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Imran Khan Appoints the Biggest dacoit as his Party Head: A Self-Defeating Status Quo Appointment

PTI, PMLN, PPP and others are all the same one political party as any one of a political party can join other party without any hinderance.
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Barrister Waqar Cheema

The words of a politician are always meaningful. Once, Ik, an emerging politician, declared the then chief minister of Punjab, Pervez Elahi, the most corrupt politician in the country. These words were either a political rant or his conviction about the corruption of PE. However, whatever the case may be, the words still resonate in the power corridors of Pakistani politics. As politics is an art of possibilities, politicians must use them sparingly. However, then Maula Jatt style influences Pakistani politics, and words are often used exaggeratingly. Then, the politicians in Pakistan sparingly uphold the morality of words.

Nevertheless, politics is an art of compromises if the stakes are higher. Once an enemy is a friend next moment. This is the way politics work, especially in developing democracies. Imran Khan began his politics as the most popular personality in Pakistan. He had been the most cherished cricketer in the history of Pakistan. A fashionable philanthropist who inspired generations with some quality work of philanthropy. A hardworking politician who became the prime minister of Pakistan. A magician of popularity who became even more popular after his ouster as the prime minister. The man rides the best luck in Pakistan. Despite his failure as the country’s chief executive, he is the country’s most popular politician. Hence, he may be the luckiest person in Pakistan. Though he was never an extraordinary cricketer, philanthropist or even a politician, one may differ with the argument.

Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf never had an ideology. They are neither leftists nor rightists. The Party is entirely dependent upon the personality of Imran Khan, who has political supporters and a cult at the same time. It has never been an organized or democratic party. All decisions are taken only by Imran Khan. Therefore, the Party needs to be more vigorous in the organization, which is why they fail in the government. PTI’s first narrative was against corruption, and then they included the most corrupt politicians in their ranks. In connection with the elections of 2018, they developed the narrative of “change”. What is the concept of change for the PTI folks is yet to be decided. Political change necessarily means changing the legislative, fiscal, and administrative systems. However, the PTI governments have yet to try to reform or change the system. They have been in power for ten years in KPK; however, there have yet to be any political, judicial, legislative, or administrative reforms. PTI relied on the same colonial legislative modes, bureaucracy and governance systems.

PTI has changed their narrative to ” Haqeeqi Azadi” after the regime change controversy. The slogan seems attractive. However, the slogans do not resonate with the appointment of Pervez Elahi as the party president. Earlier, Javed Hashmi remained as the party president of PTI till the former left the Party in the wake of political ” Dharna” orchestrated by PTI, Awami Tehreek and others. However, the argument is whether the appointment of Pervez Elahi serves the ideological purpose of PTI or their ideological rants are merely an eyewash. The politics of Pervez Elahi is crystal clear, and he never hides it. He and his family cult has been the face of the Establishment. Their politics is simple; they hardly bother the merit, law, rules or transparency. They do politics of nepotism and favouritism. They take and give an advantage. Even the last tenure of Pervez Elahi is considered a tenure of nepotism, favouritism and corruption. The example of Muhammad Khan Bhatti is a glaring example of the politics of Pervez Elahi. Bhatti was a matriculate and appointed a clerk in the Punjab assembly; then, he was raised to grade 22, ignoring all merit, law and transparency. The recent appointments in the era of Pervez Elahi showed nepotistic bureaucracy, illegal recruitment and unfair distribution of financial resources. On record, Pervez Elahi diverted more than 200 billion rupees to developing the Gujrat Division. Hence, his way of governance and politics is far away from the apparent political rants of PTI, to say the least.

Then, Imran Khan appoints Pervez Elahi as the president of the PTI, whom he claims is a movement for justice, transparency and merit. Is it not less than political hypocrisy? There can be two propositions. Either the Imran Khan Khan and PTI narratives are an eyewash, or they have politically committed a mistake. The politics of Imran Khan and PTI need to be more consistent. It is comprehensible that it is challenging to uphold political ideals in the nascent democracy of Pakistan due to the social orientation of the society. But, it does not mean taking an absolute U-turn. The politics of Pervez Elahi is opposite to the apparent positions of PTI. His appointment as the president of PTI defeats their narrative of working against the status quo. If Pervez Elahi is not a symbol of status-quo, then who is the symbol? Critics attribute that the leader of PTI only rebukes those politicians who are his political opponents. If one partner with him, he can readily concede all the political deficiencies, including corruption, nepotism or any other. When Pervez Elahi was his political opponent, he was the biggest dacoit, but now, as a political pygmy, all his political sins are accepted. In the same analogy, if Nawaz Sharif or Asif Zardari become politically weak and do not threaten IK’s political power, IK can make them partners, compromising all their political and administrative sins. So, there seems to be a plan of management involved in political morality in Pakistan.

Can supporters of PTI absorb the appointment of Pervez Elahi? It is the most critical question. Political workers are never raised in PTI. The status-quo politicians hold almost all the political positions. Then, Imran Khan never appointed political workers as chief executives. The likes of Buzdars and Mahmoods are selected top executives of the provinces, AJK and GB. Lastly, politically, PTI, PMLN, PPP and other political parties are the same. They are all the same Party, and anyone from one Party can join the other Party. It is not a politics of ideology but a race for power politics, and PTI and Imran Khan are no exception.

The writer is a practicing lawyer at Lahore.

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