Jail Bharo Tehrik

The PTI seems to be going nowhere

The PTI’s Jail Bharo has virtually collapsed already. Indeed, it does not seem to have been a matter of sustainability, with a strong start followed by a weak follow-through. It seemed blighted on Wednesday, when it failed to attract more than a handful of volunteers for arrest, with the police taking to the megaphones to ask volunteers to come forward, but finding few takers. The succeedng days have not been marked by any event that could be described as a turnround. Instead, PTI supporters are keeping away in droves.  It was almost as if PTI chief Imran Khan was reducing things to hilarity. Karl Marx once said that “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce.” Mr Khan seems to have taken his repetition of the Quit India Movement of 1942 straight to farce. He seems to have badly underestimated the work, both motivational and organizational, that must be put in to make such a tactic succeed. He also failed to realize that one of the factors leading to success is personal example.

That, it seems, he was not willing to set. The Tehrik may delay his arrest, because the government may find it useful to leave him alone, and to show how afraid he seems to be of being arrested. Another problem with the Tehrik is its lack of a clear objective. It is almost as if Mr Khan announced it on a whim, after his two Long Marches and dissolution of two provincial assemblies had failed to get him the elections he had asked for.

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It may thus be unfair to mock those PTI leaders who were arrested on Wednesday, but who attempted to get bail on Thursday, only to find that their detentions under 3 MPO meant they would have to stay behind bars for some months.Trying to implement a sudden decision by their leader, they do not know why they are in jail. If they do get bail, how will the Tehrik succeed? After all, presumably the idea is to make the jail system, and thus the entire justice system, collapse by overwhelming it with prisoners. The way the PTI has started, and the way it is going about it, it does not seem that it will work. The PTI’s problem is that the government and the establishment have apparently lost the fear they had of it.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].


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