I don’t support PTI but Imran Khan may be our only saviour against corruption

Published: April 21, 2016

Pakistani politician and chief of Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) party, Imran Khan (L) addresses the crowd during protest rally in Islamabad on October 28, 2011 against the US drone attacks in Pakistani tribal region. PHOTO: AFP

I, being a non-PTI supporter and voter, believe that Imran Khan’s upcoming protest on April 24th will go a long way in making millions of Pakistanis aware of the corrupt individuals governing our country.

Since the Panama revelations, much has been written about our prime minister and his family’s substantial investments abroad. Some have argued that Nawaz Sharif has lost moral authority and should, therefore, make way for new leadership to govern our country.

Others argue that Nawaz’s departure from the political realm would only damage political stability and the future of democracy. I, personally, believe that the questions the Panama Papers have raised may not necessarily implicate Prime Minister Nawaz for cases of corruption, but are enough to warrant accountability from someone who holds a public office.

However, the most surprising aspect amidst what is considered as the biggest leak in history is the public apathy towards corruption and the glaring lack of civil society activism.

Soon after the scandal made headlines and began unfolding, massive protests shook countries across the world. Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson resigned because of the mounting public outrage and UK Prime Minister David Cameron is still facing backlash from the House of Commons over this issue. However, in Pakistan, there is a lull amongst the public. Other than drawing room discussions, there have hardly been any notable public protests or civil society mobilisation.

This highlights two factors about corruption in Pakistan.

Firstly, the Panama Papers unearthed details of various politicians holding offshore accounts and the knee jerk response from opposition parties in Parliament was anything but outraged or shocked. This reinforced the general stance towards corruption in the country. By conveniently ignoring the mountain of evidence, opposition parties, except the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), have failed to take the opportunity to push for much-needed accountability reforms.

Secondly, the post-panama societal discourse also manifests that, by and large, corruption in Pakistan is only a middle and upper middle class concern. These are only a handful of individuals who are disgusted by the rampant corruption. They have taken social media by storm, calling for accountability and reformation. Whether their cries will be heard is another topic. What is ironic though is that the real victims of corruption, the poor, are completely absent from the scene and have no clue about the on-going situation.

It is for this reason that I, being a non-PTI supporter and voter, believe that Imran Khan’s upcoming protest on April 24 will go a long way in making millions of Pakistanis aware of the corrupt individuals governing our country.

Over the course of time, we have witnessed far too many frivolous street protests which have done more harm than good. But we must understand political movements which rally for anti-corruption will only strengthen our institutions, refine mainstream politics and help set an agenda for wider governance reforms.

Anti-corruption movements are solely waged as a moral crusade in order to evoke public consciousness rather than forwarding political objectives. Unfortunately, our political parties have rarely given precedence to the national interest of the country over individual or party interests.

Given, Imran Khan’s anti-corruption rallies usually translate into anti Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) rallies, but this is a cause worthy of pursuing, even if it is political in nature.

It’s a known fact that Pakistan politicians are mired in corruption and they are rarely held accountable. Without accountability, the entire edifice on which democracy is built upon will begin to crumble. After all, the ultimate yardstick in a democratic setup is the voter. If Imran Khan can gather enough people to march with him to Raiwind or Islamabad, it may pressurise our prime minister to step aside and nominate an alternative contender from his party.

We have had many governments dissolve on false pretexts of corruption and martial laws being declared; this is probably the first time in Pakistan’s history that someone can set a strong precedent of accountability on the basis of credible evidence available.

Kashif Ali

Kashif Ali

The writer holds Masters in governance and public policy from Germany and works in the development sector. He tweets as @s_kashif8 (twitter.com/s_kashif8)

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

  • Maverick_NZ

    Completely agree. We have never taken tackling corruption seriously as a society. It’s high time to do so.Recommend

  • Do we need a savior? Or do we need a system that upholds the rule of law consistently and reliably, and promotes transparency and accountability in governance in our country? Are we getting there because of Imran Khan’s antics? Does he have tons to show for his control of the government in KPK? Or is it all one big joke.

