Saturday, 6 September 2014

Ten Points of Difference with Imran Khan’s PTI

There is a need to take stock of PTI’s approach to politics in the wake of Azadi March. There are many loose ends which warrant tidying up like vision, leadership, decision making, organization and performance. Time for PTI to face few facts:-

1.            Timing of Azadi March. Mere fourteen months in to the govt, PTI should have given time to the ruling party to commit more blunders. PML (N) leadership is prone to axing own feet e.g. Model Town massacre, ever expanding family business, nepotism, abuse of power through police and other institutions of the state.  It was a matter of time, ruling party, would have lost moral authority to rule the country. Rigging allegation was a potent tool to maintain requisite political pressure on the govt but all out Azadi March should have waited a little more.

2.            KPK Performance. Having formed govt in KPT, PTI needed to make a difference with her performance. There were few heartening indicators of good governance in KPK which needed to mature to create an impact. Secondly, PTI failed to promote her good work which it had done so far in KPK.

3.            Political Support.          IK has opted for solo political flight and appears to be politically isolated. Let alone parliamentary parties, Jamat-e-Islami, despite being his ally in the KPT govt, did support his political move. Although, Dr Qadri’s PAT is in direct support of Azadi March, yet it is not being recognized as a relevant political force. PAT is not part of parliament and partly for her peculiar theological undertone. Concerted effort must have gone in to muster sufficient political support before embarking upon an Azadi March of this scale. Indeed other political forces prefer to maintain status quo, still their political relevance should have not been disregarded. Extensive political maneuvering before Azadi March could have pacified synchronized opposition by govt and remaining political forces.

4.            Nexus with PAT
.           Aura of romance keeps us from realistic appraisal of consequences, naturally resulting in unhappy & untimely breakups. This is the story of love affair between PTI & PAT. Commonalities are few and far between like unison march to Islamabad and political support to each other’s agenda. However, destination of both is wide apart. PTI stands for fall of govt and re-election remaining within current political system. Whereas, PAT stands for complete makeover of the system. Suppose if PM resigns, PTI would want quick re-election but PAT will not be satisfied with this. In short, it seems that no real deliberation has gone in on end state of current political crisis by PTI & PAT. They seem content with dealing with things on issue to issue basis but there is a strong possibility that there will be serious consensus issue between these parties if things move to next level from current stalemate.

5.            Party Organization. Tremendous amount of work needed to be done on party organization of PTI. It is a GT Road and internet party. Except Karachi, PTI has zero representation in Sindh. Situation is no different in Balochistan. At least, couple of rigorous years were needed to establish the party where it was non-existent. Likewise, in Punjab and KPK, further strengthening of party roots was required. Even if elections are announced today, PTI will face serious problems like 2013 General Elections to nominate the candidates. Party is banking too much on personality and charisma of IK. This may yield short term political gains but philosophy of ‘Naya Pakistan’ may be laid to rest with IK’s exit from political scene.

6.            On Javed Hashmi episode and many other incidences, IK appeared to be stereotype political leader, who could not take no for an answer.  There might be hundred reasons for JH’s exodus but the handling of the issue was done in an apolitical fashion. He could have called core committee’s session and sent him off in a democratic way. Patience, tolerance to resistance within and outside party and political flexibility are much desired from political leadership at national level.

7.            IK has been equated with Quaid-e-Azam by some enthusiasts. Does not seem to be a fair parallel. Particularly, Quaid-e-Azam was a political genius who was a man of principles and great patience. Being a fast bowler, IK admitted himself that he lacked patience which is amplified by his untimely Azadi March. Few are reminded of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto when they see huge crowds gathering on his call. Again, an unwarranted comparison. Political acumen of ZAB was much superior. Other pronounced difference was that when ZAB announced he was going to bring middle class to assemblies, he gave party tickets to lower middle class and lived by his word. Whereas, there are serious question marks on IK’s ticket distribution and credibility of his close aides.


PTI fielded young and energetic spokesperson
           media and talk shows like Murad Khan, Aysha Gulalai Wazir, Naz Baloch etc who lacked political depth and authority to fight party’s case. Senior leadership was also visible but most of the air time went to these young guns. A bold initiative which did not pay off.

9.            Conservative outlook of our society is a reality. This sensitivity must be respected. Female section of crowd doing Luddi and dance moves did not go down well. Opponents exploited this for political point scoring and non-political segment of society did not really endorse this. Albeit, the tendency has been curbed after initial few days.
10.     Lastly, the Maximalist approach of not calling off Azadi March without PM’s resignation is not convincing. Govt has a right of dillydallying. It is PTI, who has to play her cards wisely. Even if PTI is handed over the country now, it is presently not in a shape to run the affairs of the state. Unless there is reliable party structure in place down to grass root level, this type of demand will discredit PTI. Leadership of PTI needed few more years to fully mature. They had a golden opportunity to fix the nut bolts of their party while running affairs of KPK. Integrity is a priceless attribute, but it is not the only attribute necessary to run the affairs of a country. IK often refers to the welfare state of Medina but somehow it is felt that he did not carefully study the political acumen, vision and wisdom of the Leader (PBUH) and Chief Executive (PBUH) of that state.