NationalVOLUME 17 ISSUE # 13

Imran Khan’s brand and politics

Prime Minister Imran Khan is endeavouring his level best to conceal his government’s drawbacks, failures, alleged corruption, scandals, incompetence, grave negligence, injustice and cruelties through beautiful sentences and catchy words. His critics say he is using religion to distract the attention of innocent people from burning issues, related to economic difficulties and hard social realities. In short, he is deliberately using clever tactics to sustain his incompetent government, support his inapt cabinet ministers and party leaders and deceive poor people.

Talking to PTI leaders and cabinet members, Prime Minister Imran Khan declared, “It’s easy to defend the brand Imran Khan”. He advised the members to sell the “Imran Khan brand.” “On the one hand, you have internationally-recognized thieves and on the other hand, you have Imran Khan, defending whom is not difficult at all. Your brand is the PM and unlike their rules, I am neither corrupt nor a thief. Don’t let the opposition dominate in any way; show them the mirror,” PM Imran Khan added.

From this assertion, it can easily be deduced that Imran Khan is yearning for becoming a model of honesty among the people of Pakistan. Imran Khan is urging his ministers and spokespersons to portray him as an honest leader who would solve all problems, difficulties and sufferings which the people are experiencing only through beautiful words of honesty and morality. His media, (including, print, electronic and social media) management team is trying its level best to upgrade his image by degrading opposition leaders, roasting anti-government journalists and thinkers.

Nobody can deny the corruption of Nawaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari, other politicians, so-called religious leaders, bureaucrats and businesspeople. But, Imran Khan’s government has not been able to bring them to book by proving their corruption in the courts. He has already broken almost all promises.

His government has not introduced any reforms, including economic, police and judicial reforms, to bring about positive changes in society. The PTI government has gone to the IMF for a hard bailout economic package. His government has already taken the highest loan of over $40b in the history of the country. Around six million people have become jobless, while 20 million Pakistanis have been dragged below the poverty line. The fiscal deficit has reached Rs4,400b and inflation has risen to 22 percent. The trade deficit has touched $45b, while the devaluation of the rupee against the US dollar continues.

In short, the people of Pakistan are facing skyrocketing prices of electricity, gas, medicines and fuel but Imran Khan wants to solve these problems through the slogan of “brand Imran Khan”, which is tragic.

Imran Khan is also using religion to protect his partisan interests and prolong his party’s rule. In his article titled “Spirit of Riyasat-i-Madina: Transforming Pakistan”, Imran Khan writes: “The core of every civilization is its spiritual principles; when they die, the civilization dies. In Islamic civilization, the manifestation of our spiritual principles happened in the Prophet’s (SAW) Madina. Besides many other important principles, there were five very important guiding principles upon which the state of Madina was built. These principles are unity, justice & rule of law leading to meritocracy, strong moral and ethical foundation, inclusion of all humans in progress and prosperity, and finally, the quest for knowledge. The Prophet (SAW) made it clear that no one was above the law. He said that nations perish when two sets of laws exist, one for the rich and another for the poor. In Pakistan, not adhering to the rule of law has led to siphoning off of billions of US dollars which has imposed collective poverty on our public. The State of Medina was the first recorded welfare state of mankind where the state took responsibility for its weak people. Since we must emulate the example of our blessed Prophet (SAW), our citizens should learn to be strict with themselves and generous with others. In conclusion, I will reiterate that the most urgent of all challenges facing our country right now is the struggle to establish the rule of law. Over the last 75 years of Pakistan’s history, our country has suffered from elite capture, where powerful and crooked politicians, cartels and mafias have become accustomed to being above the law in order to protect their privileges gained through a corrupt system. While protecting their privileges they have corrupted state institutions, especially those institutions of the state that are responsible for upholding the rule of law. Such individuals, cartels and mafias are parasites who are not loyal to our country and defeating them is absolutely necessary in order to unleash the real potential of Pakistan”.

Unfortunately, Imran Khan is not following these pristine and august principles of Islam practically. The Sahiwal and Marree tragedies occurred in his government. But he has not accepted responsibility by resigning from the premiership. There is no justice and rule of law in the PTI government. In spite of being convicted and sentenced, Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz are not in jail. The PTI government has allowed Nawaz Sharif to leave the country. Asif Ali Zardari, Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza Sharif and many other politicians and businesspeople, who are facing corruption charges, are also free, leading comfortable lives. Imran Khan has brushed aside merit by selecting Usman Buzdar and Mahmood Khan as the CMs of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa respectively. He has included many politicians in his party, who were accused of corruption. He is not willing to release reports on sugar, medicine, and flour scandals. In his government, Ring Road, COVID Funds, Tosha Khana, and other mega corruption scandals have emerged. According to Transparency International, Pakistan has dropped from 111th to 124th place in corruption. He has not taken any action against the culprits of these scandals. Rather, Imran Khan is very expertly diverting the attention of Pakistanis from these mega corruption scandals by using the slogans of Riyasat-i-Madina and Islam.

(The views are the author’s own and do not reflect Cutting Edge’s editorial stance)