    Think a little before you latch on to just another mirage.Recommend

  • Javed Afridi

    I don’t support PML-N but Nawaz Sharif may be our only saviour against corruption and all other ills that the country face!Recommend

  • Fawad Gilani

    With respect to the Author I am an ex PTI supporter. Unfortunately Imran Khan and PTI cannot be our savior as argued by him in the article. Why? Lack of legitimacy. Here are some questions to answer.
    First Double standards. Aleem Khan and Jahangir Tareen can have offshore accounts but not the Sharif family? Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black? Should the offshore question not apply to all corrupt politicians not just PMLN? Even Imran Khan’s ex wife Jemima admitted to “benami” transactions of Imran Khan on her name.
    Second Laws of Pakistan. Under the Hudood Ord. Imran Khan comitted Zina with Sita White (why else does his illegitimate daughter live with otherwise “Na-Mehram” sons of IK?) Why has IK not faced the courts on this under the laws of the country? Is this not moral corruption?
    Third, the U turns and LIES. Initially there was denial and claimed that there was no meeting in London with Tahir Ul Qadri (according to Shireen Mazari). Then it was admitted to (by Shah Mehmood). Similarly 35 punctures to zero punctures (Dr. Arif Alvi even apologized) to 70 punctures. I can go on (for example the U turn post Aleem Khan’s revelations on his offshore accounts) but I think I would waste your time.
    Fourth apart from such Munafiq habits where does the money come from for the Dharnas /DJ Butt (Goldsmith wealth? Jahangir Tareen’s offshore accounts?), the private Jet and helicopter travels (apparently courtesy of Bahria Town, KPK govt and other assorted friends) and where does the money go (according to note 16.1 of the Shaukat khanum annual report their charity funds were invested into a failed Omani real estate project done by a friend of Imran Khan). I can again go on with the examples but why ot just allow a forensic audit to shut up this criticism
    Finally and most importantly the rigging of internal party elections in PTI to make favored friends like Jahangir Tareen win. Just ask Justice Wajih or read his report on the matter. This is Undemocratic and corrupt practice just as it is to appeal to the 3rd Umpire to overthrow an elected govt..
    Therefore how can we expect Imran Khan to do the right thing for Pakistan?Recommend

  • footyfan

    If you expect KPK to look like Lahore (by the way not the whole Punjab) then PTI has to be elected there consecutively for the next 20 years at least.Recommend

  • gp65

    Confused much? How will Imran get into power to supposedly ‘save’ you if you do not vote for PTI?
    Stop looking for saviors and see how you can contribute to your country. It is this constant search for saviors that makes Pakistanis distribute sweets every time a military dictator takes over.Recommend

  • Khushall

    Looking at the comments from people like Fawad Gillani and Mr Afridi I am convinced that Pakistan deserve worst ruler than these. We find reasons and logics to defend crime of any magnitude. I won’t blame the currpt elite rather this nation which follow such morons. Entire social fabric is socially and morally currupt. God bless Pakistan

  • Sane

    Imran Khan has shown his character so far and one can eye him on as savior and person who has a will to eliminate corruption. May be he is not that capable for political wrangling, but has a vision and will. I am talking about Imran Khan not the who PTI lot.Recommend

  • Maria

    The author supports Imran Khan and is trying to hide his bias. I hate the way, people in Pakistan all think they are judge and jury. Speculation is just that. Details should come out and then people can judge but because an industrialist’s overseas kids have money in overseas accounts does not in itself mean corruption. Nawaz Sharif may be a billionaire but rather than assume his money is coming from state looting, why not prove something and then talk? British PM Cameron is not going anywhere and the Chinese Premier’s kids haven’t gone anywhere nor have Putin’s friends gone anywhere. Pakistan right now is developing and stable with CPEC around the corner and this scares Imran Khan more than anything. This is the real reason he will jump on any chance to do dharma and stop CPEC or Chinese investment like the last time he almost paralyzed the country.Recommend

  • Humza

    You obviously have not seen Lahore then !Recommend

  • Dost Mohammed

    The cat is out of the bag. Pakisan has been used as a money making machine by politicians who owe their political careers to the very state institutions they now seek to undermine.Recommend