Six Questions For PM Imran Khan
Dear Prime Minister Imran Khan,
Everyone, including myself, heard your recent speech in Pakistan’s National Assembly after getting the vote of confidence (in a session which had been boycotted by the opposition parties).
The thrust of your speech was about the corruption done by the leaders of the opposition parties.
Now I am posing these 6 questions to you:
1. Why did you not mention in your speech about the corruption by members of the security apparatus? Or is corruption only that done by civilians? Since you profess to be a crusader against corruption, and since this was the main plank on which you won the parliamentary elections of 2018 and came to power, one wonders if you are reluctant to speak of this because in that case you may meet the fate of the late lamented Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto?
2. In your speech you called the opposition leaders as ‘chor’ and ‘daaku’. But what about those chors and daakus earlier belonging to other parties – but to whom you gave tickets of your own party, the PTI, in the parliamentary elections of 2018, as they were regarded ‘electable’? Have these crooked sugar barons and other shady businessmen to whom you gave PTI tickets suddenly become ‘doodh ka dhula‘ overnight?
I am reminded of these verses in the poem Maatam-e-Azaadi by the Urdu poet Josh Malihabadi:
Bartaania ke khaas ghulaamaan-e-khanazaad
dete thay lathiyon se jo hubba-e-watan ki daad
aik-aik zarb jinki hai ab tak saron ko yaad
woh I.C.S. ab bhi hain khushbakhto-bamurad
shaitaan aik raat mein insaan ban gaye
jitney namak-haram thay, kaptaan ban gaye
3. Prices of essential commodities like foodstuffs and fuel have skyrocketed in Pakistan, but you ignored all this in your speech. What have you done to end this nightmare for the common people? Or will you keep blaming the previous governments?
4. You spoke of Madinah ki Riyasat in the beginning of your speech, but how will this reference solve the massive problems of unemployment, malnourishment, and lack of proper healthcare and good education for the masses in Pakistan?
5. There was only fulmination by you about corruption of the opposition parties, but why did you not also announce in your speech that you will address the use of some laws to persecute minorities? Why did you give a PTI ticket to someone like Aamir Liaquat, whose TV programme resulted in killings of people from minority communities?
6. Why is the media largely gagged in Pakistan, and what do you propose to do to make it free?
Mr. Prime Minister, what was important in your speech was not so much what you said, but what you cunningly left unsaid. You remind me of the character The Artful Dodger in Dicken’s novel Oliver Twist, or the con artist Soapy Smith.
Now I am asking these 6 questions on behalf of the people of this Subcontinent. I hope you will do me the honour of answering.
Former Judge, Indian Supreme Court
Markandey Katju is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. He was also the Chairman of the Press Council of India.