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Analysis Editorial

Editorial | Imran Khan’s Outburst Against Bilawal Is Unbecoming Of A PM

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He inspired a new generation of urban middle-class people to take an interest in party politics and promises of change, but Prime Minister Imran Khan is likely to leave behind another legacy, too.

This latter one will be the PTI’s tradition of pulling out all stops in attacking and demonizing political opponents. The party’s supporters, be they online in the form of the notorious “PTI trolls” or the ministers representing them on TV, have taken vitriol to entirely new levels. The PM himself has, on occasions, tried to discourage some of his more excitable supporters from some of their more unpleasant words and antics.

But it is important to recognize that the PTI has a severe and systemic misbehaviour problem – and it stems from the very top of the party. It is the leader himself who has taken the lead in poor behaviour for years now. This actually appears to have cemented his support among some urban segments on whose fierce resentment the PTI leadership has relied in shaping its politics. But it has proved particularly alienating for anyone who is not already an acolyte.

On Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan poked fun at PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari by mimicking one of his statements.

Imran Khan has mocked, mimicked, ridiculed and humiliated those that he disagrees with in the most unbecoming of ways. He has used name-calling and coined or popularized specific phrases meant to be permanently valid insults against opponents. This made for a mess when he was out of power, but has become an absolute fiasco with his party in power. It simply adds more weight to the opposition’s claims of being hounded and repressed by the PTI government.

The prime minister’s highly improper mimicry of a much younger political leader, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, should be seen in such a context. The age-gap is just one aspect which makes the sight so unseemly. The young leader is highly beloved to supporters of the PPP who see him as a living part of his mother and grandfather’s legacy.

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