Imran Khan’s PTI: New face, same old lines

Published: January 13, 2012

Imran Khan talks about a better Pakistan, but so did the Bhutto's and the Sharif's. PHOTO: AFP

Has Imran Khan’s party started to crumble already? The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Nazriati (ideological) is a recently formed faction consisting of those who stood by Khan when he started his mission to clean Pakistan’s politics. Khan took pride in them because they were honest, educated, and hard-working people who had vowed to help him bring about a revolution in the country.

Recently, however, his right and left have been hijacked by the Makhdoom’s and the like. Honesty, education, and hard work are not traits that will win ballots today. This is not very different from the history of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The PPP also started with various ideological minds and visionaries, but later decided to settle for feudal lords. Will the result be any different for PTI?

I have always wanted new entities to emerge in the political landscape of Pakistan. However, now that one finally has, I am not too excited. The need of the hour was an ideological wave, and not an addition to the collection of marionettes with brownish-yellow strings. I do not doubt Imran Khan’s intentions at all; it is just his methodology that troubles me. I can understand why he is collecting opportunists, selectively criticising, and dictating his democratic party at this point in time. But all this is a simple repetition of history. It has been tried and tested, but not learned from.

The invisible hands are at play, manipulating the nascent democracy yet again; Khan may not be directly taking funds from the establishment, but he is certainly enjoying their latent support. This has significantly filtered his fiery speeches and sharp criticism.

In the past year alone, the number of people attending the Kaptaan’s rallies have risen from 5,000 people to hundreds of thousands. That is, however, not the only thing that has changed. A soft tone for the establishment and political parties affiliated with the establishment is crystal clear too. For instance, till last year Khan’s speeches were incomplete without MQM bashing. This is, most definitely, no longer the case.

The so-called ‘change’, as defined by PTI is not new to Pakistanis. Of course, it is a new version, so it comes in fancy packaging and better branding. This is exactly the ‘hope’ people felt when the Bhutto’s and Sharif’s made their initial appearances. In fact, when the PPP was born, the hype was many folds beyond what PTI has generated. The only difference is, we fail to register the jubilation and celebrations that took over the masses a few decades ago because Pakistan, collectively, suffers from poor memory. The ‘hope’ is back, with new actors and props but the same masters. What we fail to realise is that the actors and props were never the problem.

Putting the pieces together, if things continue as they are, Imran Khan will be the next Prime Minister of Pakistan. When he does come to power, the situation will not miraculously change. When the electricity, gas, and water supplies continue to remain short for months, how will the people respond? How many months will Khan be able to blame the previous governments for wrecking the system until his followers start to question him? The international oil prices may continue to rise along with the inflation rate. If Khan decides to stick to his rhetoric, he will quickly develop differences with the seniors of the security and bureaucratic establishment.

Will he continue to show flexibility or put his foot down?

The ultimate question is whether the people and the establishment will continue to respect Khan after he is elected. Will the PTI supporters continue to stand by his side even for a year? I hope that they will, but I have serious doubts about this considering Pakistan’s history. His irrational following will turn against him before he is able to take full charge. Hence, PTI is destined to the same fate as its predecessors. A major reason why the present government has not performed is the constant threat of being toppled. The throne has always been the focal point of any government in Pakistan. When the same sword hangs over Khan’s neck, he will have a choice to make – a choice which will, no doubt, not help Pakistan.

And when PTI does come to power, the PPP and PML will be ready to offer an alternative to the puppet masters. The people would have forgotten all the damage and corruption done by the two parties within a year, if not months.

As ironic as it is, politicians seem smarter, so long as they stay in the opposition.


