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From Umpire to vampire: From same page to different language

The military, which facilitated his entry into the PM Office wanted its pound of flesh and instantly put him in a straitjacket by Inductingall the “Kingsmen” into his cabinet; the very same people who were part of Musharraf’s cabinet. With the “Team” compromised, Imran was at the mercy of The-Powers-That-Be aka the Establishment, writes Ihsan Ghani, an Inspector General of Police (Retired)

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The word Umpire originated from Middle English and Old French, meaning “odd or as a tie-breaking arbitrator”.

A vampire is a creature from folklore that subsists by feeding on the vital essence (generally in the form of blood) of the living, the most famous being Count Dracula, who incidentally had nothing to do with Count Dracula of Transylvania

Imran- The Sports Icon

“It is not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters.”, Evander Holyfield

World Heavy Weight Boxing Champion

Imran Khan made his first-class cricket debut at the age of 16 in Lahore. By the start of the 1970s, he was playing for his home teams of Lahore A (1969–70), Lahore B (1969–70), Lahore Greens (1970–71) and, eventually, Lahore (1970–71).

On June 3rd, 1971, he played his first test at Birmingham against England, scoring 5 (runout) and went on to make 3,807 runs in his career. He remained wicketless after bowling 23 overs for 36 runs in his debut innings and went on to take 362 wickets in 88 matches.

Read more: Imran Khan Pakistan’s most capable leader: Survey

Playing his first One Day International at Nottingham on August 31st, 1974 against England, Imran remained wicketless after bowling his 10 overs; incidentally, his cousin Majid Khan was the Player of the match in that ODI scoring 109 from 93 balls and taking one wicket for 15 runs. Imran finished his career with 3,790 runs and 182 wickets in 175 matches. Rated among the top allrounder in cricket history, he dominated the cricketing world though his ball, bat, and off-field escapades.

Imran’s Search for Neutral Umpires

“Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rules. They apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ballgame to see the umpire”.John Glover Roberts Jr., American lawyer and jurist

Sick and tired of faulty umpiring decisions and the resulting controversies and finding umpires sacrificing game over glory, Imran and Nur Khan highlighted the case for neutral umpires in the early 80s. Ignored first, his long-awaited dream turned into reality onApril 11,2002 at Georgetown when two ICC Elite Panel neutral umpires took the field to officiate the first match of the five-Test series between West Indies and India.

Imran- the Campaigner

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s that little bit of good that overwhelm the world”, Bishop Desmond Tutu

In the twilight of his career, Imran started campaigning for his dream project- the SKMTH when he made a nationwide appeal for the collection of funds from a match between Pakistan and India on November 10, 1989 at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore which raised Rs. 2,902,600. This was followed by a series of more than 50 successful fundraisers held throughout the world. Pakistan’s win under Imran’s captaincy in the 1992 cricket world cup in Melbourne helped fundraising efforts.

He was able to collect one and a half million pounds in just six weeks after the World Cup when the same amount had taken 2 years to collect earlier. He donated his entire prize money of 85,000 pounds for the project. In 1994 when the project required more financing for the ongoing construction, Imran Khan launched a mass contact campaign in which he toured 27 cities in the country and collected Rs. 120 million. During the entire campaign for the construction of the hospital, over a million individual donors from ordinary citizens to the rich and famous pitched in. Everything from cash to jewelry and valuables was donated.

Read more: On the edge of precipice: Imran Khan’s fallout

Imran- The Humane

“Those who spend in prosperity and adversity, and those who suppress anger and pardon men; and Allah loves those who do good.” [Al Quran 3:134]

Imran went from door to door, from schools to colleges, from country to country to collect funds. The hospital has not only served hundreds of thousands of patients who couldn’t afford the high costs involved in treatment of cancer but has inspired numerous celebrities into establishing similar healthcare and other entities. The story that began with NamalCollege (established at a 40 Kanal) in his ancestral city of Mianwaliand has now reached Namal Knowledge City (spread over 1,000 kanal) is another inspiring venture.

These great philanthropic works and the donation drives should have instilled humility in him, it didn’t and instead it made him a demagogue.Youth, titled as Imran Tigersspearheaded his donation drive and thus became the bedrock of his campaign. The near impossible task of completing the SKMT Hospital catapulted the cricketing hero into a demigod status.

Imran- The Chosen One

‘I am the Chosen One,’ Trump proclaimed

The “Establishment*”, by this time was tired of the two-party rule that had brought in political and thus economic instability to the country and were unable to respond to the regional and global challenges. Direct military rule was not considered feasible then (as is now).

Political establishment always looks for persons of integrity, charisma, background, education, intelligence and charm to attempt to break the status quo. Jinnah was brought back from London to lead a beleaguered Muslim League to respond to the joint challenge posed by the British and Congress. A coterie of Muslim leaders needed a “First Among Equals”, who could not only respond to that challenge but also unify Muslims of the subcontinent and to stand above all leaders.

Tired of the stifling martial law of Ayub Khan, a group of intellectuals with socialist-leaning, primarily based in Lahore saw in Bhutto what it would take to challenge Ayub.

Read more: Shahbaz Gill clears confusion on Imran Khan interview with George Galloway

In Imran Khan, the Militablishment saw such a person. PPP and PMLs made their job easy through political squabbling, mudslinging and lack of governance. Since Zia’s Martial law and the judicial murder of ZAB, the military was never comfortable with PPP. Defiance shown by MNS in 1993 and his attempt to gobble not one but two Army Chiefs was too much for the military to absorb. The proverbial last straw proved to be his handling of Musharraf when he came to power for the third time.The

Charter of Democracy (CoD) was too late and too little. The then political leadership had discredited itself and the Establishment painted them so black that a vacuum was created. Search for a new actor in the political drama was on the cards and who better to fill this vacuum than a clean as a whistle, Aitchison and Oxford-educated, sporting icon, a philanthropist, a bachelor (to add spice to the milieu) and a crowd puller with the country’s youth at his beck and call. It was probably here that Imran realized the strength of youth power and used it in his political career.

