Imran Khan’s entire politics seems to centre on narratives for his daydreaming audiences. Throughout his tenure as prime minister, he has been embroiled in building castles in the air than delivering on promises made to the people. He simply cannot mask his damaging narratives in the presence of his heightened arrogance or the sense of being above the law.
While Khan should be prevented from this form of electioneering on the basis of his brazen and historically significant constitutional violations, the Pakistani society is still not cognizant of the extent of damages his hollow narratives have caused. Shockingly, the roadblocks to Khan’s opposition are firmly embedded within these loosely woven narratives, echoed vociferously by his supporters.
Moreover, it is satirical how the PTI’s entire ethos revolves around hatred – the abhorrence of all other political parties. Khan has charmingly manufactured this societal divide through the repetitive employment of his hate-mongering narratives. Unfortunately, the unsightly truth and bitter realities hidden underneath the veneer of Khan’s narratives deserve more attention. While “blind support” or “cult-following” exists in all political parties, extension of support to a certain political party deserves some degree of performance-based reasoning or tangible achievements.
The PTI support base cannot deny the juggling of four different finance ministers. Those critical of the incumbent government’s handling of the economy must bear this in mind. Throughout the PTI’s campaign preceding the 2018 election, Asad Umar was wielded as the future finance minister (FM) because of his “acute financial acumen” that some had witnessed during his management of a certain corporate. His subsequent failure to perform as the FM caused his removal from this key role. Undoubtedly, the origins of the current economic crisis were birthed during the fledging PTI regime. While Umar redeemed himself in the eyes of non-healthcare professionals during his stint at National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), it is simply absurd to expect him to run the country’s economy on the basis of his role as the head of a corporate as a prerequisite.
He has proven that as a nation, we feel that we were robbed of our state benefits by corrupt politicians, and hence we must despise them for their thievery. Yet, the same politicians are accepted and even supported as “electables” in Khan’s party.
In order to save face and draw public attention away from this abysmal mistake in governance, Khan has simply confused the nation through the employment of multiple contradictory narratives. He has been successful in his endeavors as he has not just distracted the public from core issues, but he has also tapped into the nation’s psyche and persecution complexes. He has proven that as a nation, we feel that we were robbed of our state benefits by corrupt politicians and hence we must despise them for their thievery. Yet, the same politicians are accepted and even supported as “electables” in Khan’s party.
Another persecution complex that plagues the national psyche is the threat of the US involvement. Those convinced that the US played an active role in regime change should also reconsider their stance and ponder over the silence of Moeed Yusuf, Khan’s former National Security Advisor and expert on the Pak-US relations. Yusuf’s radio silence indicates that he does not wish to be a part of this hoax conspiracy. Evidently, the PTI’s hatred for the US is also softening with supporters overlooking the PTI’s hiring of a US lobbying firm in addition to the millions of US dollars in the unconstitutional foreign funding.
One of the many grouses of the PTI is the use of force during Khan’s clearly unconstitutional rally on May 25. It seems the use of violence by the PTI politicians in the Punjab assembly is perfectly acceptable to Khan’s supporters. Strangely, the clear faking of an accident by the incumbent chief minister of Punjab is also ignored by PTI supporters.
There seems to be only one way to mitigate the negative societal impacts of his hate speeches: the youth wings of all parties must join forces and collectively highlight the glaring inconsistencies in his narratives.
Ironically, the party won in Punjab by-elections based on a Supreme Court verdict doled out by the same judiciary that was heavily criticized for its decision on the vote of no confidence that ousted Khan. Upon the PTI’s unconstitutional act of dissolution of the National Assembly, the lawyers supporting the PTI scampered for plausible justifications for offering their ceaseless support to Khan. Unfortunately, the SC was left scathed by the insults of PTI’s social media campaign and was forced to rewrite the constitution; thus, instating PTI’s candidate, Pervez Elahi, as CM Punjab.
After bagging Punjab, the PTI is brimming with confidence, especially after its recent performances in local elections. Despite the PTI’s public brawl with the “neutrals,” these wins are a testament to the role of the very “neutrals” that the party stands firmly against. Ideally, this should also lay rest to the PTI claims of the role played by “neutrals” in electoral engineering. Needlessly, Khan censured them for acting with neutrality when they ceased to afford him with their support. Clearly, he was not expecting these wins in the presence of the new-found neutrality of his erstwhile mentors.
Through Khan’s everlasting jalsas and rallies, he has introduced an era carrying the most destructive face of political discourse – one that is replete with lies, hubris, and misogyny. It is certainly undeniable that the PTI has no place for empowered women or feminists in light of its party head’s sexist attitude towards women. There seems to be only one way to mitigate the negative societal impacts of his hate speeches: the youth wings of all parties must join forces and collectively highlight the glaring inconsistencies in his narratives.