Samir Butt

A former Youth Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Fulbright undergraduate scholar, freelance writer, public speaking trainer, IT consultant and marketing professional. He blogs at

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

  • Zoaib

    The PTI core ideological group is still with them along with Imran Khan. This new faction is nothing more than a group of rejects, some of whom were kicked out from the party because of indiscipline, so your opening para is not very accurate I’m afraid. People who have stood by Imran Khan “through thick and thin” are people like Dr. Arif Alvi, Naeem-ul-Haq, Imran Ismail, Fauzia Kasuri, Najeeb Haroon, Firdous Naqvi, Akber Sher Babar, Hamid Khan etc. This is the ideological core of PTI rather than Mr. Iqbal Dar who I’ve heard about for the first time in my life. So PTI “splitting” may be a wish for some, but does not seem to be materializing in reality.Recommend

  • Zoaib

    This new faction is nothing more than a group of rejects, some of whom were kicked out from the party because of indiscipline, so your opening para is not very accurate I’m afraid. People who have stood by Imran Khan “through thick and thin” are people like Dr. Arif Alvi, Naeem-ul-Haq, Imran Ismail, Fauzia Kasuri, Najeeb Haroon, Firdous Naqvi, Akber Sher Babar, Hamid Khan etc.(who are still committed behind IK). This is the ideological core of PTI rather than Mr. Iqbal Dar who I’ve heard about for the first time in my life. So PTI “splitting” may be a wish for some, but does not seem to be materializing in reality.Recommend

  • Captain Obvious

    Any credibility The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Nazriati had went out the window when they started accusing Imran Khan of working with the establishment and the Yahoodis.Recommend

  • khan

    (1) Have u got any evidence that The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Nazriati formed group has been around for 15 years supporting Imran Khan?

    (2) Journalists for the last 5-10 years have been saying that IK is a one man show, now that he has taken a few names into his group he is also being condemed for it. It seems Imran Khan cannot win both ways. If IK did not have these names in his party I am sure that journalists such as yourself would be saying Who Has Imran Khan got in his party, he is a one man show!

    (3) Imran Khan is leader of PTI, and they are coming into party based on IK rules and regulations, not there rules and regulations. If they do not go by the standards that PTI sets, then my friend they will get a boot up there backs and thrown out.
    “Imran Khan did not give special treatment too his own father concerning cancer. His own father had to be put on the list of Shaukaut Khanum, like others”.

    Do u really think that the likes of shah mehmood querishi or mian azhar can do much damage to IK?

    (4) Establishment may be supporting him as a silent observer. If u were establishment who would u be supporting. Imran Khan, Nawaz Sharif or Mr Zardari?????
    Establishment cannot bring support of millions for Imran, if they could the GM would still be here!

    (5) As long as IK delivers we are with him, because the other 2 political parties leaders have been tried and tested many times and have failed miserably, apart from looting the poor and opening there mouths based on lies and deception they cannot do much else.

    Let’s hope and pray that Imran Khan does win, otherwise we have another term of looting!Recommend

  • Sheharyar

    Pathetic piece! Love you IK i>Recommend

  • Kashif Iqbal

    Imran Khan is an immature kid who needs to grow up. He is inexperienced too. I would recommend that we should give him any public portfolio before we give him premiership of Pakistan; then we’ll see if he has the abilities to perform or not.

    At the moment Pakistan is in big trouble and we are not in a position for a political experiment like PTI. God forbid if PTI comes in power; whole country will be in chaos. Recommend

  • Salman Zafar

    Pathetic arguments…. Recommend

  • Jibreel

    Finally, a sane blog about PTI =)
    trollers, ur party is PULP
    (Pakistan United Lota’s Party)

  • Arsalan

    Seriously man,
    Are you writing this article because of PTI-N which is nothing but a scam.. Recommend

  • umair

    What a great read. ET sometimes with pieces like these I am reminded why I have become such a big fan of this newspaper. The writer rightfully points out that PTI is following the footsteps of PPP. Lets hope IK doesnt end up like the late great ZAB. Recommend

  • saif

    pti ke jaan imran khan hay or loog is ko sirf imran khan kay nazreay kay leay chahtay hain or support kartain hain
    love pti
    love imran khanRecommend

  • menteliscio

    Samir: What would you prefer: new leader with new manifesto with old runners or old leader old manifesto old runners. Atleast there is a hope, and if IK fails to deliver he will suffer huge setback that can kill his career once and all. Please throw away bias and your ideological fears away and let new players come in.Recommend

  • faraz

    When Imran will divert gas from cars to industry, an economically correct decision, then i will see how many of his CNG car using supporters stick with himRecommend

