Neither history nor Khan’s politics mirrors him being Robinhood of the poor

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By: Muhammad Ilyas

Since his ouster last April, Imran Khan has unleashed a war of rhetoric against not only his Everest political rivals, but his erstwhile patrons. Now, when the country is living through unprecedented politico-economic crises, the questions are: Is Khan the man we are looking for? Can Khan be trusted once more? And, is Khan somehow different from the rest of the political leaders- elite, corrupt, dynastic, and whatnot?

In retrospect, Khan kicked off his political career as an acolyte of the Army. Brought up as a somehow special person, Khan was finally set on the chair of Prime Minister by rigging the political system of the country. Resultantly, On one hand, Khan’s dream came true, while, on the other hand, Pakistanis had, finally, found ‘farishta’- to borrow from Tariq Jamil.

The story, thus, began. Passing four years in office, there was never a moment when Khan fell out of favor with the powers that be, nor did they from Khan’s. To many, the marriage was unprecedented. Never before, both the parties- civilian and the Army – were so happy. However, Khan was ill-prepared for the job he was going to undertake is to navigate the drowning ship of the country.

Khan’s area is known for its unpredictable nature. Now and then, TV headlines were littered with changes in government ministries. Neither did he find a good finance minister, nor break the so-called begging bowl. Even worse, public debts skyrocketed in his era. Then, came the next nightmare: Covid-19. Where for the masses it proved lethal, Khan aptly capitalized on the situation. How? Google it. In essence, Khan proved not the man, the public, though not all, voted for.

So, how can a man, who failed to stand by his words, be trusted again? But, for a moment, let the past remain the past. Look at the present. When the country is in the worst hands (Khan and his fans believe so), only a ‘farishta’ like him can deliver the public from excruciating economic pains. Wait for a while. Ask yourself: what makes Khan different from the rest? Isn’t he corrupt? Does he hate dynastic politics? Isn’t he surrounded by the people he opposes?

Gloomily, Khan is not an exception. He shares every notion of the traditional political environment of the country. Take, for example, the Toshakhana case. The case is not just of corruption, but a dent in his dynastic rhetoric. Where he out-rightly bleats the drums of others being dynastic leaders, he allowed his wife to sell, if the leaked audio recording is anything to go by, state property.

And on elitism, Khan hardly lets any opportunity, to bash his political opponent, slips his hands. But, if one looks at the composition of his party, all the leading party leaders are elite, on the one hand, and served in the ranks of, what khan considers, evil parties, on the other hand. Among others, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry, and Babar Awan, to name just a few, are defected members of either PPP or PML (N). And, ironically, PML(Q) is now on the side of PTI. Isn’t it a joke? For, Khan called Pervez Illahi a man never to be aligned with.

Isn’t the above discussion enough to stop us from underpinning hopes, Khan? But, then, who will after all pull out the ‘awam’ of the crisis? The answer is we. Yes, we are the ones who can pull the country out of the crisis. Don’t look here and there, for, every political leader is the caricature of his rival. This is a defining movement. We have to stand on our own. To do so, a personality cult, which has become the hallmark of the politics of the country, should be replaced with a performance cult. We should not blindly follow the leader. But, instead, we need to analyze the performance of our leaders. If they don’t fulfill the prerequisites of a man we need, we should boycott the system. This will indeed help more than voting for current political leaders.

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