THOSE looking for a party to end the individuals’ hold on Pakistan politics must have been disappointed by Imran Khan’s address to a big rally in Lahore on March 23. And those who had seen in him the promise of an independent, refreshing (even progressive) thrust for change are not too pleased with his closeness with the Jamaat-i-Islami.

No, Imran Khan at the Minar last Saturday was no carbon copy of the cricket captain who spoke at Melbourne on March 25, 1992; it couldn’t have been so, given the change in scope. Then, while lifting the World Cup, he had allowed his person and his personal cause to hog the limelight, at the cost of his team. Now, as the leader of a party with a much bigger task ahead, there was still just too much of ‘I’ in his speech. This was a long introduction to Imran Khan to those who needed no introduction to his religious views and his honesty, to those who instead needed him to spell out his plans for the future; his party’s manifesto.

If it was the rain which prevented Imran Khan from divulging his political plan at the rally, at least some part of his poll strategy was revealed after his meeting the following day with the JI chief, Syed Munawar Hasan. Not everyone was pleased to know that, after its shows of strength, the PTI still has to talk seat adjustments with the JI.

Mr Khan has been close to the JI, but even with all the emphasis on religion in his discourse, the move to ally himself with the Jamaat is difficult to understand in political terms. Imran Khan’s distinction lies in him being free from past afflictions. A partnership with a party that has been pretty much part of the system, even if it is one that is ideologically compatible with PTI, could detract from this appeal. It could help the JI get some of its candidates elected but could also cost the PTI some potential voters.

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Comments (30)

March 28, 2013 4:08 am
My question is, do we have a better choice? Yes! IK's closeness to JI is not the ideal break out from status quo but if we dont vote for IK then we automatically will be in the hands of the current setup. I think IK is the best option!!
Jalaluddin S. Hussain
March 28, 2013 2:44 am
Imran Khan is not joining Jamaat, he is only doing some election "adjustments". His seat adjustments decision is only an election strategy. Jamaat may be a conservative party but this Pakistani Party has done a lot of good things. They are not corrupt. I will still vote for Imran Khan's Party if I were an eligible Pakistani voter and not a Canadian living in a far-off land.
March 28, 2013 3:18 am
it seems you guys are confused yourself. If the people of pakistan were sensible they would not allowed these two tradtional parties to come in to power for five years and bring pakistan in to this position. Now plase be sensible and cast your vote to a proper leadership and save pakistan.
March 27, 2013 10:10 pm
Pakistan's misfortune and worse days are ahead if opportunists and arrogant people like Imran Khan form a government or even sit in the parliament. Pakistanis are still unable to judge the character of their politicians (if Imran Khan can be called a politician). Simply pathetic!
Z Khan
March 27, 2013 10:04 pm
It baffles me big time whenever Imran Khan/PTI have talks with religious parties, all hells break lose and the knives are out from our so called liberals. they do not apply the same rule to PML N, PPP or any other party who enters into an alliance with religious parties. test in case is PMLN alliance with JUI-F or PPP alliance with JUI-F. I would love to know the stance of the author about it.
Agha Ata (USA)
March 27, 2013 12:57 pm
Shaking hands with JI is a tip of the ice berg. It points to the mindset of Imran Khan which will finally create all those problems that we have been having concerning minorities, women and all the joys of life (with one exception of Cricket, of course). It is like avoiding to fall in a well, and having a big round to come back to the same well to fall. It is no danger for anyone we have been fighting against, not even for Taliban, PTI is no Tsunami, but just a storm in the teacup!
March 28, 2013 4:21 pm
Good comment. Thanks for raising your voice.
March 27, 2013 12:42 pm
PTI should go it alone without any seat adjustment/horse-trading with JI or any other outfit. The whole idea to support PTI is to break the mould with traditional parties as PTI has more than enough appeal from the younger votebank to hold it's own! Any votes gained from association with JI could also cost IK from the loss of genuine PTI support!
Iftikhar Husain
March 27, 2013 12:32 pm
I totally agree with the contents of the editorial.
Karachi Wala
March 27, 2013 3:29 pm
Mullah in closet who is now coming out.
hafeez noori
March 27, 2013 8:21 pm
if jamaat e islami is nothing,i can not understand why people are so scared of it
March 27, 2013 7:48 pm
The only JI member without a beard, actually.
March 27, 2013 1:21 pm
I can never vote for a religious party, and I will never vote for any of their partners.
March 27, 2013 6:47 pm
this party JI has proved more harmful to Pakistan than india. Imran khan is heading in wrong direction..... Party was rightly banned by quaid e azam .....
N. Ahmed
March 27, 2013 4:20 am
TI & JI has much in common, that is a natural closeness seen publically.
ahmad butt
March 27, 2013 4:20 am
You can say "saved by the rain" , i dont think it will work out, they will negotiate and once PTI and Imran Khan realise that they might lose a few votes, they will go solo.
March 27, 2013 4:22 am
Strange to see only a mild criticism of Imran Khan on serious issues. Why the media loves Imran Khan so much?
Cyrus Howell
March 27, 2013 6:22 pm
Imran Khan has name recognition in the public mind. People will not be forgetting his name when they show up to vote. The press and the media has to cover IK.
Cyrus Howell
March 27, 2013 6:13 pm
Imran Khan is an angry man. The question is - what exactly is he angry about?
Cyrus Howell
March 27, 2013 6:01 pm
This will be without any doubt the most interesting election Pakistan has ever held. Could this be progress?
March 27, 2013 5:10 am
My faith in Imran Khan has started to fade. Are we going to hand the reins of our country, already devastated by tendencies of religious intolerance, into hands of a man who remains so inclined towards right? The hope of many young, progressive minds is started to fade now. IK , you disappoint me!
March 27, 2013 5:16 am
Nothing but truth, but now all the editor has to do is to wait for the PTI web squads to bring him to his senses.
March 27, 2013 5:32 am
Musharaff was right when he said 10 years back that Imran Khan is a mullah without a beard...Musharaff seemed to be a smart guy...
Amer Malik
March 27, 2013 5:25 pm
A disappointment to all the PTI workers in Bahawalpur, where both the NA and PP seat given to Bahawalpur National Party and JI, respectively. I remember a PTI ISF member preaching Imran's words: Politics is religion, fight all the way for it and be brave. And here, important seats given away to forge an alliance with a local party fighting for the sole cause of a new province, amidst the country on fire.
March 27, 2013 7:58 am
imran is nothing but a born again muslim i seriously doubt he could do much for pakistan, other then shake up the established parties, whuch may help pakistn in the long run, as other parties may try to be more accountable to the people his idea of negotiating with taliban is in one word is bad , u do not negotuate from position of weakness, u destroy them and then negotiate, and give them ur term and condition, with a take it or leave it attitude if only he can get rid of a major portion of corruption avenue he will have done his bit for the country Richie
March 27, 2013 8:57 am
I hope this happens
Gerry D'Cunha
March 27, 2013 9:26 am
PTI's closeness with the Jamaat-i-Islami is no a good sigh for the party
March 27, 2013 4:03 pm
He needs to shake hand with any of the parties n JI is the party with less corrupt ppl so choosing JI as an ally is not bad..
March 27, 2013 4:25 pm
When we do not judge other political parties for making alliances and adjusting seats, but do so with PTI, we are guilty of the same that we blame PTI for, i.e., being intolerant.
March 27, 2013 10:06 am
He has cultivated one image for the outside world and one for within Pakistan. He is a mullah in a closet..
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