Who cannot remember the self-centered Imran Khan, the Ex- Prime minister’s vows of rivers of milk and honey flowing within the first 100 days of his tenure as he was to transform Pakistan into an Islamic welfare state? Alarm bells should’ve rung when considering how the IK’s plan of remodeling a 21st century nation-state to a 17th century middle Eastern City, just as the deafening alarms were to be trumpeted when auctioning of 7 cows was secured as a vital part to plug Pakistan’s current account deficit.
Pakistan is no stranger to the illogical irredeemable political antics distinguished only by their bribery and incompetence, but the PTI government had managed to secure a wildly entertaining position, thus managing to make the past look good with people started pinning the ‘good old days” of PML-N and PPP governments as a miss in status quo.
PTI’s lack lustering performance in Government showed the troubling part where they should’ve understood their slogans causing the overblown rhetoric campaigning that failed to translate into policy. As signaled by their own Ex Chief Minister of Punjab, Osman Buzdar “abhi seekh rahey hain aista aista” , the trivial observers of the Ex government too pointed out the party’s inexperience to learn the ropes and missteps as nothing more than birth pangs instead of acknowledging the flaws, while their Government was busy making themselves comfortable to exercising levers of power. PTI lack the capacity to formulate and implement policies that would address the complex issues confronting Pakistan. Followed by Ghabrana Nahi hai’s infamous U-turns regarding its “never to go to IMF” statement or dogged belief of Chinese Government falling backwards to renegotiate the terms of CPEC.
A lack of concern about anything beyond its image and optics is another cynical view of PTI where their Government continued reliance on empty stunts and gimmicks in places where concrete action was needed, the never-ending use of rhetoric campaigning to castigate and silence its political opponents only to keep its base energized to remain in power just like any other populist party around the world. In times of echoing chambers on the internet and hyper-bigoted media houses fueling the spread of fake news and propaganda, it has been easy for PTI to keep the tempo up all times high to reinforce its power hold. But this tactic might not sustain for a longer time to keep the PTI’s momentum in the upcoming years.
PTI’s endorsement of abusive language and fascism should not come as a surprise to anyone which will be for generations to follow. PTI has been constrained by its own contradictions i.e. their response to striking out against TLP and later releasing the TLP activists arrested for violence and terrorism and Imran Khan’s personal rivalry against many respectable personnel including the honorable Chief Justice Qazi Faiz Isa. Also, how amendments by PTI, full of dictations was seen hampering the constitution of Pakistan. PTI can hardly be considered ideological, let alone progressive. They came to power on the basis of bombastic rhetoric and the co-optation of traditional political elites but only aped its predecessors in blaming the establishment for economic policies, the same establishment that was instrumental in bringing it to power, further limiting its ability to act on any radical impulses it had. PTI actively campaigned on religion and blasphemy only to come to power.
Governing a country of 220 million people is not a piece of cake, neither a walk in the park, nor is it a job that can simply be learnt on the go. To say that PTI was not prepared to govern , is nothing more than a damning indictment by the party. As Pakistan bids farewell to Imran Khan’s long-lost deceiving political envision, Pakistan has still to expect, a nation with less polarization, more resilience and better political rivalry in the making.