  • Super Pak

    Does anyone in Pakistan have a clue about journalism or is this the local tabloids. In fact tabloids have better journalists than the Pakistan media. Hey here’s an idea instead of regurgitating everything that has been said since Imran had successful information why don’t you give us a solution. Oh thats right you don’t have one, so please Nostradamus keep your predictions to yourself and be happy that Pakistan finally has a ray of hope in this god forsaken country. Recommend

  • Hamood

    Pathetic blog. Please keep voting for PPP and PML- maybe they will perform better next time. The height of idiocy is to keep making the same mistakes over and over again and expect different and better results.Recommend

  • sk

    When someone writes a blog he should atleast get the facts right.
    PTI nazriati is a joke they should change their name to suspended group. They were suspended from pti a year ago due to breach of discipline. They will be nonexistent within a week. I think blogs like these are beneficial as people are becoming more committed towards Imran khan.
    Kudos @khan, @zohaib for giving valid pointsRecommend

  • architect

    True…. & very well written Recommend

  • waseem

    PRO will not have any seat in senate till new senate election nd that will stop IK to deliver. Again makhdooms, azharz, lagharis will give advice that’s suit them. Well just think khurshid kaduri like Having one education system which will hurt his wifez and sister in laws business. Well keep your finger closed. Dear kashif Mr infant khan was member of Kashmir committee and member of accountability committee and his performance was zero and with out any output and any meaningful contribution.Recommend

  • Hammad

    The lines have to be old since such is the state of this country. What do you expect him to say we will continue with this system of corruption and put you through more torture. Hence every party PPP, PML and now PTI has the same slogan. Change. Its a slogan for country like Pakistan. Nothing wrong in that.

    Secondly the Imran bashing without a proposition of your own leaves in that group which either supports the army or is that confused youth who stands nowhere as yet.

    Why give Imran one year when people of Pakistan can give a man like Zardari 4 years. I don’t expect from people like us to develop the guts or change so suddenly. If we can give Zardari 4 years for Imran wont be much different. And if he fails so what. Not that you have any other democratic option.Recommend

  • Shahid

    O bhai bas kar do yaar ab! Dozens of articles and blogs are published regarding Imran Khan every week. Those people bashing Imran Khan and the PTI, I have a simple question for you: Please give me another alternative party, for which I can vote. PTI and Imran Khan will make mistakes, that’s certain. But the thing is, do you really question Imran Khan’s intention? He is not in this for personal gain. If he was after that, he had LOTS of opportunities to come into power. People who like to bash PTI and Imran Khan are just trying to look like intellectuals, which they are clearly not. If you hate Imran Khan so much, then PLEASE go and vote for the likes of PML-N, PPP, ANP and MQM in the next elections. It seems you love these other parties a lot. Thank you.Recommend

  • hope

    Imran Khan is nothing but hype an inferior product with excellent marketing but of no use. Countries are not run by individuals they are run by “teams” and he doesnt have a capable team. About 6 months back i was his fan but now the way he has started speaking i find him unreliable, arrogant not fit to run “Pakistan”. I hope god doesnt make us go through another trial by making him something big.Recommend

  • Farz

    Valid points by the author.

    PTI = Professional Lota Ittehad.


  • http://NewYork Falcon

    I have seen so many of these articles talking about the same issue over and over and over. I wish I had a tape recorder (with a big re-play button on it) I could put on rather than writing clarifications for PTI. May be writers can do us all a favor and do better research on why the choices PTI is making are inevitable and how is PTI planning to mitigate risks arising out of new inductions.Recommend


    PTI also talks of reforms and change in Pakistan. Sometimes I feel this is the same change that another charismatic personality much loved by the American youth Barack Obama talked about in his election campaign, and what a lie it has turned out to be. The truth is PTI cannot bring a change or a revolution in Pakistan with the same old faces that previously proved futile. Iranian revolution was not the work of those who were part of the Shah’s regime who then became a part of Ayatolla Khomenei, but on the contrary. They were men of strong characters who had an ideology, with the same mind set and who were never a part of the Shah’s regime. Recommend

  • zuhair

    Good effort Samir as your article points out few valid points but does not provide any alternate solution. Are we so naive that we cant think beyond criticism and suggest solutions? or you are joining the band wagon and becoming a news anchor on a randow tv show?Recommend

  • Sharjeel

    Very true.. awesome work. the rating doesn’t show the reality. ur assessment is spot on as of mine..!! i gave u a 5er…:))Recommend

  • Parvez

    Not a convincing argument by you.
    The country has never been so badly governed or so shamelessly plundered as it is being today. The PML-N’s period comes a close second. In the eyes of the common man a change, any change would be welcome as they feel that things can really not get worse.
    PTI represents that change. Predicting failure for PTI at this stage is premature. Recommend

  • Frank Oberserver

    Imran Khan All the Way…Anyone who writes against him or doubts his intention is quite frankly on the payroll of PMN-L or PPP.

