25th July – Election Day

On the 25th July Pakistan will vote to elect a new government and a prime minister. The popular anthem these days is tabdeeli and naya Pakitan just  like Bhutto’s popular slogan ‘roti, kapra aur makan’. Politicians have the knack of playing with the emotion and sentiments of the people and ignite them by using a psychological slogan. The past few years have been good for the democracy in the land of the pure in however what form it is present. Yes, still in early stages, but on its way to maturity which requires at least ten to fifteen years. The problems Pakistan is facing right now are not the ones created just now or by one single party. Pakistan has seen more military dictators than the civilian leaders and the fact is the regardless of how much the dictator proclaims to be a solution and remedy to country’s problem, they’re not. They’re trained to protect the country, not to run the country. So, for running the country they need those who has the experience. And what happened with this mixture of inexperienced and experienced is evident from the state of our country at present. The irony is that only the politicians get the blame and slack for all the mess. The back seat drivers continue to interrupt the front seat drivers chosen by the public rather freely and at their own sweet will.

Whatever little knowledge I have on politics and the system of power in Pakistan is largely gained by reading the articles of my dad and the brief discussions with him every now and then. I remember him telling me that the agencies followed a plan by giving PPP and PML (N) 2.5 years twice in ten years, paving the way for another dictator. Nawaz Sharif in October 1999 became aware of the conspiracy being hatched against him and dismissed his chosen COAS General Musharraf who went on to launch military coup.  Even if the coup did not happen in October the plans were in place to overthrow Nawaz Sharif’s government by December 1999. At that time I was, like every other Pakistani, against the politicians and celebrated overthrowing of Nawaz Sharif’s government. But it did not take long to become evident that the purpose of the coup was just for the absolute power and nothing more than that. This game of absolute power has dented Pakistan more than anything else. In the years that followed as I matured a bit as a student the reality started to unfold. Every now and then a messiah is installed in front us as a problem solver. In the all those years the back seat players (read agencies) have maligned the politicians so much that people started to hate them. And after Musharraf in 1999 they sided with Imran Khan around 2011 when Nawaz Sharif returned from the almost 10 years exile in Saudi Arabia.

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Imran Khan formed his party ‘Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’ in 1996 on the premise of fighting against the corruption and anti-status quo movement. The party did not gain much until 2011 when it finally found the momentum and drive. The carefully chosen slogan of ‘tabdeeli and naya Pakistan’ to win people tired of 5 year rule of PPPP which did nothing in all that time worthy of writing. The wave spread across the nation and it was thought that PTI will form the government by winning the 2013 elections but it was not the case. Then started the incessant chants of rigging followed by a 126 days prolonged dharna in the capital. In that Khan vowed that Nawaz Sharif will lose the PMship on the back of the arguments going on between the civilian government and the army. He was so sure about that, but was let down by the compromise reached between Nawaz led government and the army where the control of foreign ministry was relegated to them. Khan was disappointed and was looking for a place to hide. During this time Khan’s dharna partner Tahir ul Qadri had already left after striking a deal. Khan was left alone and on the verge of political death. The pretext on which he started dharna did not happen, but what happened was an attack on the parliament and radio station by his party. The unfortunate incident of APS Peshawar paved the way for an honorable exit from the dharna.

Khan’s relentless effort to the throne continued and he joined hands with the back seat drivers. Though he denies and most PTI supporters are offended by this claim, but the fact remains that PTI failed to win even a single by elections and found the popularity lessened once the hands were withdrawn. Now again it finds itself on the center stage and with the helping hands all set to form the government after Nawaz Sharif was sent to the gallows on a ‘reasonable doubt’. It so far has not dented the popularity of PMLN and it might end up gaining sympathy votes to the surprise of everyone. Khan took every tom dick and harry into his party on the basis of the argument that his party need electable(s) (the new term for lota) to win elections. PTI need the people who know the science of contesting and winning elections. Something he did not achieve in all the 22 year political struggle. For the sake of throne everyone was welcomed from every other party with tainted record. Khan and his supporters think that they can set these people right because Khan himself is not corrupt. However, his tax return doesn’t justify his luxurious lifestyle. He has supposedly few wealthy men who are affording his private jet travels and other expenditures. The question here is the premise of all that spending and the fact that how much income tax they have paid. Also one pertinent question is after PTI comes in to power these people will not make up for their spending on Imran Khan in all those years? If not, then I would be interested to know what benefit they will get by spending this much money?

The problem and issues faced by Pakistan right now need someone experienced at the helms of power to steer the ship in the right direction. Khan’s candidates don’t show much promise in this regard. I am all for young and new faces but not at the expense of my country. PTI has delivered a lot less than it promised in Khyber Pakhtun Khawa (KPK).  The province only managed to produce 74mw power in 5 years even thought Khan vowed that the province will give electricity to other provinces. He also promised to convert the Governor house into a library and that his government will observe austerity. But in the five years only the spending on tea was reported at about four crore rupees per year. Then all the travel with protocol. In short, his party failed to live up to the promises and now again in josh-e-khitabat he is making tall claims and promises which are impossible to deliver even on the paper. The Pakistanis need to know that winning the World Cup is one thing and running the country is another. He might possess one of the best cricketing brains, but there is nothing beyond that. If there was any such thing thing he would have created a team of trusted people. Pakistan is a country and not a sports team which can be entrusted in the hands of a person and a party who itself is playing a party and clearly lacks the capability to run the country. Speaking on the dice is very easy, even I can say so many things, but to execute them whilst in power is a tough ask and Khan really is not aware of it. People can say whatever they want against PMLN but the fact remains that this party has at least delivered compared to the other parties. So, my dear Pakistanis when you vote on the 25th please give preference to facts over emotions. Also bear in mind that without civil supremacy, no one would be able to deliver. The interference in the civil matters must stop for the sake of the country.




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