The historical PTI Jalsa (rally) has not only shaken many big mouthed veterans in the political arena but most importantly seemed to have kindled a political lamp in the hearts of many a muted-but-concerned citizens of Pakistan. That really means something. It was inspiring to read the running commentary of the Jalsa, on social media, by youngsters who normally shy away from political circles. Many attendees of the Jalsa I know never attended a political rally in the past.
PTI deserves a big applause on achieving this moment of glory, as Tamreez puts it, but a BIG question looms in my mind. Is it really PTI that I should applaud or the lone efforts and leadership qualities of one person, and that is of course Imran Khan?
Going with the cricket analogy, that Imran Khan so often reverts to, I would like to ask: Who are the Wasims and Waqars of his bowling attack and when are we going to see the likes of Zaheer Abbas, Miandad, Saeed Anwar and Inzi strengthening his batting line-up? or maybe the plan is simply to pull off another 1992?
No doubt, 1992 was one of the rare victories in our history. But why is it that we are yet to repeat that feat? It is because we failed to nourish leadership in our ranks; solid batsmen in our batting line up who are consistent; our bowlers, although incredibly talented like Shoaib and Amir, lacked that vigour and vision or know-how of winning matches and you all have seen their careers.
I fear that Imran Khan might fall into the same trap as others did in the past in Pakistan. What PTI really needs is ‘Leaders’, like Imran Khan, who can rally the same support as he can and sadly I don’t know anyone else in PTI who can. We have seen enough of history repeating itself. I know it sounds idealistic but we should aim towards a “solution”, rather than a one-off victory, that stays solved for some time.
My request to Imran Khan is that he should let his other party leaders also stand with him in the front-line (they are not visible enough); get them seen and heard by the masses and make them leaders who know how to WIN. I think a true leader is the one who knows how to nurture leadership. If we are to challenge the big guns, that’s what parties like PTI should focus on. It is the only way to get somewhere in winning some stake in the 342-seat parliament. It’s all fair that Imran Khan has something to offer that’s better than other politicians but when it comes to elections what matters is who wins the most seats in the parliament. Does PTI have enough blood? That remains a question.
Saying all that, Imran Khan certainly seems to have scored high in the books of one influential entity in Pakistani politics: media. The media has become one of the most powerful stakeholders in Pakistani political affairs and I really believe they will decide who wins the next election, even more so than the army and intelligence agencies. No wonder stakes are high for the top anchors and some of them happily shift from channel to channel. PTI probably has no such influence yet but the last couple of days belonged to Imran Khan and finally his true entry into Politics (in the words of Sheikh Rashid of AML). Although MQM had a rally on the same day and that did try to steal the limelight but PTI’s Jalsa got a lot of post-Jalsa media mileage. The terminology used in the news tickers on various channels and by the analysts/anchors certainly hinted an inclination towards supporting his campaign for the next elections or it was probably just a frustration of the long standing PPP-Nawaz partnership. Let’s see if Imran’s bowling attack has the depth it needs to break that partnership.
The run up to the next elections cannot be more exciting and I hope the sleeping giant (the Pakistani public) finally wakes up.