An Autopsy Of Change
‘There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.’
The following statement was made by one, Niccolo Machiavelli, a certain someone who perhaps taught the world what power politics is all about, that too, five centuries ago.
Imran Khan, considered to be the harbinger of change for some, an arrogant autocrat for others is truly a man of various shadows. There is the cricketing hero, who won the world cup. The handsome bachelor, irresistible for the ladies and then a husband of a wealthy heiress. The principled social worker which bequeathed the gift of Shaukat Khanum and then of Namal University, both sources of immense pride for our nation and evidence of merit and hard work.
There is yet another Kaptaan, a man not shy of the skills and tactics required to play the game of kings and princes, today we will talk about the new Imran Khan, the Machiavellian Imran Khan.
The events, which have been construed after the 2011 Jalsa in Lahore, are a magnificent tale of opportunist politics and political power struggle, putting even some polished political veterans to shame.
Of course one must understand that modern day politics in a third world country is simply not possible without a continuous and abundant supply of cash. Such necessities often supersede the notions of the kind of cash required, black money, white money or even colorless, as long as its there, the show will keep going.
Kaptaan perhaps learnt this lesson after a long time, two decades of political struggle between two billionaire families should have been enough to tell him what the game is all about. You don’t become ruler of the nation without providing lucrative opportunities to the ruling elite who are always in search of newer, better opportunities to expand their business and political interests.
This leads to the emergence of men like Jehangir Tareen, ridiculously wealthy, unfairly cunning and most certainly part of the established order. The post of secretary general of the party had no other contenders except for a man who owns his own private plane. Perhaps this is the only attribute required to play the game at that level.
The Vice Chairman, a spiritual ruler, a stoic statesman with uncompromising political skills, perhaps more Machiavellian than the former president, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Son of former Governor Punjab, Former Foreign Minister, a man born to rule. Imagine the Oxford educated Imran seated with the Cambridge educated Pir of Multan, generously accepting notes of 10 and 20 rupees from his impoverished ‘Mureeds’ as a token of bestowing them their pir’s physical presence. How can one distinguish slavery from the modern day deception of piri/mureedi? One is ideological while the other is physical.
I am quite certain that Imran Khan does not see anything divine in his right hand man. Besides, these are not the skills he requires, what he needs is power, and charlatans have plenty of it to go around.
It would be fair to say that power is never in one shape or form, it is always shaping and reshaping itself, either increasing or decreasing. Suffice to say that Imran Khan’s power multiplied when he left the road of idealism and chose the path of foretold by the great Machiavelli.
But Machiavelli was far wiser, a man who understood the greats who passed before him, foremost a student rather than a teacher while Imran Khan, deranged in his own limited greatness and celebrity mind is unable to accommodate such intellectual struggles. This is why he made numerous mistakes, not because he wasn’t clear of his goal, but because his own greatness overshadowed his intellect and if politics has taught us anything, it is that intellect always supersedes greatness.
It would then not surprise most people who know the Kaptaan that he committed serious irregularities in the maintaining of the finances of both Shaukat Khanum and PTI. While the finance board of the cancer hospital found it wise to invest in the booming property market of the emirates, they ended up losing millions of dollars, which were given for the sole purpose of charity. Moreover, the donations received by PTI were surprisingly, in the millions of dollars originating from various public and private limited companies originating from world at large. This goes against the fundamental premise of the Political Parties Act, which specifically forbids any political party of Pakistan from receiving funding from abroad and/or from limited companies due to conflict of interest. But of course, like Ayyan Ali of Making dollars fame, a celebrity often casually denies the knowledge in official matters relating to money.
But Imran Khan is no longer a handsome face who just needs to smile to the camera and promise never to break the rules again. He is a man who advertently makes big claims of ridding the country of corruption, while his own party, is rotten by it.
Akbar S Babar, an enigma in Pakistani politics seems to be the antagonist in Kaptaan’s life as of the present time. One of the few people who still have the guts to remind Kaptaan of his unfulfilled promises and exaggerated claims, Akbar S Babar has started to deliver the promise of change by taking action against the corrupt elements within his own party.
The election commission has taken notice of this and the matter is for them to decide but certain hints, originating from PTI itself show that they have much to hide. Ironically, Imran Khan, who challenged Nawaz Sharif to a live political debate cannot fathom the courage to meet his former friend. No other PTI office holder has yet to counter Akbar S Babar on live television, with the latter openly challenging any representative of the former.
Why is it that a man who was trusted enough to be PTI President Baluchistan, Vice President and Central Information Secretary is suddenly not worthy of even a counter argument? Is it because the party leadership expects its workers to bow down to the faults of their superiors? What kind of a democratic party dissociates itself from one of it’s founding members yet is willing accommodate opportunist politicians who was formerly referred to as a ‘chapraasi’? The Machiavellian Imran Khan holds new alliances more worthy than loyal friends, which is why is he more comfortable in Tareen’s plane rather than the company of those who struggled with him.
Justice Wajiuddin, a sane voice in a world where substandard arguments prevail, has also pointed out the state or the lack thereof of affairs in his party. He has provided a show cause notice to Mr. Tareen and has asked him why he should not be dismissed from the party for his role in the irregularities of the intra party elections. The men who did not join Imran Khan entirely driven by their lust for power are finding themselves ignored by the party leadership whilst opportunists and billionaires are accommodated with immense ease.
This was not why the masses rallied to the cause of change, certainly not for the same drawing room politicians seated in the same drawing rooms doing the same things they have always done. The common political worker has to be informed enough to make his own decisions rather than every political opinion coming from the party leadership. Difference is not tolerated in Pakistan, especially not in political parties. A party envisioned for the youth should provide a democratic atmosphere where all voices are heard instead of an atmosphere of fascism where all intellectual discourse comes from the top.
There is another party whose workers Imran Khan has referred to as ‘Zinda Laashein’, simply because they do not allow criticism of their leader. How different are Imran Khan’s tigers in this regard, who do not allow constructive debate with all things relating to their beloved Kaptaan? The battle in Karachi is not for one seat, but it is a battle between political bosses, one seated comfortably in London while the other in Bani Gala. From the political rhetoric stemming from the campaign of one national assembly seat from Lyari, these political bosses are willing to cross all manners of decency in trying to paint their enemies as villains while themselves as saints.
One on hand there is a party, which is plagued by criminal elements conducting extortions, murders and kidnappings. But even with this reputation, they have succeeded in building a grass root level leadership, which is almost entirely based on merit. Why could the party, which promised change, not deliver their promise to the ones who needed it the most?
I appeal to political workers of all caste and creed to struggle for democracy within their own respective parties. Today’s leaders will not be here tomorrow while we will be here to inherit the political structures left by them. It is the duty of each and every political worker no matter how far away from the leadership he may be to espouse a culture of democracy and tolerate differences whether they are on political or non-political issues.
Today’s political parties are the platform for future political growth. They do not belong to any one individual or one family. They belong equally to all of the people who have stood by them in the time of need.
Plato describes the situation with much eloquence.
‘One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors’.