A politician adamant to err

Seeking Imran Khan’s fatal flaw

Some weeks ago, the Pakistani media was abuzz with news about Imran Khan, and there was nothing but Imran Khan in Pakistani politics. His current image in the Press inspired by his political opponents indicates that his game is finished, and that he is no longer needed in Pakistani politics. During the short period he has spent in and out of politics in Pakistan, even if he has not so far made Pakistan economically strong due to some cogent reasons, his social and philanthropic work to improve the standard of a Pakistani’s standard of life and health will be enough to speak for him. No matter if he repeats his earlier mistakes, his charitable work and contribution to sports would still serve as a solid proof of his patriotism for his country and his love for his people.

I don’t think it is fair to think of him as irrelevant, spent or in any manner a political outcast. His true political stature would be judged in the next General Election by the people of Pakistan who are the final arbiters to decide who should rule this country in future.

In all his struggle, he exerted himself to pursue his aims with his dogged determination which could not be deterred by any fear or avarice and therefore he continued to pursue his  line more quickly and determinedly than others. This style was also more appealing to the public who put their trust in him more willingly and solidly.

In the speeches he made in his huge rallies they found a ring of truth in whatever he said, all of this was clearly born of his attractive physical style of governance, to which his charisma added more weight. In all his actions his patriotism and sincerity for his country had always been more palpable than anything else and therefore some of his unfair inborn temperamental traits were quite easily eschewed by the public.

Before entering politics, to his credit Imran Khan had performed many amazing feats  as sportsman, philanthropist and social worker. In personal attributes he was extremely honest, motivated and determined . As a politician he started from scratch, founded the Pakistan Teheeik Insaf and worked hard for 22 years to make it so politically strong that in the 2018 elections, it gained sufficient strength to get a majority in the Parliament and form his government.

When he took office as PM he had before him insurmountable challenges included flawed energy policies, a spiraling fiscal deficit, all-pervasive corruption, grossly inadequate tax-to-GDP ratio, under-investment in education and health sectors. among others.

He has the capacity to lose his balance of mind in times of extreme agitation. At the time of opposition’s no-confidence motion against him and in sheer fear of losing his government, Imran Khan took an unprecedented step by dissolving the National Assembly, despite the fact that after filing of a No-Confidence Motion against the Prime Minister, the PM loses his right to dissolve the National Assembly. Due to the timely intervention of the Supreme Court, the invalid order of Imran Khan was set aside, and a political disaster was averted. The act of dissolving the National Assembly was a blatant violation of Pakistan’s constitution.

In order to overcome these economic setbacks, PTI’s economic reform programme envisaged an increase of 9 percent of GDP with a 5 percent increase in tax collection, 2 percent reduction in wasteful expenditure and 2 percent reduction in losses of public-sector enterprises. This economic agenda projected a growth rate of 6 percent, inflation to be brought down to 7 percent, fiscal deficit to be brought down to 4.5 percent, and tax revenues to be raised by 15 percent. These were his ambitious plans and big challenges ahead.

Despite being a good sportsman, and the most charismatic personality of Pakistan, Imran Khan is unfortunately not a good politician. He can be several times erratic even after finding out the result of his earlier bad decision. Lack of flexibility is his grave weakness which can be extremely harmful to him and his class.

A good politician should have a generous heart and mind, should proceed with a spirit of accommodating his political rivals, and give them due weight as long as they do not run counter to his own programme, and try to take them along through the thick and thin of their political journey for the common good of the people. While taking decisions in a vital matter affecting the vast masses, he refused to sit with opposition members whom he ridiculed as corrupt people. He consistently accused them of being money launderers and vowed that he would not sit idle till he brought back the looted money. It was primarily the function of the NAB to take action against the corrupt, independently of being answerable to the PM, therefore the PM had no answer why there was no cogent reason for non-recovery of looted wealth.

Complete elimination of corruption was still the ultimate responsibility of the PM. Hence no pretext was sufficient to condone the PM. But ironically whenever the question of honesty of a politician was raised before the people, their entire mass unequivocally supported Imran Khan. People could only swear by Imran Khan’s personal morasl to the exclusion of all others.

Temperamentally, Imran Khan is non-compromising and less prone to take advice from even his closest comrades. A sage politician sufficiently meditates over his proposed moves, consults his co-party men, and then takes a firm action. But Imran Khan rarely took that route. His political ideas more often take absolute terms.

During an interview to a foreign journalist, his vehement assertion of the phrase “Absolutely not!” brought an upheaval of international proportions which also loomed large in the domestic politics.  Absolutism has made Pakistani politics less and less issue-oriented and more and more tribal, which is likely to create more problems on national and international scale. This absolutism converts most party supporters as purely partisan— “you are with us, or against us”.

His most arrogant trait was his habit of antagonizing the courts by publicly leveling allegations against them and often not responding to their calls or notices. Imran Khan badly failed to maintain good foreign relations especially with vital countries like the USA, China and Saudi Arabia, and it became a key challenge for Shahbaz Sharif’s government to repair those relations.

He has the capacity to lose his balance of mind in times of extreme agitation. At the time of opposition’s no-confidence motion against him and in sheer fear of losing his government, Imran Khan took an unprecedented step by dissolving the National Assembly, despite the fact that after filing of a No-Confidence Motion against the Prime Minister, the PM loses his right to dissolve the National Assembly. Due to the timely intervention of the Supreme Court, the invalid order of Imran Khan was set aside, and a political disaster was averted. The act of dissolving the National Assembly was a blatant violation of Pakistan’s constitution.

Zafar Aziz Chaudhry
Zafar Aziz Chaudhry
The writer is a former member of the provincial civil service and can be contacted at [email protected].

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

Gohar raises alarm on IMF program risk amid lack of Form-45...

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan has intensified the party's stance on the release of election results under Form-45s and demanded the...