April 24, 2011

Why Imran Khan's sit-in is merely populist politics

Imran Khan addressing the sit-in gathering
We would all like to think that Imran Khan has the ideology and the solutions to Pakistan's problems. We would also like to believe that his statements are workable, and that they will ultimately become Pakistan's North Star when it comes to foreign policy endeavours. Hence, we would like to believe that Imran Khan's sit-in on Peshawer ring road (which is the supply route of NATO supplies) will work and the politicians in charge of our beloved country's affairs will pay heed to what he says.

Imran Khan issued an ultimatum demanding that America stop its drone attacks within Pakistan or else the NATO supply lines will be disrupted. Now I know for a fact that anti-Americanism is a great crowd and loyalty gatherer in Pakistan. But does it serve a purpose? Imran Khan demands that America stop its drone strikes or else the government disbars any future NATO supplies to pass through Pakistan. Noble demand and I agree with him. Because it is our country and only we should have the right to bomb it (duh). But he asks these demands of the wrong people and he lacks the balls to identify the real people who have the authority (or lack of guts?) to stop this madness. Yes, I am talking about General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

So here's the deal: Imran Khan does populist politics at the cost of the government (because there are no repercussions?) and then cherry on top of cake, he bashes the US, the number one punching bag in Pakistan. I'm not defending the US here, I'm just saying things like they are. Although I must say I mighty impressed with Imran Khan, shows he's finally learning how to play politics.

The NATO supply lines that run through Pakistan are controlled and managed by the Pakistan army. The drone attacks that take place within Pakistan take place with the consent of the army. What stops the army from contacting the Pakistan Air Force and scrambling fighter jets from Risalpur to shoot down these drones if they cause that much angst to our army chief or ISI chief? And if that's "too much of a hassle", why doesn't the army use its anti-aircraft guns to shoot down these drones? Or are the guns mere show pieces?

So Imran Khan, the question is till when will you keep giving rhetorical statements, make rhetorical gestures, and do your politics on rhetoric? Where is your policy, your strategy on foreign and interior affairs? If you say you can stop terrorist attacks within Pakistan in one month, then why don't you go ahead and do it? Do us Pakistanis this favour? Or do the lives of Pakistanis don't matter to you like the current bunch of sadists ruling over us? Because if you can stop the terrorist attacks after coming into power (by talking to the terrorists and their ilk) I believe you can also talk to them right now, when you're not in power.

I keep giving Khan chances. I keep believing he will change and will rise above the petty, populist and emotional politics and he keeps failing me. Why doesn't he berate the army for not having the balls to take on America's drones? Exactly.

We are America's lackeys. America feeds us, hence we do what it asks us to do. There is nothing we can do about it even though we cringe and crib about it. Keeping the anti-America and anti-India shenanigans in place helps the army keep the country and its policies under its thumbs. Until Imran Khan starts addressing these real problems that make this country go all wrong, he will only earn the respect of confused Pakistanis and no one else.