Back to the pavilion

Published April 10, 2022

AT one point late last night, it seemed as if all the pillars of the state were on course for a catastrophic collision. Calamity seemed ready to strike at the highest levels of the state. Even with his ouster a near certainty, Mr Imran Khan seemed more than willing to turn a simple parliamentary procedure into a farce by forcing the heads of the judiciary and military, along with the entire legislature, to play along to the ‘last ball’ of his tiresome ruse.

He was forced to finally let go just as the clock was about to run out on the day, allowing the opposition to finally have its say. And thus, in the early hours of Constitution Day, the PTI government fell not with a bang, but a whimper in the dead of the night.

Read: 'Welcome back to purana Pakistan': Politicians, pundits react to PM Imran's ouster

When it emerged as the single largest party in the 2018 elections, the PTI had promised to be a breath of fresh air. Though political engineering and a faulty results transmission system had diminished the legitimacy of its victory, the country had been generally willing to give it a chance. However, the party almost immediately found itself falling short of its lofty ideals.

Due to its failure to secure a simple majority, it shook hands with non-democratic forces to make a claim on the federal government. If the party’s leaders had believed that the compromise could be compensated by their achievements in office, they were soon to be let down by their inexperience. Within a year, the prime minister was scrambling to reshuffle his cabinet.

What was unfortunate was that instead of introspecting and compensating for its shortcomings, the PTI chose to go after the opposition instead. The strategy put off many who were expecting it to deliver real change. Meanwhile, it became increasingly reliant on the establishment for ‘guidance’ in key decision-making areas. This ultimately proved fatal for it when the establishment decided they would no longer be providing any crutches for the government to stand on.

Though inexperience ultimately became its undoing, the PTI did also record some commendable achievements. Successful handling of the Covid pandemic, the multifaceted Ehsaas programme and a new public health insurance scheme made a positive difference in many citizens’ lives. Many will remember the former prime minister for it. Therefore, even if Mr Khan’s time in government is up, it would be unwise to write him off.

Read: Does PTI have a future?

He has always been a ferocious challenger when in the opposition; a fighter who doggedly pursues his goals. His unrelenting zeal and sense of divine mission make him a formidable force in Pakistan’s politics. One hopes, however, that his next avatar will have evolved from the vitriolic demagogue he has become. It is important for a true leader to unite the nation, not poison it with divisive narratives and corrosive politics. He would do well to recognise this.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

IMF’s firm stance
Updated 05 Feb, 2023

IMF’s firm stance

Pakistan needs to complete the review to stave off a default as well as to unlock inflows from other multilateral and bilateral lenders.
Grotesque bigotry
05 Feb, 2023

Grotesque bigotry

FREEDOM to profess one’s faith is guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan. However, for the country’s Ahmadi...
Kashmir reflections
05 Feb, 2023

Kashmir reflections

ASIDE from Kashmir Day, which the nation is observing today as an official holiday, there are a number of other days...
Crisis conference
Updated 04 Feb, 2023

Crisis conference

PTI's refusal to engage with the govt in such testing times will only be seen as sign of ideological bankruptcy.
Revenge politics
04 Feb, 2023

Revenge politics

A SENSE of déjà-vu prevails as cases pile up against PTI politicians, many of whom, along with their allies and...
Inappropriate remarks
04 Feb, 2023

Inappropriate remarks

OFFICIALS of the state, especially when representing the country at international forums, need to choose their words...