IMRAN Khan’s injuries resulting from a fall from a forklift during a poll rally in Lahore on Tuesday gave the nation some anxious moments and it was a moment of relief when doctors declared the PTI chief out of danger. Unfortunate though it was, such an accident was not entirely unexpected. The hair-raising somersault only underscored the utter disregard of safety measures in the boisterous rallies that are an essential feature of our electioneering. The threat to life doesn’t come from the militants alone; the chaos that is the hallmark of all public activity in South Asia poses perhaps an equal threat to life and limb. Too many party workers and supporters want to be on the dais and be seen close to the leader, resulting in the kind of jostling and pushing witnessed on Tuesday evening.

But what was a welcome departure from all the mudslinging that has characterised the campaigning was the mature response of politicians — across the political spectrum — to Mr Khan’s plight. For instance, Mr Khan and Nawaz Sharif had been at each other’s throats even before the campaigns began. With the approach of election day, the vitriol had scaled new heights. However, on Tuesday, the PML-N chief announced the cancellation of all campaign activity for Wednesday. Mr Sharif had expressed similar solidarity with the Bhutto family on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto that had resulted in the postponement of polls by several weeks. Apart from Mr Sharif, messages of sympathy for the PTI leader poured in from other party heads and politicians. They ranged from political foes including Altaf Hussain and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to friends such as Syed Munawar Hassan and Maulana Samiul Haq, not to speak of Pervez Musharraf. The MQM and the Jamaat-i-Islami announced a halt to campaigning for a day, and President Asif Ali Zardari, who is frequently criticised by the PTI, sent him a bouquet. Equally heartening was Mr Khan’s own attitude as he spoke from his hospital bed, urging the people to cast their vote on May 11.

This maturity has been welcomed by a nation that often views its representatives with cynicism. However, one niggling thought remains. Why have many of the leaders moved by Tuesday’s dreadful spectacle not shown the same sympathy for those killed and wounded in the election rallies bombed by the TTP? Were these victims and their grieving relatives lesser human beings undeserving of solace because they belonged to the ‘wrong’ political parties?

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Comments (37)

May 9, 2013 6:53 pm

What is so "mature" about a response that should be the "norm" for any human when he sees another getting hurt?

Secondly, if Sami-ul-Haq deserves to be called "Maulana", do realize that Pervez Musharraf has also earned the rank of "General" and that too by not sitting on the fence, but rather through service to his Country during both war and peace. Please give General Musharraf the respect that he deserves and address him with the title that he has "earned". I know you folks in the media have a tendency to judge people guilty before the courts of the law do, but the respect owed to the former Army Chief should remain intact and it would be nice for a change that the editors at Dawn also took note of this.

