Shahid Ahsan Baloch |
Being a common man, what I can recall from my early adulthood years (in the nineties) was a Pakistan already broken into two; people disenchanted, taking to arms became a way of life for some segments from Balochistan, Karachi, and probably any and everyone who could get access to them; public institutions, including educational, and health ones, declining in almost every conceivable way.
The generation which I belong to has always been confused every couple of years – whether the country has finally started treading on the road to development or is Pakistan moving in a backward direction. I remember closing our enthusiastic debates on the state of affairs with the hopeful sentences that behind every peak there is a fall, and the darkest hour is just before dawn, but that dawn seems to be lost somewhere.
Somewhere between hope and fear emerged Imran Khan
Then emerged Imran Khan (IK), as someone who after his effectiveness in setting up Shaukat Khanum decided to get into the world of murky politics, and launched a struggle which had all the reason to fail, and that too in a miserable way, but against the odds is still here.
However, even though Imran Khan & PTI – are capable enough to win the election, he should, in my opinion, never become the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
1. The last worldly hope
By 2013, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) was widely accepted as a worthy political challenge to the status quo. Imran Khan has always been influential and a rare Pakistani personality that the world, and more importantly, the countrymen could not turn away from. Imran for many, including me, is considered as the last worldly hope for a just and respectable Pakistan.
Shane J. Lopez said, ‘Hope gives us the power to effect change’.
But, Imran stands politically alone against the status quo players; not a favorite of either national or international establishments, so he will not get a smooth sailing.
So, until he, as a leader, or we, as a nation, have other new hope(s) to cling on to (true leaders), we cannot afford IK to even accidentally fail in an ultimate executive position.
2. PTI must not become a PPP
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) for decades had been the only party to have enjoyed an ideological mass political support throughout the country.
However, despite PPP’s contributions to the country, it always remained a personality dependent party and is ran as a one man – or woman – show. Hence, it could not become a political institution, like many in western democracies and breathe without a dynasty.
If Imran assumes PM’s position, being occupied in day to day important affairs of the state, PTI may also severely risk its transformation from moving from being a party to being a political institution. This will prove to be a great loss to the country.
History of Pakistan Muslim League after Quaid-e-Azam also suggest that such personality dependent parties become so prone to falling into the hands of cronies when their leaders pass away.
3. No one is perfect
I, as his supporter, appreciate Imran’s great qualities that he proved time and again but after all, being a human, he has to have some shortcomings as well.
One being most relevant here is his tendency to get caught up in the spur of the moment. His announcement to strike down a drone (which probably cost him 2013 general elections), calling for civil disobedience, by not paying our electricity bills, during the 2014 dharnas, etc.
Yes, he is bold and a great risk-taker, but shooting from the hip without thinking, is not particularly a tendency that is suitable for a PM to have, especially for that of the only Muslim nuclear state.
4. If a single vote counts, then a chunk may well play huge
Analysing election 2013, no matter how rigged, it is easy to say that Imran could not win or convince a significant number Pakistani voter to vote for him to win the election outright.
Forget about growing size of his public gatherings, and popularity which even his critics acknowledge, and also forget about electoral flaws, PTI is yet to win a general election outright.
One major bottleneck to win more voters can very well be the belief the voters have that ‘all he aspires and struggle for is to become a PM and rest is only a fancy story knitted around’; some even present his philanthropic profile as a deliberate route to this perceived true aspiration.
Imran’s verbatim of using ‘I’ and ‘me’ instead of a ‘we’ does not help to support his case of wanting to become PM for the nation rather than for himself.
So, if Imran somehow consider this humble advice, a significant chunk among his non-voters shall be forced to reconsider their choice at ballot for sure.
5. More of inspiration and legacy
It is said that ‘true competition is always with one’s own self’, no doubt Imran enjoys and will surely leave behind a big legacy after Quaid-e-Azam, but it can get even bigger, and way more inspirational for people if he decide never to assume and enjoy any direct power. Practicing politics as PM will leave a scar.
6. Encourage more competent Pakistanis
Just like side effect of all things, there also exist side impacts.
Think of the message that Imran will send if PTI wins the coming general elections and decides to nominate Asad Umar or another competent person for the premier job instead. How many more such worthy Pakistanis from across the globe would be encouraged to switch to public service?
To become a great leader in history teaches us that one must encourage a strong second-tier leadership – both to accompany them in this journey and to leave them behind in the struggle for the revolution to continue.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.