What happened to the Imran Khan I knew?

When I joined PTI in 2006, not many took PTI seriously. But Imran Khan was a man of solutions back then. He used to make sense and provide solutions to problems prevailing in this country. The idea was simple, liberate the people of Pakistan from the shackles of a bogus system, invest in human resource and they will take care of their progress.

Imran Khan used to criticize Musharraf back then, but only where it was due. I remember aik srfter the earth quake, Imran Khan while criticizing Musharraf government’s inappropriate response to the disaster, suggested Musharraf to setup a camp office in Kashmir to mobilize resources. When asked about Musharraf’s refusal to Indian helicopters, he supported Musharraf saying he might have genuine reservations with Indian pilots. This was the man, I firmly believed would change the traditional politics in Pakistan.

I worked selflessly for this party for 3 years. Even when I was pushed out of the party in 2009, thanks to internal party politics, I never had any doubts on the intentions of Imran Khan and supported PTI whole heartedly in 2013 election campaign.

However something went terribly wrong somewhere. The Imran Khan I see now is not the same person I knew. Following reasons form the basis of my assumption.

  1. He has lost his objectivity. It almost looks like he is criticizing to settle personal vendetta. The criticism usually lacks substance and is accompanied with language not suitable for a leader of his stature. He is fast isolating himself in the media and reacts very oddly when questioned about his tactics. Even Haroon Rasheed, once a strong PTI ally in print and electronic media, was lost due mere difference of opinion. Iftikhar Chaudhry, once presented as a hero by PTI, also became a victim because the poor chap refused to bypass the usual process of investigating electoral fraud claimed by Imran Khan.
  2. He seems to have lost value of human beings. For him, workers are expendable assets. He may call protests on a short notice of 24 hours and as frequently as he want but forgets to say thank you after the event. He did nothing about rigging in his own intra-party elections which denied selfless workers their right to party positions. He publicly admitted that intra party elections were flawed but no one was held accountable.
  3. He is now full of negativity. And dangerously enough, the same negativity he is passing on to the youth of Pakistan. One can criticize while being respectful, but Imran Khan’s way of criticizing is bad mouthing your opponents. The followers then take the lead and go one step ahead of their leader.
  4. He has stopped seeing things through and this whole exercise of march is a proof. In his speech announcing civil disobedience, he revealed that he has been thinking all night to decide the next step. Imagine, after exhausting all his workers, creating panic in the country, crashing the stock market, he started thinking what to do next. How can we trust him with this country if he becomes Prime Minister?
  5. Imran Khan has reached where others usually reach after achieving power. The assumption that masses are with him no matter what he does and how he does it. This is a dangerous state of mind for someone aspiring to become Prime Minister. How can someone demand resignation of an elected Prime Minister based on his support of few thousand protestors? Would he resign if he was in a similar situation?
  6. It is said that a man is known by the company he keeps. Imran Khan now has the likes of Sheikh Rasheed, Chaudharies of Gujrat and TUQ as his allies. What can be expected if Sheikh Rasheed becomes the prime advisor.

I can only wish that sanity prevails in the end and Imran Khan could somehow pull a comeback. Because despite all my reservations, we do need a politician in the system who can challenge the traditional norms of politics, something other parties are incapable of.

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