PM Imran Khan made two concrete promises during the election campaign: corruption would be eradicated and people’s livelihood improved by providing five million houses, 10 million jobs, bringing down service charges and improving people’s purchasing power. Failing to achieve either of these objectives, Mr Khan has now moved the goalposts. Corruption, he complains, can only be controlled if society is helpful which, according to him, it is not as shown by people showering rose petals over the corrupt. People’s welfare has been replaced by what Mr Khan calls the war against obscenity which according to the PM is the second biggest problem facing the country after corruption. The surge in sex crimes, he maintains, has been caused by obscene Hollywood and Bollywood movies, over which he has no control.
Improving the livelihood of the people being a stone too heavy to lift, the PM has announced instead the formation of Rehmatul-Lil-Aalamin Authority as an answer to all our ills. But can any group of “renowned” religious scholars be allowed to usurp the constitutional rights of the provincial governments including monitoring of the curricula. The Authority is also entrusted with the task of presenting the true image of Islam to the world. But can any single country nominate clerics of its choice to tell the world, which also includes countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey, what true Islam really is? Any attempt by the Authority in the direction can only create rifts in the Muslim world. Similarly, in democracies, mainstream media as well as social media enjoy freedom subject only to fair laws of the country. Pakistani media has fought hard against restrictions imposed by military rulers and civilian autocrats. It is too much to expect from it to allow any religious scholar to take decisions on its behalf.
What has already drawn a lot of flak is the PM’s remark regarding Caliph Hazrat Omar telling off the ever victorious General Hazrat Khalid Bin Walid and dismissing him from the command and appointing a new general in his place. The second Caliph could do that because besides being a companion of the Holy Prophet, he commanded the loyalty of the entire Muslim community rather than being the head of the government in a hybrid democracy duly confronted by a strong opposition.