In reality Mr Khan, no you Khan’t

Published: September 26, 2014
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PHOTO: REUTERS

There was once a man who didn’t believe in empty rhetoric but followed through with his promises. He won Pakistan the World Cup, made Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust and established a university in Mianwali. The youth idealised him, the elderly praised him, and the people adored him.

And while he showed that change is achieved by the tangible, he never followed through with that in his politics. I wish he had.

He was selling a dream that many Pakistanis yearned for. A Pakistan free of corruption and nepotism, where the common man would have equal opportunities, where he would have freedom of movement, where the law enforcement agencies would protect citizens against those who try to snatch this freedom from them. So when Mr Khan was given the mandate of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), everyone hoped that he would turn it into a model of governance, a model for others to follow.

Unfortunately that never happened.

Imran came and defended the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP); he called them ‘our people’ who must be negotiated with. In fact, he was also a signatory to a document that claimed that the Taliban were legitimate stakeholders in Pakistan. He demanded that an office be made for their representation, he was the first that came to their defence after every attack they perpetrated and claimed responsibility for. He still insisted that it was not the Taliban but some other group who wanted to derail the peace talks with them. As for the peace talks, they were a non-starter. The Taliban never paid heed to Mr Khan’s call for peace talks. They never wanted peace.

And so the empty rhetoric ensued. Imran promised that there would be no nepotism in his Naya Pakistan. That it would be a model of competence. Yet he never explained how Mr Parvez Khattak’s relatives were granted reserved seats to become members of the National Assembly. He never explained how he gave a ticket to Gul Badshah, a person who had 22 cases registered against him. He never explained why Khattak could not bother to wake up in the morning for the flag raising ceremony on August 14 last year.

He could not explain why his people never bothered to show up to condole the citizens who lost their lives in terrorist attacks in his province. He never even bothered to condemn the terrorists. He never took action against his own minister who didn’t take responsibility for the DI Khan jail break but was quick to castigate the police. Such was the extent of ambiguity that people like Asad Umar had to come forward and explain that Imran’s demand for the Taliban’s office was his own wish and that it did not represent the views of the party.

Without providing us with solutions, Imran wishes to be the prime minister of this country.

Mr Khan, can you please shed some light on how you will bring about this change that you have failed to bring about in K-P? On June 29, 2013, Mr Khattak vowed to follow in Shahbaz Sharif’s footsteps to make Peshawar a model city, and then you claim that the incumbent government is incompetent.

This article is not in defence of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) or any other party but a reality check for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who has claimed to be the flag bearers of change but have done little to prove that claim.

Mr Khan, those that criticise you and your party are not traitors but rather just as much citizens of Pakistan. We have a right to question your efficacy in government, we have a right to demand that you condemn the Taliban and we have a right to demand that you fulfil all those promises that were part of your election manifesto. The people of Pakistan demand an accountability of all the leaders who have not followed through with promises made before the elections – and that unfortunately includes you.

Lastly, can you please explain to us what your party achieved staying on the constitution avenue right when the Chinese premier was to visit Pakistan to sign accords worth $32 billion? Could the march not have been shifted to an alternate venue to give clear passage to the Chinese premier to visit Pakistan and sign these accords?

You could have come back after the visit was over but you chose to ignore important bilateral relations over your own ego. Instead the Chinese head of state visited India, who embraced the opportunity with open arms and now threatens to lead Pakistan into international isolation. To top it off, your chief minister also refused to visit China for investment projects, just to stay in the Azadi march.

Where are your priorities, Mr Khan and what are they? If you think that you can run this country on merely rhetoric then here is a reality check for you – no, you Khan’t.

Ali Rizvi

Ali Rizvi

A producer for current affairs of a private television channel and freelance journalist. He tweets @rizvinator (twitter.com/Rizvinator)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.