    Who cares if establishment is supporting him? It’s about time establishment does something for the good of the country. Supporting Imran Khan would be the first decent thing the establishment will have done for the country.

    Anyone who supports any party other than Imran Khan led Tehreek Insaf is quite frankly a traitor and an enemy of Pakistan. For goodness sake, how many more times are we going to try PML-N and PPP. They have done nothing but loot the country. Enough is enough. Imran Khan is the symbol of change and it won’t matter how many journalists are bought by PML-N people are now clever enough not to be fooled by such articles. Recommend

  • Mohsin


    I think it’s kinda kiddish of you to not come up with anything logical and just make stupid acronyms like Professional Lota Ittehad.

    3 reasons for you to take the same!

    Professional Lota Ittehad would make PLI; not PTI. Shame on you
    At least they are professionals, unlike Nawaz and Co. Shame on you.
    Lota’s are people who get elected on a party’s ticket and change loyalties to get benefits like ministries etc. Here, people are resigning from elected seats and joining a party that currently has no role in government. They are not lota’s. But you certainly are dumb. Shame on you. :)

  • Mir Agha

    It is disappointing that Imran Khan has stopped his factual speaking on MQM, and recently against Pervez Musharraf. Both (mqm and musharraf) need to be taken on in addition to the feudals (bhuttos and sharifs and anpites) if a new Pakistan is going to emerge. The reality of politics in Pakistan is that you have to hobnob with certain unsavory characters. I just hope Imran institutes his change once he is in power. He’s the only one that recognizes that the system has to change, not just the head of the government. Plus, he’s better than the rest, by far.Recommend

  • noor khan

    hats off , u nailed itRecommend

  • anonymous

    good points samir.Recommend

  • Haider

    You represent the 0.001% of the population. Also, you are rich person and are part of elite family thus no one cares about your opinion. PTI is best party and it will bring tsunami and all bad people will be gone. Recommend

  • KK

    Excellent article presenting all the facts, figures and doubts that all Pakistanis have in their mind about IK. It was an unbiased article, I must say. However, from the comments by PTI supporters to this blog gives an impression that that IK supporters do not have that maturity to stomach even positive criticism at the moment. Recommend

  • Haris

    @Kashif Iqbal:
    Imran doesnt need to prove anything to the public…..he has already proven his leadership and governing skills through the progress and accomplishments of SHAUKAT KHANUM n NAMAL UNIVERSITY. can u think of a person in the government that has done so much for the people of this country out of their own pocket and without being in power. It’s the inability of the minds of people like you who can’t accept the fact that a true and genuine person like Imran Khan can exist. One who would win a world cup and waste his money on a cancer hospital which they say would perform free treatment. they were people like you who thought he was a comedian…. but he proved you wrong.Recommend

  • LOL

    I know the writer personally and he has always been anti-PTI. I didnt expect anything positive from this blog. Whatever his arguments regarding PTI’s inability be I’ve never seen him come up with a solution for the problems. That is the problem with our know-it-all youth, they’re too educated to praise anyone who’s at least trying for a change. What have you done other than sitting in States, reading E-news and writing a blog out of it. Get a life! Recommend

  • apj

    yes we khan!!Recommend

  • Haters gonna hate

    @Kashif Iqbal:
    whole country will be in chaos? why so?