Imran- The Politician

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” Plato

Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) was founded in 1996 and under its banner, Imran contested 7 constituencies in the 1997 general election but failed to win a single seat. In 2002, Imran managed to win his Mianwali seat. then boycotted the 2008 elections but came back strongly in 2013 when it not only won 35 general NA seats but also formed a government on the KP province. In 2018, PTI took its tally from 35 to 114 seats and formed governments at the Centre and in Punjab, KP and Baluchistan.

Imran entered the PM Office with strong support from the military, the judiciary and the media. The opposition was in complete disarray as FIA and NAB was let lose to hunt its leadership and put them in jails under dubious, frivolous and trumped-up charges.

When all seemed well and PTI hoping to win the next election (scheduled for 2023), bad luck struck.

Imran- The Appeaser

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile-hoping it will eat him last.” Winston Churchill

The military, which facilitated his entry into the PM Office wanted its pound of flesh and instantly put him in a straitjacket by Inductingall the “Kingsmen”into his cabinet; the very same people who were part of Musharraf’s cabinet. With the “Team” compromised, Imran was at the mercy of The-Powers-That-Be aka the Establishment. His Midas touch turned into a Sidam touch or a kiss of death; everything he touched, turned sour.

Granting extensions to Army Chiefs has been a norm in Pakistan; but not with Imran. The Extension turned into a dirty drama played out in front of the nation, where the attention starved opposition too willingly joined and obliged the COAS. Appointments of DGs ISI have been a norm but not with Imran; another sordid drama played out to a bitter end.

All well and then all went very very wrong and very very fast. The Whys are staring at us if we look carefully.

Read more: Imran Khan announces a march towards Islamabad

Imran- The Spoilsport

“The only way to prove you are a good sport is to lose.” – Ernie Banks, American professional baseball player

Imran and his toxic colleagues point fingers at all; from Uncle Sam to Charlie’s Aunt and though the direction may not be too out, there has to be a method to his madness. He is antagonizing the military, the judiciary and foreign powers. The narrative that he is building is selling but the cost to the country could be very high.

In politics and governance, a political leader when in opposition or out on the streets, is accessible to his workers, activists, voters and her/his party leaders, media and even to his opponents. The moment they get into power, the bureaucracy isolates and insulates them from everyone. Her/his colleagues, MNAs and even cabinet members have to go through a lengthy procedure for meetings; he looks at events from the selected media reports, he finds the pulse of the people not through the party cadres but from the intel agencies who feed them what they want to be fed. Not only does he start living in a cocoon, but his own party cadres also become frustrated and disgruntled.

This was the chink in Imran’s armour that the opposition exploited first, allies followed next and as they say, the rest is (recent) history and the result is that from the same page with the military, in a matter of weeks, Imran is speaking a different message.

So, what went wrong; the selection or the handling? Did Imran concede too much at the start and couldn’t assert himself when he tried or the military would not take even a whimper of dissent having gotten used to too many ayes. I guess a bit of both. While launching Imran, the Establishment didn’t consider the mercurial nature and unpredictability of his character.

Read more: Letter was hidden from Imran Khan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi

Imran- The Divider

“When elephants fight, the grass suffers”, African proverb

Pakistan society has generally remained divided; the provinces are created not on administrative grounds but more on ethnic grounds. Martial laws have added to the divisions as mainstream political order has not only always been replaced by nationalist or subnational politics, political leaders have been labeled corrupt and traitors. Imran’s rule, instead of galvanizing the polarised society, divided it further.

Imran and AGIT-PROP

AGIT-PROP, a Russian strategy, combining agitation and propaganda in a specific situation, was articulated by Lenin in 1902.

According to this strategy“Agitation” is the *use of “political slogans and half-truths to exploit the grievances of the public” and thereby to mould public opinion and mobilize public support. “Propaganda”, by contrast, is the “reasoned use of historical and scientific arguments to indoctrinate the educated and so-called “enlightened” members of society”, such as party members.

Whether by design or default, Imran and his team has been employing the same tactics to further his goals. He is leading his followers down a precipice, for a showdown that could turn bloody. The military role in politics must be curtailed but it would be preferable to do it from within the system. Military gained the clout it has over many decades and once tasted, they will not concede it in a day or year. Political order has to assert and military have to concede.

The rise of Social Media has amply exposed blatant interference by the military witnessed since 2017, and actions since March ’22 have increased anti-military sentiments in the country. Military is not the fourth pillar of the state; it should neither aspire to do so nor shall the three pillars allow it to assume that stature. If Imran continues to traverse the path that he is treading, all the minor gains made since 2002 could be lost.

Read more: Pictures of sons of Imran Khan goes viral during Twitter space session

*The term in its modern sense was popularized by the British journalist Henry Fairlie, who in September 1955 in the London magazine The Spectator defined the network of prominent, well-connected people as “the Establishment”. He wrote:

By the Establishment, I do not only mean the centers of official power—though they are certainly part of it—but rather the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised. The exercise of power in the United Kingdom (more specifically, in England) cannot be understood unless it is recognized that it is exercised socially.

In Pakistan, the term “The Establishment” refers to the military and their relations with the Intelligence community and high-level political officials that allow them to exert dominance over the government.

 

The writer is an Inspector General of Police (Retired) and Former National Coordinator of National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) Pakistan. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

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