Regardless, when you are heavily indebted to others and you do not have a sweet tongue either, things become increasingly difficult to handle.

The journey Imran Khan started three decades ago was sponsored by multiple entities which makes Khan a highly indebted entity. The only contribution of Imran Khan remains the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Then the Nawaz Sharif government gave him a plot for the construction of Shaukat Khanam Cancer Hospital as a goodwill gesture in the 90s. Since then millions have made contributions and made Shaukat Khanam a reality. However, he also started a parallel journey alongside his apparent philanthropy; the political journey.

No matter how good democracy is defined and glorified in comparison to dictatorship, it has an inherent flaw which is usually unseen. That flaw is the desideratum of money without which the ambition to be at the throne is unsustainable. Therefore, either you should have a large amount of money or there should be others willing to invest in you. Neither situation is a good place to be at, though the latter is even nastier.

Back in the late 2000s, when it dawned upon the ‘big boss’ that it was time to hatch a new egg, Imran Khan was their guy. Given today’s scenario he seems to have been the perfect choice for the big boss. The level of subservience displayed by the worthy PM to his bosses is unprecedented and he is on his way to setting a new precedent for subservient prime ministers who are fed, selected and then elected. The irony though is that even the most ideal circumstances for the ‘big boss’ with regard to governance have produced the worst nightmares for them.

All Khan has in his sack is a trophy that is 30 years old, some old pictures showing his personality, a 300 kanal land which would most likely be declared a heritage after his death, and some relatives with whom he has no relation anymore; apart from the sons who are British citizens.

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Whatever Khan had to offer worked best when he was not in the government. His virtual honesty, personality, his stance on corruption and his team’s victory in the world cup all helped bring down the dominions of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Though, none of his past characteristics helped Khan to govern the country better than his predecessors.

A careful cognition in this matter would reveal that all the qualities Khan possessed were not that pertinent when it comes to governance. We often hear analysts say that Khan still has not climbed down from the container on which he spewed venom for four months straight. That is where he was successful indeed; on the container.

Eventually, Khan compromised what he had to as an act of self-preservation. All those people he always candidly admired have been marginalised. They do not even speak in the manner they used to and it seems that the reality is biting them after all.

The slip of tongue by the cabinet members, including the PM, unveil the underneath fears behind their apparently sparkling faces. It is this fear and an inherent guilt which is preventing the PM and other entities to present the Kashmir issue before the powerful nations of the world. It is this depression, anxiety and perplexity that has clinched the minds of the government and the virus is likely to spread to the whole nation.

Today is just the same as yesterday and will naturally lead to a predictable tomorrow. Though the only significant difference is that the constant domineering of the ‘big boss’ over all spheres of the state has suffered a big blow in the form of resilience displayed by Nawaz Sharif’s family. Mettle shown by politicians such as Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Sanaullah and others have also strengthened the Sharif family’s resolve.

Having them convicted is not the problem because ‘honest judges’ are available here in good numbers; it is their hardiness that is disturbing the ‘big boss’.

Apart from the resilience factor other developments have also shrunk the ego of the ‘big boss’ a bit as rumours of deal do the rounds. The foremost of these is the inefficiency and lack of passion exhibited by Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) in governance. Gone are the times of uniformed CEO of the country as the bosses know very well that with great power comes great responsibility. Therefore, the new tactical gambit by them is to put pair the scarecrow PM with a scarecrow cabinet. The plan obviously is to be at the steering wheel forever and at the same time absolve itself from any sort of liability.

There is an oblivious underestimation of the circumstances. The recent season started with the Islamabad sit-in and every time it was hoped that the wall would fall, it didn’t. It was hoped that Nawaz Sharif would ultimately resign from the premiership to avoid embarrassment of being mocked daily just outside his house by a handful of people with a handful of backing. Unsurprisingly, he did not resign.

Yet again it was hoped that Justice Saqib Nisar’s fiendish attitude towards cases pertaining to Nawaz family and his remarks such as “What if a looter becomes a party head?” during Election Act 2017 proceedings etc, would scare the crow, but it did not. Why would the Supreme Court be so courteous to allow Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz to travel to the United Kingdom just before the decision of the trial was to be announced when the same court had been very hard on them on all previous occasions? Because it was hoped that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz would not come back, yet they did despite having been convicted.

Not only were they being constantly vilified by certain judges every now and then in the form of remarks, but later these remarks were also celebrated by news anchors during the day and at night.

The discussion would start with the anchor telling the audience with pride as to how the judges have expressed displeasure over this and that, and how they were determined to bring rule of law in this country; all the while suggesting that the state has now finally become powerful enough to bring Nawaz Sharif to justice and that was to become the yardstick for future. None of it really worked.

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This day would not have come but for two causes. The first is the surprising transformation in Maryam Nawaz’s personality from a very delicate pretty woman to a fighter for her father’s legacy. That is a major factor in eventually making Nawaz Sharif strong. Transformations like these testify that no matter how flawless the plan not everything can be foreseen.

The second and a more genuine cause is the pathetic performance by the incumbent government. Though they can’t be blamed for everything since a lot of power is exercised by the ‘big boss’, however, history would blame PTI only because the writers of history know very well how to omit their part.

Every time something good happens, all the credit goes to the ‘big boss’. On the contrary, if things do not go their way they know how to let the storm pass. Their press statements like: “If the government orders us we will shoot down the drones”, shows how they are going about their business. In all other spheres the government is mocked, dictated to, manipulated and even personalised but when it comes to failures, all the blame is thrown at them in any case. Why on earth were they waiting for the PM’s order to shoot down the drones when in all other decisions the PM is the subservient authority?

Likewise, the whole nation has been led to believe that in fact Nawaz Sharif called back the army from Kashmir in 1999, otherwise the territory could have been conquered. Irrespective of what had actually happened, my question is that even if Nawaz Sharif called the forces back, why did they follow his orders? When in all other affairs the PM is compelled to issue all his orders in line with their orders, then why give so much respect to the PM only occasionally? To blame him for the fiasco that you created? This is a vicious cycle and one day it would ultimately make the poor angry.

The ‘big boss’ has clearly seen that despite their dire attempts to uproot Nawaz Sharif and his family, nothing is really working out. All those who are inside the jail seem in high spirits and they have no one but two entities to thank for, nature and Imran Khan; the former for its formidable principles, and the latter for his ineptitude. Endeavours to make a new PML-N as confirmed by state sponsored Sheikh Rasheed in his interview to Gharida Farooqi would be a new failed experiment. It just cannot go on like this forever.

In these circumstances, those in power have two options only. The first is to try what has previously not worked and hope for the best. Whereas, the second option is to opt for a new start. A new start is the only way we can save ourselves as a nation and the ‘others’ can save themselves from a whole lot of problems. A new start should not be based on some emotional melodrama oriented approach, rather on the contrary, an intelligible approach in which there is justice for all.

It is said that if you do not decide how you want to live your life then others would decide it for you. Now is the time for us to loosen our ideas and projections of hate towards each other. If India can take advantage of our weaknesses and initiate the process to permanently annex Kashmir, then why would the more powerful states of the world waste even a single second while taking advantage of our lack of unity.

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