News Analysis |
Imran Khan, the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), failed, once again, to turn up for the sixth and last budget meeting, presented by his arch-rival, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), in the National Assembly.. On Friday, the PTI leader preferred to attend the Digital Youth Summit in Peshawar, instead of ensuring his presence in the Lower House of the Parliament. The Pakistani politician, however, did advise his party members and urged other opposition parties to stage a protest amid the presentation of budget by Miftah Ismail, who they honored.
This is of no surprise as Imran Khan has kept up a regular absentee from the parliament, for last five years, and his absence is well noted during key sessions. The PTI chief missed the last budget session of 2017-18, while all other party leaders were present. Moreover, the cricketer-turned-politician skipped the budget session for the previous years of 2016-17, 2015-16 and 2014-15. Starting from the first Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’ budget session, when Imran Khan was medically unfit, he has gone on to miss many more..
Imran’s ‘laziness’ is not just limited to the budget sessions, he has been avoiding other crucial sessions of the parliament on regular basis. His last speech on the floor of the house was made in May 2016, when he clarified his position on the Niazi Services Limited, his offshore firm, revealed in the Panama Papers. He, also, missed the joint sitting of the parliament when the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, addressed the members in 2018.
In the recent history of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gillani, former Prime Minister regularly showed up before the Parliament, and his gesture was widely hailed by the Democrats and political observers.
The ambitious Khan, who aspires to become the Prime Minister of the country after securing victory in the upcoming elections, went on to miss the session held during the visit of the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in 2016. Further to this, In April 2015, Imran Khan skipped the second day of the joint session of the Parliament, convened on the issue of the Yemen conflict.
This was after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was ridiculed by Khawaja Asif, then Defence Minister, with his remarks that went on to become a catchphrase – ‘Koi Sharm, Koi Haya’. Imran Khan also avoided participation in the parliamentary conference in 2016, called on the Kashmir issue. Rather, he preferred to walk through the serene Nathia Galli, where a selfie of his tour was also posted.
However, It does not stop there, the whole of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf went on to boycott the joint session of the Parliament called on the Kashmir issues in 2016, citing the presence of Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister, in the backdrop of Panama Papers. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf legislators had also tendered resignation from the Parliament during the 2014 sit-in, but when they arrived back in the house, almost everyone received their salary.
With this in mind, though Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has been an advocate of democracy and the norms attached to it, the conduct of Imran Khan is visibly in a flagrant contradiction to it. Moving on, Imran Khan attended only 2 out of 102 days of the National Assembly sittings in the Parliamentary year 2016-17, though he received compensation to the tune of Rs. 3 million for the said duration. According to a report by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), issued recently, PTI chief, Imran Khan, attended the lowest number of assembly sessions, since he showed up to only 20 sessions in the last five years.
The ambitious Khan, who aspires to become the Prime Minister of the country after securing victory in the upcoming elections, went on to miss the session held during the visit of the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in 2016.
On the other hand, Nawaz Sharif, the arch-rival of Imran Khan, turned up before the house for 44 times, which is double compared to Imran Khan. According to FAFEN, from June 1, 2013, to March 16, 2018, the attendance of Imran Khan stood at 5 percent as he attended only 23 out of 493 total settings, missing 470 sessions, many of whom were crucial.
Read more: Imran Khan to expel 20 lawmakers from PTI
In January 2018, Imran Khan faced the broadside of lawmakers when he cursed the Parliament. Moreover, the lawmaker has been facing ire of other legislators as he has been constantly terming the parliament ‘rigged’. Though Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had genuine concerns regarding the allegations of rigging in 2013 elections, missing the key sessions dented the credibility of the party. On one hand, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf kept decrying the proceedings and conduct of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz lawmakers, while on the other end, they kept receiving the remunerations.
In the recent history of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gillani, former Prime Minister regularly showed up before the Parliament, and his gesture was widely hailed by the Democrats and political observers. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has to cogitate whether its absence in the parliament was enhancing the clout of the party or was supporting its rivals.