December 30, 2010

The Imran Khan bandwagon

Imran Khan
Imran Khan is known primarily in Pakistan as a true cricketing hero. He is a sporting god, if such an entity were to exist. His personality has been made larger than life because he won us the cricket world cup in 1992. He then took his winnings from the world cup and used them to finance Pakistan’s best and most awesome cancer hospital called Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital. Then people remember him as the man who is a magnanimous philanthropist. He comes on TV and uses his goodwill to collect money which is then wisely spent in areas where it is needed.

Right then, what have we learnt about Imran Khan so far? Oh yeah, that he is a cricketing legend; that he is a merciful human being; and that he is a philanthropist. What he isn’t though is sadly be a politician, and it is high time he stopped bothering with that nonsensical thing called politics. You see people like Imran Khan survive on populism alone. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it means that they refuse to “think” things and proceed to make statements, pronounce judgements, and well do pretty much everything else with their hearts instead of their brains. The problem with populist politics is that it seldom reflects upon or acknowledges the realities on the ground. Take Imran Khan’s very own example here. He hates the US, and he wants them to leave Afghanistan. But what next? Does he have any policy on how Pakistan is to bear the influx of Afghan refugees who will inadvertently cross into Pakistan to step away from the infighting and chaos that will engulf Afghanistan if the Taliban return? Does he have any policy plans to deal with the repatriation of those refugees? Does he think he can negotiate with the terrorists seen roaming on the streets of Wana et al?

The thing is, the majority of Pakistanis just want to see the US lose. Imran Khan epitomises their dream because he too wants the Americans to lose. That is his failing. You see a great leader does not base his stance in mere rhetoric alone. The people, and no doubt his supporters who will bash me beneath this post, are the ones who like Imran Khan because he makes all the right noises. Those right noises do not necessarily translate into a good omen for Pakistan. A while back when I wrote an article on Imran Khan, people said that he is the only person who has proved himself to be truthful and able; they said he has successfully run Namal college and the board of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust, and will bring an end to the extra judicial killings of Pakistanis; he will ensure rapid dispensation of justice and he will break the hold of feudal. What they fail to realize however, is that running a college and running a country are require different calibres and different mindsets. What they also fail to mention is how he will ensure his points’ viability. Merely stating what everyone wants is hardly called having a vision.

Yes Imran Khan is a figure par excellence. But he is a figure par excellence in non political terms. When politics is put into the equation, Imran Khan has failed miserably. His political party has never shown the grit or the character to become a mainstream party. Sure they have representation from all four corners of the country and Khan is a particular favourite with the youth of this country, but how much of this support has actually materialized into votes? Very few if any. When Musharraf was in power, Tehreek-e-Insaaf had just one seat in the Parliament and that one seat belonged to Imran Khan.

The hallmark of a great political leader is that he ensures that the homeland always comes first. Personal egos and fiefdoms are not brought into the resolution of matters. For far too long Imran Khan has preached what is staring us in the face; but how does he intend to achieve what has eluded us for more than 63 years is beyond my comprehension. Unless Khan can start talking in deliverables, he is merely politicking on the basis of rhetoric.