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Imran Khan: The only hope for Pakistan?


Farah Adeed |

Freedom of speech is considered one of the core values of a genuine democracy. The centrality of freedom of speech in a democratic political order is for two reasons. Firstly, without free speech and open discussion, a democracy may never evolve to become a better, more inclusive and more reliable system of governance.

Free speech means innovative thinking, new ideas, and fresh thinking. It also means some novel and critical perspectives about the existing power structures. Hence, sometimes free speech directly challenges the status quo. Secondly, independent critics and freethinkers openly discuss government policies and offer their criticism or some words of appreciation.

Imran Khan should be criticized for whatever wrong he does. He needs to be corrected on many points but let’s be sure he needs time and public support to reform institutions to help us creating a Naya Pakistan.

In either way, free discussion of economy, politics, and society helps the government realizing the scope and impact of its policies and assess the extent of their success or failure. Therefore, freedom of speech is a democracy is institutionally protected and widely revered since it is the only way to maintain the democratic spirit in a domestic model of governance.

Pakistan is not a genuine democracy. It is on its way to becoming a real, representative democracy where institutions matter more than individuals and all basic human rights are protected by the state. Military intervention, incompetent and self-centered political elite, anti-democracy cultural settings and undue foreign involvement in the domestic affairs of the country did not let Pakistan become a true democracy. But since 2008 Pakistan is on its way to establishing a democratic political order based upon the ideals of the 20th-century democratic theory.

Read more: Imran Khan is the second best leader for Pakistan: International analyst

From 2008 to 2018, the parties of the status quo remained in power. It was a change but no change. It was a perfect case of “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.  The national assemblies completed their constitutional tenures but inclusiveness, meritocracy, rule of law and protection of civil rights remained highly contested and least developed during the tenures of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-).

A new political force came in and promised to bring ‘real’ changes in Pakistan to make it a better democracy. Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as a new romance of young, educated men and women in urban Pakistan. It changed the politics of the country. As a matter of fact, initially Khan was not given attention by the establishment but soon he was everyone’s choice for his untainted character and clear political vision. In the general elections 2018, PTI came up a new ruling party in the country. It was the start of a tough time for Khan and his inexperienced team.

The government also needs to be reminded that dissents and critics are one who makes democracy more inclusive and more popular. Therefore, bear with them and stay focused on your basic political principles.

Every serious student of Political Science can tell you that change cannot be introduced in a month. Real change takes time. A real change means an institutionalized change which is sustainable, calculated and effective. But Khan’s team told him to announce a change in the first 100 days of his government. It went terribly wrong. Governments need time. Khan now understands it.

But now the situation has become a little more confusing and uncertain. What Khan is doing? What is his vision? Has he a good team? Is he concerned about the poor and underprivileged classes in the country? And many more questions like this are being discussed in talk-shows and columns these days.

Many of Khan’s well-wishers, including myself, have become his strong critics for many reasons. For example, Khan’s inability to focus on Sahiwal tragedy, his helplessness over the killing of PTM’s leader, his unnecessary praise for Usman Buzdar and his choice for Law and information Ministers in Punjab is really objectionable and should be criticized. But it should also be remembered that a campaign against Khan on social or mainstream media means a campaign for Sharifs and Zardari.

Read more: What Imran Khan didn’t know & why? – Mohammad Zubair

Let it be an established fact now that both Sharif and Zardari have badly damaged the institutions and economics of Pakistan. Let the political dynasties be buried under the cover of history and change. Let a new political order be established in Pakistan that must be based upon the principles of democracy and rule of law.

Imran Khan should be criticized for whatever wrong he does. He needs to be corrected on many points but let’s be sure he needs time and public support to reform institutions to help us creating a Naya Pakistan. It is often a little too much when we view a government’s performance on the basis of its ability to snub the military establishment.

It reflects an inherent political prejudice against an institution which negates an objective approach to evaluating the performance of a government that is less than one year old. The incumbent government needs time and we should give it almost two years to evaluate its policies and performance. It is a fact that institutional changes take time and persistent focus of the top leadership.

Read more: Imran Khan wants to learn from Turkish economic experience

Furthermore, Imran Khan is one who has never focused on his personal political interests or self-projection. He wants Pakistan to be a welfare state where nobody faces discrimination or humiliation. This is the vision, spirit and a dream of every sane Pakistani.

The government also needs to be reminded that dissents and critics are one who makes democracy more inclusive and more popular. Therefore, bear with them and stay focused on your basic political principles.

Farah Adeed is a Senior Research Analyst in GVS. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s Editorial Policy. 

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