Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Imran Khan – The Bat-Man and His Change

Writer is a political commentator and renders his services to Capital TV as Assistant Producer (Twitter: SaqibTanveer)
Imran Khan has been running the Sharif brothers ragged in the political battlefield of Punjab. The two Sharifs have been roaming around whole of Punjab to counter the attractive ‘rhetoric’ of change of Imran Khan. The bat of Imran Khan is clearly producing sixes that has left the lion thinking.
Sharifs may feel threatened with the presence of Khan in Punjab, as it breaks the traditional hegemony of two parties in Pakistan but, actually – much hasn’t changed. The rhetoric of Imran Khan, to bring about a change and moving away from the politics of elect-ables, has been blown by his recent actions i.e. induction of turncoats and not being able to present pragmatic and implementable solutions to complex problems.
The mantra of change has always been seductive to the masses, primarily because of the incompetence of previous government. As the cliché goes; it isn’t the opposition that wins the elections, it is the government that loses. People want change and desperation leads them to anyone who spearheads the campaign of change, be it Barack Obama, Tahirul Qadri or Imran Khan.
Bringing about a change, especially in a place like Pakistan, is not as easy as it may seem. Though I completely agree with Imran Khan when he says that he can end major corruption in 90 days, as it only takes will and honesty.
Imran Khan will definitely come in to power one day, not sure if next term is his.
But his agenda of change – from within – seems highly impossible. Ending the politics of dynasty and elect-ables is something that cannot be done from within. This sort of change can be brought in the urban area but our rural area is poles apart, when it comes to both, facilities and electoral dynamics.
Imran Khan’s focus has been Punjab and Punjab is all about rural areas.
People in rural areas are not concerned with party’s manifesto, economic policy, stance on war on terrorism etcetera etcetera.
Recently, I was in my village and attended a lot of baithaks (formal sittings of elders of village) and all their talk was related to elections. They all were active, in fact, proactive and excited about the upcoming elections. Though all of them were interested in the predictions on who would emerge as the winner in their constituency, none of them was concerned about the background and capability of the candidates.
All they were interested in was the caste of the candidate and his previous allegiance with the village.
One candidate and previous MNA is commonly known as a murderer and car lifter and there have been many cases pending against him in the courts but no one is concerned with his criminal record.
A recent decision by the head of my baradari (caste) was to vote and campaign for one particular candidate and all the baradari has to follow that decision now. No element of freedom to cast vote for personal choice.
This is the story of virtually every rural constituency in Punjab and this is where Nawaz Sharif has been successful. He has been there and done that while Imran Khan is a rookie, when it comes to rural politics.
If Imran Khan has to come into power then he will have to follow the suit of status-quo i.e. emulate the way Nawaz Sharif or any other party in Pakistan has been doing so – the politics of elect-ables.
And Khan has been able to deviate from his idealistic standards and lean towards the more pragmatic ones and has become an agent of status-quo. Even if Imran Khan comes to power, he will never be able to break the shackles of status-quo, in fact, if he has to come into power then that can only be with the help of people guarding the status-quo.
Imran can hit sixes with his bat very well and win the crowd with his sixes but will these sixes help him win the match? That remains to be seen.
The question is what sort of bat does Imran plans to bring? If it is the same bat that brought us the worldcup, then I would love to hold it but if by bat, he means the animal then I am sure, the lion is ready to swallow it. Choice is yours, Mr. Bat-Man! And you are definitely out of options.