Imran Khan risks being on the wrong side of history

Published: September 26, 2016
Email

Is this the world that the future Khan of Khans wants to inherit? PHOTO: AFP

With the encirclement of the South China Sea having been completed by the US and her allies (Japan and Australia), the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become crucial to China – more than Pakistan as well.

India’s play on the other hand is not just post-Uri theatrics. With the recently acquired civilian nuclear technology and its offer to provide a base to Baloch separatists (Baramdagh Bugti citizenship case), it’s evident that our neighbours are willing to play hardball on behalf of the US, in order to up the ante on Pakistan.

Add to this, the far from amiable attitude of our western neighbours (Afghanistan and Iran) – again cajoled by the US-India nexus – and suddenly Pakistan is squeezed from all sides for providing a safe route for Chinese interests.

However, the US, not content with its own strategic encirclement of Pakistan, has launched her allies within Pakistan as well, even while the North American Tahirul Qadri pushes the house of Sharif and just when Indian war drums are being beaten across the border.

And it is in this theatre of war between two great powers (US and China) that the chairman, Imran Khan, finds himself in. He has the knack of landing into dubious positions ever since he launched his campaign to become the Khan of Khans a few years ago.

Whether it was the Army Public School incident or the recent Quetta blast, Khan has been left licking his wounds more than once.

There are conspiracy theorists who believe there is a voodoo connection between the timing of national ills that befall our nation and those that conveniently coincide with Khan’s push for a Kurultai (Mongol version of a regime change).

However, on a serious note, we have witnessed a systematic encroachment by the US-India nexus of Pakistan’s right to sovereign development and progress, made possible by realigning her foreign policy interests with that of Russia and China.

Just recently, a Congress bill was being prepared to designate Pakistan as a terrorist state and the Congress’ refusal to sell the promised F-16’s in addition to the latest NYC bomber being linked to Pakistan. And suddenly, there is a flurry of anti-Pakistan activities being orchestrated, either on American soil or on behalf of the US in other parts of the world (including Qadri and Indian war mongering).

I have long been sceptical of our ruling elite’s intentions to provide a safe and progressive environment to our people, one that would allow for an inviolable freedom of conscience, right to a fair trial and access to education and healthcare. The upper echelons of the armed forces and feudal-bureaucracy-industrialist troika have been no different in exploiting the people of Pakistan for their personal gains – case in point the Panama leaks that point towards billions of dollars stashed away overseas by retired General Pervez Musharraf, the off-shore companies of Imran Khan and the Sharifs, as well as the house of Kayani’s business consolidation during the previous government.

One would do well to read Arundhati Roy’s Broken Republic and Algebra of Infinite Justice to understand a similar treatment that’s being handed out to nearly a billion ordinary Indians. They, like their Pakistani counterparts, are witnessing daylight robbery of their flora & fauna, minerals, hopes and tomorrows at the hands of the large corporations in cahoots with similar ruling elite.

Khuzdar, Badin, Chattisgarh and Orrissa are one and the same when it comes to evicting the rightful owners of what Roy calls the MOU lands, named after the hidden terms of the ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ signed between the corporations and the state.

Till date, no public document has been shown to the people of the subcontinent for the minerals worth trillions of dollars that’s been extracted over the last 50 years or so. Yet, this is a battle that needs to be put under the metaphorical ‘rock’ of the Pashtunwali code, that sees two warring people temporarily setting aside their differences to jointly defend their land against a foreign enemy. Once the enemy has been avenged, the previous issues are retrieved from under the rock and hostilities are resumed.

There comes a time in history where doing the right thing takes courage, and sometimes, this includes sacrificing one’s own interests for the greater good. If CPEC is compromised, then a lot more roads, energy and infrastructure projects will be obliterated. It might even result in a potentially bipolar world and a unique once in a life-time chance for Pakistan to realign herself with Russia-China.

Is this the world that the future Khan of Khans wants to inherit if and when he ascends the throne? One that has no glimmer of hope, no big dreams to paint onto the canvas of young Pakistani’s, those who want their green passports to mean something, their nationality to say something, and their right to dignity?

Perhaps, Raiwind can be breached some other time. Let this not be the day when the greed of small men compromises the eternal Armageddon between the forces of right and wrong.

Khan, may you find the fortitude and strength to bear the weight of your own decisions – the consequences of which will be faced by the rest of humanity.

Asad Palijo

Asad Palijo

A University College London (UCL) alumnus, the author is the President of Youth Parliament of Pakistan Alumni working on Education Reforms. He tweets @jungshahi

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