From bowl to poll
25th July, 2018 was the most important day in the history of Pakistan. The people of Pakistan for the first time rejected the dynastic politics of Sharif’s and Zardari’s/Bhutto’s. Especially, for the cricketer turned politican, Imran khan it was the field day and a day to kick off a new career (PM of Pakistan). It was Khan Sahib’s captainship that won the cricket world cup in 1992 and bought laurels to his Nation. His cricket days are known by his bravery, courage and a great will power.
During his hay days Imran was known as ‘playboy’ for his smartness and a glamorous life. He is a well read person and has studied at Oxford. At Oxford, Imran was an attractive cricketer believes the Ex-Indian foreign Minister, Salman Khurshid (he was also his batchmate at Oxford university). “Imran is no ordinary mortal”, says Khurshid.
De facto, Imran has a different persona. His married life is very much catchy and full of controversies. Recently his rx-wife, Reham Khan in her book made some serious allegations which were quite blasphemous. Recting to ex-wife’s remarks Imran said that marrying with Reham was his biggest blunder and denied her allegations strongly.
However, the real litmus test for Khan’s leadership is now, as he has been elected as Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Managing a squad of 20 to a country of nearly 200 million is a quit difficult and a big deal. Also, in a country where democracy is in shambles, where military dictates the policies, where so far 6 prime ministers have been disqualified etc is very hectic to govern the masses easily. Khan has also been labelled by quite a few people that he is the military candidate and Army’s puppet. The opposition has strongly alleged that elections were rigged and had been engineered. The former PM of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif on Thrusday alleged that the polls had been stolen. “It would be too early to accept or reject the election results “, said Sherry Rehman, the senior Pakistan People’s Party leader and leader of the opposition in the Senate. “But we have already raised the question over the elections and its results”( Dawn.com). Also, the Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi, Hafiz Naeem ur Rehman expressed the displeasure with the whole election process and raised questions on the transparency of election.
But, matter of the fact is that Imran is now the PM of Pakistan and there is no denying the fact that people voted him and especially, his party’s manifesto. The people’s verdict has candidly shown that people of Pakistan had been fed up with the age old parties and huge corruption. They wanted the change; change to make Naya Pakistan (new Pakistan), Change for stable Pakistan and change from dictatorship to democracy. But now the question arises how Imran will rule country. Will he fulfill his promises that he has made with the people of Pakistan, will he be able to frame the foreign policy which has been every time dictated by the Army. These things will get revealed with passage of time. In fact, Imran’s party–Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has many things in their agenda. They want to eliminate corruption from the whole Pakistan and has promisd to built “New Pakistan”. Khan Sahib too revealed many things in his first victorious speech. He pitched for dialogue between Pakistan and India and wished to resolve Kashmir dispute through talks. “Kashmiris are suffering for long. We have to solve Kashmir issue by sitting across the table. If India’s leadership is willing then the both of us can solve this issue through dialogue. It will be good for the subcontinent also,” he said. Imran also said that both the countries should come to terms and shun the blame game. “This blame game that whatever goes wrong in Pakistan’s Balochistan is because of India and vice versa brings us back to square one,” he said. Here, we also want to correct Khan Sahib and remind him that there is no comparison between Kashmir and Balochistan. Kashmir is a dispute and an issue of ‘occupation’ while Balochistan is an adminstrational issue. Obviously, there are issues in Balochistan but in no way we can compare it with Kashmir. Imran’s statement was hailed by every Kashmiri. We Kashmiris are more yearning for peace and have been fed up with the wounds of conflict. We hope beyond the lip service Imran can show pragmatic yet practical approach towards Kashmir. We wish he can internationalise this serious issue through the diplomatic ties and also, can mobilise the whole Muslim world, make them aware about the attrocities and oppression which the Kashmiris are facing at the hands of the world’s largest democracy –India. Thus, from his victorious speech we expect a lot from him. He not only talked about Kashmir but also explained why he prefered politics over cricket. “I want to clarify why I entered politics. Politics could not have given me anything. I wanted Pakistan to become the country that my leader Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had dreamed of,” he said. Not only this he also said that he will make a ‘Naya Pakistan’ which would be an Islamic welfare state. “I want to share the kind of Pakistan envision – the type of state that was established in Madina, where widows and the poor were taken care of,” Imran said.
However, these may be mere political rhetoric and only confined to wishes. We have seen many politicians who have used such language in the beginning but at the end of day have failed to fulfill any promises and have misused people’s mandate.
Speaking to WION channel Imran’s ex-wife, Reham khan labelled him Mr. U-turn …as he has failed earlier in his promises. Reham Khan went to the extent and said that Imran has a confused personality and has not a quality of a leader. But, one thing interesting which she said is in Pakistan many politicians have been used as scapegoats by the Army and thus, she infered, same will be meted out by Imran. Reham Khan is correct to some extant that in Pakistan its Army which actually rules the roust. “The Army is the strongest institution. It calls the shots. It is a reality” says, the Historian Ayesha Jalal. Obviously, in Pakistan civil government is the puppet in the hands of Army. The day to day life issues can be solved by the government but when it comes to controlling the nation the remote always remains in the hands of the Army. No PM of Pakistan has so far framed foreign policy. That is the reason many people have raised the questions on Imran’s triumph. They say there is a role of Army in electing Imran as the PM of Pakistan. Everything was pre-planned. “The [military’s] strategy for control this time has centred on giving Khan’s PTI, a few smaller political parties and a large number of independent candidates a free hand, while making it difficult for the PMLN, and even the PPP, to campaign,” said Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington, before election day (Guardine.com). The huge number of troops (about 371,000) which were deployed on election day raises the serious question and many people alleged their deployment was only to ensure the polls went the way the generals wanted. “The Pakistani military obviously wants a civilian facade in the form of an elected government that follows dictates on policy toward India, Afghanistan, jihadi terrorism and relations with China and the US. It does not want a genuinely popular civilian politician in power, backed by an electoral mandate, and certainly not one that might alter the country’s trajectory”, Haqqani said (Guardine.com).
To sum up, for Imran the real battle starts now. As we know, Cricket ground is different from the political ground. How he fulfills the promises of people which he made them is quite interesting. But, the main thing is how Imran will face the military pressure? The time will prove if he succumbs before the military power or not. There is long way to go for Khan. How he balances China’s trust and strategic friendship is quite important but what matters most is will he ensure speedy implementation of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Also how he works with Trump adminstration is also a big question. But, we hope whatever he does will be in the betterment of people and we expect he will make a strong and stable Pakistan and play safe and graph the nettle.
Author has done post graduation in English literature from University of Kashmir and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.