A blast from the past
American Presidential elections 2008: two candidates; one party – Hillary Clinton first woman to be nominated by a party for presidential race, but a woman. On the other hand, Barack Obama, a man whose race made him stand out as no one thought that an African-American can ever become the POTUS.
Both belonging to the same party – Democratic – but that didn’t stop them from running a nasty campaign against each other in the primaries. They said things that would make them hate each other.
America gets done with elections choosing its first African-American President – The Barack Obama beating the woman, his party fellow candidate Hillary Clinton. Now begins the interesting part of the story.
Obama reaches the oval office and there he has to choose his cabinet. And he chooses none other than Hillary Clinton to be his ‘Secretary of State’ – one of the key positions in his cabinet. That’s strange – this man was just running a full-fledged campaign against her only a few weeks ago.
What is even more bizarre; that same Hilary Clinton who was calling Obama a drug addict and what not while running against him, just accepted the offer and became The Secretary of State in Obama’s administration for the next four years. And this is how the ‘Team of Rivals’ came into being. The team was not just formed but it proved to be a great duo in the office for the country.
Both talked it out, forgot all the differences. Bruised egos and all the bitter memories were buried and left behind. Hillary and Obama followed hand in hand the larger interest which was serving the country and the people.
In ‘Hard Choices’ – a memoir authored by Hillary Clinton – she tries to explain the readers how hard the choices get when one is in politics; by starting off with the chapter about her ’Team of Rivals’.
Is that not a proof enough to fathom that bureaucracy is the most powerful player in this country – while it should not be. Bureaucrats are called “civil servants” and not the “masters”
American democracy taught us a lesson! Politics before the elections and politics after the elections is and should be different. But this lesson, I assume, is only for those who wish to learn.
Khan’s ‘Team of Rivals’
If we compare this with Pakistan; all the parties have factions – just like in America. So does the ruling party ‘Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf’. In the beginning there were only two prominent factions: Tareen and Qureshi. After the PTI won and the government was formed this divide went beyond the party. It soon gave rise not just to further factions within the ruling party but the divide between bureaucracy and the elected representatives also started to emerge very visibly.
About PTI one thing is certain that Imran Khan is PTI and PTI is Imran Khan. Nobody can come and hijack it from him – it is his baby. He did get support from the like-minded people but it’s his brain child; his patented intellectual property. And among many who supported him faithfully has been Jehangir Khan Tareen (JKT). He is known to be his devoted, dependable, trustworthy and firm aide. Even Tareen’s disqualification by the courts is believed to be a balancing act.
Tareen in this game has been called the Kingmaker, the power-broker. People believe he has been active behind the scenes to make things work for many who jumped on the band wagon of PTI.
With this background, the question that needs to be answered is: if this “Sugar & Wheat Crisis Enquiry Report”, and its release on the media is to be seen as “V” for Khan’s victory for delivering on his promise of across the board accountability or is this a “V” for Vendetta by Khan’s inner circle – which comprises of powerful bureaucrats as well.
Many have been saying that Imran Khan has changed; the Khan in opposition and the Khan in power are two different persons. If this is fulfillment of Khan’s promise of accountability (which it is most likely when it comes to Khan) then this country has never seen any Prime Minister in the history who has gone against his own people knowing all kinds of political costs that he may have to pay for going after them.
He is thus the man this country waited to have for a really long time. And I must say here that Imran Khan who became the Prime Minister of Pakistan 19 months ago – aspirational, honest to a fault – is the same Imran Khan that we know as the Prime Minister today. He has not changed a bit.
Imran Khan knew what he wanted for Pakistan then, and he knows what he wants for Pakistan now. The team (Political, bureaucratic, technocratic) really have to sit down and start some soul searching
But if all what happened is the other “V” – and represents victory of vendetta; If Khan’s bureaucratic team in guise of accountability, as claimed by Tareen, tried to settle political scores with him, then the question naturally arises that how come a bureaucrat became that powerful and influential to influence PM against his very close aide?
Is that not a proof enough to fathom that bureaucracy is the most powerful player in this country – while it should not be. Bureaucrats are called “civil servants” and not the “masters”. Master is The Khan and he shouldn’t be influenced by any civil servant or unelected person.
Another question is that government spokespersons, and key representatives on tv, when asked what was the purpose of releasing this report which is technically incomplete as it doesn’t point out any irregularity or anomaly then they say we released it according to the Right of Information Act.
But what exactly was the information that they wanted to give to media through this report? Still not clear. However, one thing that all knew and understood was that this report will be massively discussed over media and it will be linked to Jehangir Khan Tareen by the media pundits, warriors and journalists – whatever you may call them.
So, one wonders! The government could have come out with a bigger bang after taking action against the culprits, once the detailed forensic audit report was ready to be made public. Though this report was incomplete and inconclusive, media – as expected – started attacking government’s ministers and allies like CM Punjab Usman Buzdar, Khusro Bakhtiyar, Moonis Elahi and Jehangir Tareen.
This created sensational discussions about PM’s Principle Secretary, Azam Khan and his dispute with PM’s right hand man Jehangir Khan Tareen as said by Tareen, himself, on TV. This enquiry report thus made the Prime Minister Khan appear morally very strong – a man of principles and not afraid of losing anything even; but politically it makes him appear weaker. All the more reason for opponents to conspire against him.
I had earlier mentioned about the number of party factions and divisions; because I also wanted to bring attention towards how people driven by the same goal make their way towards achieving it. During the 2014 Dharna, Khan’s indomitable team – different people from different walks of life, unconventional politicians with some differences as well but still having each other’s back, – came together for one goal; forming the government, making Imran Khan the Prime Minister.
What I imply is that they should be working towards these goals and they must be doing that together – not against each other by pulling one another down
That was only possible because they were all together. After the government was formed, they all got too occupied with personal profiles and self-interests leaving Khan apparently alone in the fight of reforming the country. As if they have simply forgotten why exactly they wanted to be a part of this political system in the first place.
Imran Khan knew what he wanted for Pakistan then, and he knows what he wants for Pakistan now. The team (Political, bureaucratic, technocratic) really have to sit down and start some soul searching. They need to ask themselves a few simple questions. And these could be: Do they really want to change anything?
Have they been working towards that change or have they been driven by the portfolios they have been given and taken away? Have they become conventional politicians since they took over? Or are they still the same folks wanting to bring change? If they fail to bring the change, they desire in this term then are they working towards another term? This last question is again the kind of goal which I am sure could and should bring all of them together.
What I imply is that they should be working towards these goals and they must be doing that together – not against each other by pulling one another down. Because these in-house quarrels and brawls, not hidden from public eye, are not going to benefit anyone in the long run. But this lesson, though simple to the core, is only for those who wish to learn. Hope they are reading!
Shiffa Yousafzai is a TV presenter & producer with Hum News. She is an International Alumni Ambassador for Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, where she studied Multimedia Journalism. Earlier, she graduated with business and marketing at Air University, Islamabad. Shiffa could be followed on twitter @Shiffa_ZY and on Facebook @ShiffaYousafzai. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.