Malik M Ashraf
UNDETERRED by internal rifts in the party, Qadri’s refusal to join his proposed march on Raiwind, dwindling attendance at his public rallies and electoral set-backs in the recent past and no likelihood of the third umpire to play any role, Imran Khan is determined to take the plunge on Sept 30. His obsession with self-righteousness and impulsive steak to hurl unsubstantiated and false allegations against PML (N) leadership, government functionaries has certainly not endeared him well to the people. That adequately explains the reasons for his waning popularity.
He never tires of crying hoarse about oppressive system of governance and the corruption that it breeds but has done nothing to make his contribution to reform the system. He is deliberately trying to promote politics of rowdiness as is evident from his convulsions and indiscretions during the sit-in at Islamabad and the tone and tenor of his address to the party convention at Islamabad the other day while announcing the decision to go ahead with the march on Raiwind. It would be the most regrettable scenario as it would only be the poor and diehard supporters of his party and the PML (N) who will become victims of the unfolding violence. The people need to wake up and thwart the designs of Imran Khan and refrain from taking part in any rally that is meant to create chaos and disruption in the country.
Holding public rallies, opposing the government policies and striving for changes in the system of governance is the legitimate and constitutional right of the opposition in a democratic dispensation. But that right is required to be exercised within the ambit of law and universally recognized democratic traditions instead of resort to violence and disruptive means. Imran Khan is undoubtedly pursuing a very dangerous course. Holding demonstrations in front of private residences of politicians and surrounding them is even ethically wrong and if Imran Khan is allowed to go ahead with his planned march, it would set a very wrong precedence.
The PTI chief is also well advised to revisit his political creed and devise better strategy to achieve his objective and avoid confrontational politics which the country can ill-afford at this critical juncture of its history. An impregnable internal unity is needed to ward off the dangers lurking on the horizon and to thwart nefarious designs of the enemies of the country. The PML (N) government is firmly entrenched in the saddle as it enjoys the support of the majority of people. People have kept their faith in the party in spite of Imran’s continuous diatribe against it as is reflected by the results of Local Bodies elections and AJK polls. That faith stems from the performance of the government in tackling the formidable challenges like terrorism that it inherited. The Raiwind March could even become Imran’s waterloo.
Corruption is a phenomenon that afflicts the entire society. It can be effectively tackled through systemic changes introduced through collective wisdom of the political leadership with sincerity of purpose. And the only forum through which these reforms can be promulgated, is Parliament. Imran needs to repose his faith in the system, state institutions and the constitution. He should return to Parliament and make required contribution to the process of reforms instead of trying to rock the boat.
Next elections are less than two years away. Therefore, instead of wasting time on agitations he should focus on devising strategies to mount an effective challenge to his adversaries in the coming elections and come up with reforms programme which he can easily sell to the people to win their franchise. That is the only way he can fulfil his political ambitions without the assistance of the ‘third umpire’.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.