Imran Khan: a disaster for democracy

Posted: November 12, 2018 in Pakistan Politics
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In his not-so-shy-of infinite lust for fame and glory Pakistan’s new prime minister Imran Khan not only abandoned all democratic norms but aided to strengthen the already firm military noose around a country reeling of decades long suppression and suspension of basic rights. His obsession with power and choice of attaining the throne through aid of a not-so-soft putsch on 25th July’s big election day that saw an unprecedentedly large mobilization of soldiers hold the ballot hostage lays bare his strawman credentials and how Khan stands for anything but democratic upliftment in Pakistan. Country that has tried hard for a direly needed facelift and bring itself out of dummy-democracies set up in the past by despot dictators now stands back at square one. Another puppet show is on display and Khan as its lead attraction.

It’s not as if signs hadn’t been glaring down on us. Khan throughout his twenty-two year long political ‘struggle’ has toilsomely sought after shortcut of ‘umpire’s finger’ to heaven. He was birthed into politics by a hardliner General Hameed Gul and later pledged allegiance to a military dictator Musharraf, only to fall out when his unmerited demands weren’t met. He then shook hands with spy chief Shuja Pasha spurring an influx of electables and financiers to his party. Later led an age long sit-in sponsored by another spy chief Zaheeru’l-Islam, and now infamously receives the monicker ‘Ladla’, army’s blue-eyed boy, under the Bajwa brigade.

An alarming ill-effect of his ‘struggle’ has to do with political polarization of an already bigotous society. Whereas, a democratic leader instills patience and forbearance, respect and discipline, Khan has sown seeds of rancor ill-fruits whereof future generations must harvest. His followers tend give off an odour of jarring animosity and carry a repulsive demeanor to any criticism directed towards the man they deem country’s messiah. He’s managed to impregnate a large portion of population with notions negated by reality inasmuch as in a country dominated by the military for seventy years, Khan has somewhat successfully indoctrinated many into taking spearhead politicians and pro-democratic parties for ‘status quo’ responsible for the nation’s stagnant progressive state. Khan diligently describes his political opponents as ‘looters’ who have usurped wealth of the people. Though corruption permeates all levels of our society, more so in ‘holier’ institutions, Khan confines his facade of a crusade to adversaries in political arena, all the while, cheerfully incorporating the same who end up joining hands. He dares not speak a word on much powerful military monopoly that enjoys total impunity stemming from a stranglehold on ‘security’ centric economic agenda.

While pro-democratic leadership is expected to play fair, use the sword of truth and principle for weapon of choice, Khan uses tricks hardly known to the devil in order to gain political leverage. Be it attacking opponents with the notorious religious blasphemy card or exploiting xenophobic social pulses by callously throwing out accusations of collusion with foreign hostile countries, this demagogue wastes no chance of squeezing legitimacy out of fellow parliamentarians, pouncing on every opportunity to spray scandalous allegations of corruption, treachery, even infidelity and polytheism. Such extremist tendencies are rather frightening a prospect, so too alliances with sectarian outfits known for targeting religious minorities.

For one supposed to uphold freedom of expression, Khan strongly exerts media management and cruel censorship. For most part of last five years his party boycotted a pro-democracy media group, broken only when the media house was nigh bankrupt and forced on agreement to adopt favorable policy towards Khan’s party as well as ending critical evaluation of cases lodged against Nawaz Sharif. Sure enough, democracy can never be fruitful under a censor spree that is likely to continue even if Khan prospers on a personal level from unprecedented pressures on impartial media coverage.

Khan’s conduct very often defies his speech. Infamous for his U-turns galore his most striking contradiction relates to how he speaks of accountability yet prefers selective application, which is intrinsically negatory to the notion of justice and rule of law. Though labels his party ‘Tehreek-i Insaf’ (Movement for Justice) and his entire campaign was imbedded in an ‘accountability’ rhetoric, Khan himself flouts rule of law through evasive pretexts, squirming past judicial procedure on every known count. Has failed to satisfy court in alleged illegal foreign funding case lingering now for four years and was handed a hefty favor by the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice in relation to his undeclared foreign assets. Ironically, Khan was a fugitive from law when submitting a successful legal petition that sought disqualification of country’s then prime minister on the basis of lacking integrity and nobility!

Carrying all traits of an autocrat, Prime Minister Imran Khan represents a major regression for Pakistan’s democratic prospects. Imran’s deep and dire dependence on military machinations betrays his insistence of being a constitutionalist. It took suspension of civil liberties, press freedom, abusive judicial activism, harassment, blackmail, victimization and incarceration of front-running contenders, even then a post-poll gerrymandering hitherto unseen in order to bring our ‘Ladla’ to power. Wonder what will it cost to keep him. Regardless, Imran Khan is already a disaster for democracy.


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