Monkey Days | Pakistan Today

Monkey Days

  • …and the comedy of errors by PTI

Pakistan saw a smooth transition of power the second time in her history when the PML-N government passed on the mantle to a caretaker set up. The embattled supremo of PML-N used very card in the book to sell the narrative to the gullible public that Panama Leaks was nothing more than a vendetta. In a country where the rural population forms the majority and education graph is low, few outside an educated circle know what the fight is about. To think that PML-N has been decimated from Punjab is a fallacy. It will very much be a force to contend with in coming elections. In many cases, the public has bought the supremo’s narrative!

“PML-N’s political strategy has not been too thoughtless! It may yet deliver. Nawaz Sharif the “bad cop” kept the Judiciary and the “khalai makhlooq” under unremitting pressure through his scathing diatribes and blatant disinformation campaigns while Shahbaz Sharif played the “good cop” and continuously engaged the Judiciary and the “khalai makhlooq,” contends Brigadier Imran Malik (analyst).

“Retaining or dismantling administrative machinery because on every post in Punjab a carefully handpicked officer by Shahbaz had been placed, by the caretaker government will play a crucial part,” argues Dr Badar Sohail,who has a keen eye on local politics. However he maintains the change means too much task for a limited number of days for the caretaker set up.

PTI has been and continues to be under great scrutiny by media and the public at large. The reason is plain. It will be contesting 2018 elections with a hope of getting a greater piece of the pie and even forming government in center with the help of “khilai makhlooq” to use the term coined by Nawaz Sharif as the narrative goes. Though may not be strictly true.

PTI’s comedy of errors however has exposed the party’s lack of structural set-up within its cadres and poor decision making process-to suggest names for positions in the caretaker set-up only to withdraw them when a great hue and cry was raised on the social media. It reflects upon lack of sound thinking process and maturity within the ranks. Indeed one should commend them for rectifying their mistakes but in a succession these mistakes are not a good omen.

PTI has been and continues to be under great scrutiny by media and the public at large. The reason is plain. It will be contesting 2018 elections with a hope of getting a greater piece of the pie and even forming government in center

Instead of building party base in Punjab, Imran Khan’s focus has been the person of Nawaz Sharif. This lack of strategy strengthened Shahbaz Sharif’s position in convincing most that he is the ideal candidate to lead the biggest province. “PTI doesn’t seem to be a “political party”. It’s doesn’t have single political strategist in its leadership cadre. It’s a cricket fans crowd. And it has been presented to replace a corrupt leadership. So essentially Pakistan is between the devil and the deep sea! May Allah bless this country,” says Saqlaina US based analyst.

PTI withdrew support of Manzoor Afridi as caretaker chief minister for KP after recommending him. The Awami National party and Pakistan People Party, according to GEO; ‘PPP’s Nafeesa Shah remarked that Manzoor ruined his reputation after meeting up with Imran. Manzoor Afridi is a donor of JUI-F, while his brother Senator Ayub Afridi is a donor of PTI.’

The same thing happened to Nasir Mahmood Khosa for the slot of Punjab caretaker chief minister. Recommended and withdrawn. Nasir Khosa excused himself from the offered post on grounds that PTI made him a controversial person by the nomination and he was not consulted for it before.

If these embarrassments were not enough, PTI welcomed Farooq Bandial with open arms only to expel him a few hours later. You guessed it, because of the backlash PTI faced upon his entry on ‘social media’ on his criminal past. The case is discussed over 22 pages of renowned lawyer S. M Zafar’s book, “Mairay Mashoor Muqad’may” (My famous cases).

Another name on which PTI did a U turn when social media erupted in a storm was on Orya Maqbool Jan’s choice as caretaker chief minister Punjab owing to his hard line approach.

So many U turns show that PTI has not prepared itself well for the issues to be dealt with in the forthcoming elections.

“Elections 2013 were marred by violence targeting only liberal parties in support of the PML-N, PTI and religious parties. Though PML-N won substantive majority but it failed to have good governance, transparent accountability and its leadership was found to be knee deep in corruption. Regretfully none of our political leaders especially Mian Sahib have learnt from their past mistakes. Mian sahib has rather perfected the art of digging his own grave by making more mistakes to make better mistake each time. He denigrated the Parliament and gave space voluntarily to other institutions such as superior judiciary and intelligence services. Since a yearlong pressure was built for elections in 2018 by Imran Khan one had expected that his PTI would be best organised party to challenge both PML-N and PPP. Unfortunately whatever is being witnessed lately shows that instead of being organised it continues to be a mob under an egocentric leader who talks of bringing change in the lives of people and ends up collecting those with criminal record, swindlers and the most corrupt as agents of change. The induction of such notorious criminals like Farooq Bandyal and the corrupt of the corrupt and what in Pakistani politics are known as lotas, and held them in pride as delectable —one should shudder to think what sort of government PTI will set up in case it was made to win. Blunders such as induction of criminal Farooq Bundyal, nomination of Orya Maqbool Jan for caretaker chief minister of Punjab, selection of Nasir Khosa—don’t fall in the domain of normal thinking or any preparation,” states Wajid Shamsul Hasanformer High Commissioner of Pakistan to UK. “

“If by any chance PTI wins election, it would be better for it to let Imran Khan bask in the glory of his leadership and let Shah Mehmood Qureshi become the prime minister,” argues Wajid Shamsul Hasan.

We are looking at a hung parliament and by the look of it, greater leadership and governance chaos than witnessed before.

Monkey days?

Yasmeen Aftab Ali

The writer is a lawyer, academic and political analyst. She has authored a book titled ‘A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan.’ She can be contacted at: [email protected] and tweets at @yasmeen_9.