First off, I bash every party. I’m constantly bitter at the political process as anyone can tell from my social interaction (whether online or in person).
Why shouldn’t I be? We pay our taxes for a better quality of life, instead we scrape by in receiving the bare-minimum of services. Our democratic process has been hijacked time and again, and I don’t mean by the armed forces. They’ve been hijacked by the political process being undermined or over-fed.
Every election has seen the blot of rigging, illegal votes and thuggery, and the 2013 elections saw this live, as news and social sites broadcast such acts as they happened. We’re a nation of liars, and I’m not talking about politicians. I’m talking about us. We lie to ourselves saying ‘those thugs’ or ‘those damn (insert political party acronym here) party members!’.
Those are us. They didn’t just appear from Mars. They were born of the same soil and educated from the same institutions as you. They have the same educational qualifications and skills – in general – as you. They go to the same churches, mosques, etc as you do.
Just because they sin differently from you doesn’t make you better than them.
It makes you your brother’s keeper. You and I are responsible by association. It isn’t because we stay silent. It’s because we don’t. It’s because we love to point fingers and say ‘look at them, they’re the reason we’re in this predicament’ while we don’t stop at red lights and spit paan onto the pavement; while we purposely carry more weight than our baggage allowance on planes and prefer to pay our way through passport offices.
This brings me to the reason I started writing this.
I love Imran Khan. Really, I actually adore the guy. I was a fan of his cricket prowess as a child. The winning moment of the World Cup in ’92 will forever be like a video recorded in my head. I remember exactly where I was standing in my living room while my nana was sitting next to me watching the final moments of the Cup. I remember jumping for joy and running to my window to see if my friends came out into their balconies cheering, and they did, and we all looked at each other and smiled knowingly. We won the greatest cricket championship of all time, and while it was a team effort, it was Imran Khan’s leadership.
Then he started a political party, and while too young to know details then, I knew it was going to be different. Two years ago, he started gaining momentum like no other party before him, save perhaps the PPP back in the late 60s/early 70s from what I read. Suddenly, there was hope on the horizon. I didn’t know if he’d win, but by God I would support him because he said all the right things. Unity, justice, freedom, no corruption, economic stability. Others had said it before him, but THIS WAS IMRAN KHAN! He delivers the team to the end.
Where most other leaders have subordinates in Pakistan, Imran Khan has followers.
And that’s why I bash him.
I expected more. And I still expect more.
Some of the things he says make absolutely no sense in the grand scheme of things. Some, in fact, are so ridiculous, they make me want to spray paint ‘New Zealand deserved to win that semi-final!’ on the PTI headquarters’ wall. Some things are so stupid he deserves a Darwin award.
But in all honesty, there’s one stupid statement for every 9 good statements he makes. He made us believe. Even the staunchest ideological opponents among us bloggers, wannabe-activists and political commentators secretly hoped he would be ‘the One’.
And we’re still – hand on heart – hoping with every single occurance of terrorism, corruption, allegation, that THIS time will be different. This time he’ll say what we WANT to hear and follow through.
The trolls, cult-level followers and PTI eggs can harp on all they want and make the cesspool dirty, but the fact is I’ve interacted with very sensible, sane people who follow PTI, not Imran Khan. And they make good cases, even if they themselves are a bit weary now. The kind of friends I have who follow PTI are not the kind to do so just because it’s the only viable option. That’s why I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt.
People will come and say alot of nonsense about how I’m a hater, a troll, a fake liberal, a pseudo lib, a liberal fascist, someone who doesn’t want Pakistan to prosper by bashing IK and PTI. I don’t particularly care about them.
Because it doesn’t matter that my perception may be wrong. What matters is that my perception is NOT clear, because of the ridiculous PR debacles that keep happening with PTI.
No other party in Pakistan has to constantly use the statement ‘it’s his/her personal opinion’. If it is, get your goddamn PR division to make it clear in the start. Get media training for IK and his ministers. Get the speeches written with the disclaimers clear. Stop making broad statements that provoke the ire of thousands in a public speech that you make as the Chairman of the alleged savior-party of Pakistan and then back down saying ‘that was me, by the way, not the party’.
It gets worse when you aren’t the one that clarifies it, that it isn’t your PR guys who clarify it or a press release is released to clarify it. No, the worse bit is when your own deputy as to clarify it instead of you, for you, to save your reputation. On the world stage, when the fate of 193 million Pakistanis depend on your every word, there is no space for personal opinions dictated on a global scale. You are the Chairman of PTI, not a clerk. Your words make headlines outside Pakistan, not just inside.
One screw-up a year is fine. Not one screw-up a month!
When I was in theology school, my spiritual director would always ask me to start our mentoring sessions with my failures of the month. He would then proceed to grill me, making me understand the implications of my careless meanderings as opposed to being clear and concise with my content and intent. He would do this because of one philosophy: when you’re in the business of saving souls, you don’t compromise on your message.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, when you’re in the business of saving Pakistan, you’re upheld to a higher standard, and thus your failures or gaffes WILL be grilled to the maximum extent. Not because we hate you, but because you’re all we had for the last 4 years to hold on to.
Pull your socks up, fire your PR guys, hire actual professionals in PR, social media and leadership building, and sort your shit out. You might actually make a convert out of some of us.
That’s why I bash PTI more than PPP, PML-N or MQM: you’re supposed to be better, goddammit.