Peace Lover
May 9, 2013 5:59 am
Nawaz Sharif pledged cancellation of his election campaign, but he addressed Jalsa in Pindi and same was done by his brother at Ghalib Market on Wednesday......
May 9, 2013 5:37 am
Its just good politics. When a national hero falls, no one wants to become a villian and that is what PMLN were most worries about. Good and mature politics is yet to come.
May 9, 2013 5:01 am
I have no political affiliation with any party. Human values are well regarded by humans and not by inhuman like TTP. Either it is TTP or JUI, JI or whatever name they carry, truth is Islamic parties are fanatically extremist. Islam is a name of peaceful religion and doesn’t advocate violence but these mullas translated Islamic teachings according to their desire and wishes. This is not holy war, but war for power, war for land and so on so forth. These are war lords and nothing else.
Jamila Begum
May 9, 2013 4:40 am
Well said Dawn!!! Why not the same level of sympathy for the innocent citizens (including young children) killed by terrorists???
May 9, 2013 11:28 pm
May God bless Imran Khan a speedy and complete recovery. Ameen. I have been telling and writing since much before election campaign started that only an unpredictable miracle could get PTI a clean majority to form Govt without the help of PPP and PMLN. Hence in the best interest of his party and workers Imran Khan should decide before hand either to make electoral alliance with PPP or PMLN. Hence with comfortable majority of the winning alliance PTI could have their own ministers and governors as well as the experience before next election. This would have also encouraged the PTI workers.
May 10, 2013 12:07 am
Unfortunately it is India which has not matured yet for Pakistan my friend. I am sure if India becomes sincere, it will find Pakistan on it's side.
Prakash Rao
May 9, 2013 5:52 am
It appears an accident of this nature or a death at the hands of militants will only evoke mature and sympathetic reaction from political opponents.
May 10, 2013 12:31 am
Taqdees Pervaiz
May 9, 2013 2:58 pm
There is no doubt that all lives carry equal value. All human beings are equal in all regards. Equality is what Islam teaches us. I think all of the leaders condemns recent attacks on innocent people. Is there anyone who didn't? And obviously, other leaders cannot gain more respect if they show sympathy to common people as compared to a rival leader. And media is the only channel which displays the expressions of the leaders. But i would like to ask one question to the author of this article. If two lives are at stake, one the leader who is working day and night for nation and can be proved as valuable asset to the nation. Second, the innocent and common man. And you are the one who can save the life of one person out of them. Which one you will choose? There are different values of Human lives which are fixed by ourselves. And media plays the major role in this regard.
saqib hussain
May 9, 2013 4:03 pm
May 9, 2013 3:19 pm
you are not tracking news closely. hundreds of incidents of kidnapping happen in india which you do not know. please update yourself
May 9, 2013 2:56 pm
strange.a security person looses balance and leads to fall of imran khan. security chap is safe and khan is badly come security chaps are always involved in mishaps.
Zack Khan
May 9, 2013 2:54 pm
I totally agree with the article!
Zack Khan
May 9, 2013 2:53 pm
But you do have to say something negative about Pakistan!
Zack Khan
May 9, 2013 2:52 pm
I don't think you get it!
May 9, 2013 4:56 pm
Sridhar, You gotto to be kidding me! Besides when you have a country the size of India with over a billion people, validation from one individual about absence of kidnapping does not matter. And of course the murder of Rajiv Ghandi during a public appearance was just a murder and not kidnapping. My point is that South Asian politics (including India) is marred with violance so let us not try to prove our innocence on either side of the border.
Mohammad Zafar
May 10, 2013 4:01 am
All are equal but some are more equal
May 10, 2013 3:37 am
Really...I hope you r right...
May 10, 2013 2:06 am
We have been telling Imran Khan to hold to something when you go high. Thank God he was not hurt seriously.
May 9, 2013 6:59 am
Great article, Beautiful point raised. we as a nation have failed to recognize the essence of a human life, people who's families have been affected can only know the loss which will prevail on them forever. I hope we vote sensibly in these elections?
May 9, 2013 7:30 am
Unfortunately, the recent events have also shown cowardness and submission to mullahs rather than to Allah in the case of cheap fatwas against Mr. Khan. It was really disappointing that he in reality turned out to be a mullah in disguise and couldn't stand up to political mullahs. Only God can save Pakistan.
May 9, 2013 9:19 am
good article
Ankahi Baatein
May 9, 2013 4:05 pm
Over the unfortunate and unproductive years of their respective rules, PPP and PML-N have seemed to mature poiltically! But the writer has correctly pointed towards the bitter truth that such emotions were not shown when innocent people were killed during the election campaign! Each and Every life is valuable! I hope better sense prevails in the coming days!
PML(n) Supporter
May 9, 2013 11:07 am
All the Best Imran Khan- Get well soon and Join the arena
May 9, 2013 12:19 pm
This kind if thing happens only in pakistan, not south asia. I have not heard of one incidence of kidnapping during electioneering in India in its 60 plus history of democracy.
May 9, 2013 12:42 pm
South Asia is not just India.
Agha Ata (USA)
May 9, 2013 1:19 pm
If each party postponed its rallies or meetings for a day, for every person killed, I wonder if the collections could be held this ear or even during this decade. lol
May 9, 2013 1:48 pm
Yes, indeed reflects the matured mentality of leaders. I strongly hope and request People of pakistan that same maturity should be shown towards the India. So, the southeast asia will flourish with friendship and economically. Fighting brothers should focus their energies for country development rather than useless rage of history.
May 9, 2013 2:17 pm
This shows the true character of our nation, in times of pain we are one.
May 9, 2013 2:22 pm
Imran may well be the future PM of Pakistan and consequently, every measure should have been in place to prevent any mishap.
May 9, 2013 2:26 pm
Pervez Musharraf? He is NOT supposed to be watching TV .. is he?
May 9, 2013 5:57 pm
Here we go again from a nosy neighbor. Cannot stay out, but cannot resist the temptation of Pak bashing also. First read what the article is about before going on your rampage
Agha Ata (USA)
May 9, 2013 5:11 pm
Oooops. "Election" (not collection) :(
May 10, 2013 9:41 am
Khatam karo yeay jagidari aur baradari system, vote karo PTI, aik neya Pakistan kay leayay!
May 10, 2013 1:33 pm
I am really Hoping for PTI to win this elections
May 10, 2013 5:51 pm
Falling from Stage is a good thing for Imran, 1. He can be safe in hospital and not worry about getting shot by Taliban/ISI/external forces 2. He will score few sympathy votes 3. He gets much needed rest
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