Thank you Imran Khan!
What started as a movement to expose electoral rigging in the 2013 elections and to make those involved accountable has now escalated into a revolutionary country wide campaign demanding justice, accountability and rule of law. The political slogan (Go Nawaz Go) that came into being at the Azaadi Dharna has now become an attitude. It’s the voice of the common man! Be it the flood victims in Wazirabad, Pindi Bhatian or Azaad Kashmir, students in Preston University Lahore, the public in Hamza Shahbaz’s jalsa or the people gathered to welcome Info Minister Pervez Rasheed at Allama Iqbal International Airport. You can take people out of the dharna but you can’t take the dharna out of the people! Nawaz Sharif is yet to understand that.
But he isn’t the only one who needs to do some understanding. Our ‘dictatorship-produced-democratic-hero’ Javed Hashmi also needs to think things over. I remember people asking when Afzal Khan (former secretary election commission) came out with his revelations of pre-poll electoral rigging on a TV talk show, why he had kept quiet for months about the matter. Today, I ask them the same question. Why didn’t Javed Hashmi resign and conduct that press conference when Imran Khan told him the ISI was backing him. Why did march by his side from Lahore to Islamabad knowing it was all part of a script? Why did he stay with Imran Khan in that container for 17 days without saying a word and decided to speak up only when he got kicked out of the party?
I have studied his political struggle and I respect the sacrifices he has made as a politician. But exactly where was democracy when he was a minister for Zia Ul Haq? Where was the sanctity of national symbols when the Supreme Court was attacked? Why dint he hold a press conference then? Where was he when intelligence funds in Mehran Bank were used to create IJI? In fact, isn’t he on the list of politicians in the Supreme Court who were funded that way? You aren’t telling me a former minister of a military regime who was allegedly funded by the establishment is here to teach us some democracy? What a joke!
The public wants change and they’ll crush the political existence of anyone who hinders it. Javed Hashmi is one such example. His repeatedly changing theories and statements regarding the army (and foreign forces) backing Imran Khan have made him irrelevant politically just like the other opposition parties. And for that reason Bilawal Bhutto has announced his first jalsa in Karachi on 18th Oct. Imran Khan’ s increasing popularity and support makes PPP nothing but insecure as a political force. MQM has also hinted towards a country wide protests and demonstrations in a press statement after a joint session of Rabitta Committee London and Pakistan. Can’t beat ‘em, Join ’em?
And without doubt, PTI has set a new trend in Pakistani politics. It has mobilized and made relevant sections of the public that never cared about what went around the country ever before. I am just one of those people. Plus, it has increased the level of political awareness in the common man. People have now realized that they have the right not just to question but also to get their questions answered and governments accountable. Pakistan was never in the lists of the countries where people in significant numbers took to the streets for their rights. Now we top those lists. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests shrunk greatly in size after just a two week period. The sit in in Islamabad has crossed day 50 and the numbers are still maintained. This is an irreversible process towards greater and more widespread political awareness in a country with an alarmingly low literacy rate and history will owe Imran Khan for this revolution!