  • Ali Tanoli

    MQM Haqiqi didnot do any thing so dont worry about Pti Nazriathi.Recommend

  • Naeem

    Another ‘liberal’ yapping. Yawn!!!!Recommend

  • Tanzeel

    Good write up, people might not buy your logic at this point in time but once Imran comes into power and start behaving no different than establishment’s puppet then only victims of fad will realize what monkey does with ginger.Recommend

  • Amjad

    Message to Harris.
    U wrote Imran built the cancer hospital from his own pocket? It was built by money of common people who donated money to him. Please write the truth.Recommend

  • http://NewYork Falcon

    Amjad…its true that SKMH funding was primarily done by Pakistanis like us. However, IK has continued to be one of the key donors to the institution as well.Recommend

  • Zaffar

    The proof is in the pudding. Msg for the writer: Be Patient, Wait & see, Clean elections> RESULT PTI WINS. Have a NICE DAYRecommend

  • Samir

    Zaffar, the article already says PTI wins. Try reading before commenting? Recommend

  • ahsan

    Brother, are you comparing Imran Khan’s PTI with PPP and PML-N? Are you out of your mind? Are you not witnessing what is going around the country from last four years? Aren’t you frustrated of this system? Do you see any hope of change in the country expect Imran Khan? At least he stood up unlike other people. And for your info, if he has brought 8-10 old faces to PTI that doesnt means that his old people are standing no where. You will see the change INSHALLAH!! Recommend

  • Fawaz Qamar

    Please do not spread propoganda against Imran Khan without confirming the facts. PPP & PML-N have induldged us badly in a terrible vicious cycle. If you support & love Imran Khan please have a look here: . I found this very useful to clear your mind on Imran Khan – PTI.Recommend

  • Xasir

    Give the guy(ik) a break man. U have tried and failed, and u never know unless u try. One for imran khan. U???Recommend

  • Xasir

    Of late, it has been much of a fad to disown IK for the want to be taken seriously and of having independent mind. All i can say is, come up with better ideas!!!Recommend

  • Fawaz Qamar

    @Xasir: “a person makes a mistake first time; it is called experience. But if he repeats that mistake again; it is called foolishness.”
    So we shouldn’t pretend to be foolish at least. Recommend

  • Sarah

    It makes me laugh when people disguise hatred behind pointless articles based on insubstantial arguments. The staunch supporters of that man who respect him for the fact that he never gave up will not abandon that respect upon these childish gimmicks. Try hard as you may kid.Recommend

  • I am Pakistani.

    Why you people are taking IK as a serious thread of PPP & PML-N?
    You guys are still wanted to dig in a dirty well.
    Be mature, you dont have any other choice accept IK.
    You already elected both parties many times, there is no any ideaology of them. Give chance to PTI and will see what they will do.
    Your imaginations are similar like when Quaid-e-Azam was standing against congress and there were many leaders start allegations agaisnt Quaid-e-Azam.
    The same scenario is today. The Leader of both parties does not want PTI will come and open the cases of Corruption and LOOTING against them.
    If you people dont like PPP and PML then do you have any other choice, if you have paste here so we can discuss.
    Papa Leagueeee and Dada Peopliiiiiii.
    When you will go against this DADA PAPA.Recommend

  • Muhammed Adil

    To change the system PTI (lease) is required
    The MQM is most appropriate forRecommend

  • ahmed

    Dear Readers
    PTI has no roots in masses. It is the party of lootas. Javed Hashmi has become mad. He got a lot of honour in PML n. Imran will use the money of Jews in elections and will try to win some seats, no doubt Jagidar of Imran’s party will win elections in their constituencies.Recommend

  • Khalid Khan

    Whatever these drawing room Analyst or writers predict, the people of Pakistan know that Imran Khan is our last hope. Brainless odd couple of PML(N) has been tried umpteenth time but they failed miserably. Similarly Zardari, Gillani combination has also proved disastrous. IK is an honest, bold and courageous leader with all leadership qualities. Analyst who think that PTI will scatter are living in fools paradise as the people who are supporting IK from the last fifteen years are doing this unconditionally. We fully understand the requirement of our obsolete and Corrupt political system. We also understand that IK is not a Munafiq politician he is a courageous leader who leads from front. We will Inshallah stand by him without any fear or favor Recommend

  • Saeed Khan

    I hate the argument that Imran is immature and needs experience, etc. Means? Zardari is experienced so try him again…. you have Asfandyar, Zardari, Sharifs, Maulana, Altaf and then Imran… Imran may have made thousands of mistakes, and brought lotas, he may be establishment’s guy… but Now select one leader from the above list who you can trust… Ask your heart…..Recommend