Imran Khan is right, he is bringing a revolution. Unfortunately, it won’t be the kind of revolution we need. The revolution that would help us, at this point, is the same that could have saved us at any point in our past. A revolution that sees an end to the feudalism that has kept entire swaths of our population trapped in medieval servitude, or even a revolution that sees a decrease in the growing extremism that will devour our society. Instead, his revolution will be more like the exact opposite of those. It will be a revolution that sees greater legitimacy being granted to extremists and greater influence being given to feudal lords. For some amongst us, this isn’t the revolution they need but it is the revolution they want. For them and only them, Imran Khan is a blessing.
Before these claims are rubbished as unsubstantiated polemic, let’s at least consider the evidence. The feudalism favouritism has been written about extensively already. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, being so celebrated by the PTI means, those who serve under him as his subjects can hope for no relief in their toil. The problem that is still being ignored is the growing extremism. In the last few days, we have seen PTI leadership actively involved in entirely questionable activities that not only pay lip service to extremism but actively encourage it. The presence of PTI Vice-President Ijaz Chaudhry at the recent Difa-e-Pakistan rally in Lahore is not just a case of Imran Khan’s party “… presenting our view at DPC rallies” as the Tiger claims. If that was needed they could have simply made a press statement before or after the rally, miles away from it. If you spoke at the rally, then you endorse what was being said there. Sometimes things are just that simple. The PTI is not some idealistic MBA joining a tobacco firm to ‘change the system from the inside’. To make such claims is to treat the public like idiotic simpletons and that is just insulting. By participating in a rally in which a JuD leader calls a woman a “whore”, is a frightening endorsement of misogyny. To participate in a rally where a large portion of the audience belongs to a banned sectarian outfit notorious for killing and persecuting Shias is horrific appreciation of their agenda. To allow a leader like Ijaz Chaudhry to that rally, a man who has previously also attended major gatherings by the SSP, means that the PTI is basically in agreement with the SSP’s beliefs and message. The PTI defenders will claim that this is all an attempt to engage extremists to bring the same kind of change to their thinking that Imran Khan promises to bring to governance. Given that there has been no effort made in this regard at all, does not bode well for the promises of decreased corruption that are being made.
So when Imran Khan talks about a revolution, let’s remember, it is not the revolution you think. Which is why he doesn’t want you to think at all.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2012.
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