ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan has expressed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) reservations on the possible nomination of Asma Jahangir as a caretaker prime minister. Mr Khan finds it convenient to forget that at the time when he was shamefully mollycoddling an usurper of the Constitution, Ms Jahangir was bravely protesting the coup d’état. Mr Khan may suffer from memory loss but not all in Pakistan do. He objects that Ms Jahangir “is too close to the PPP” and that “she has issued statements against the PTI and the SC”. One wonders if that is the criteria laid down in the Constitution to determine the choice of a caretaker prime minister?
Let us consider Mr Khan’s objections regarding Ms Jahangir at face value. Is Mr Khan suggesting that someone who is close to and favours the PTI should be the caretaker prime minister? Why would the other parties accept such a person? Issuing statements against the Supreme Court would be of concern only if it could be established that the statements were politically motivated. Can Mr Khan and his party demonstrate that in this case? Ms Jahangir’s actual stand with regard to the Supreme Court is recorded in history with her bold and unwavering position during the movement for restoration of the judiciary. It seems that Mr Khan wants all of us to be in a state of amnesia and pounce on unsubstantiated claims that Ms Jahangir is somehow against the Supreme Court. By doing so, he is not highlighting her weaknesses but merely giving prominence to his own. It appears that he is confusing criticism with critique.
Mr Khan’s dithering on issues of national importance, such as violent faith-based extremism is also reflective of a confused state of mind. Ms Jahangir’s bold, courageous and unambiguous stand against the forces of extremism tearing this country apart, is a far cry from the obfuscating and misleading position that Mr Khan takes in this respect.
What is the bottom line here? Does Mr Khan seriously believe that Ms Jahangir can somehow facilitate the PPP to get re-elected? In the presence of the most vibrant media in Pakistan’s history, the independent judiciary and the supposed seven million vigilant PTI supporters, that seems to be a highly unlikely prospect. Or is the PTI afraid that Ms Jahangir may actually turn out to be neutral and facilitate free and fair elections? That leads us to the most important question of all: who is the PTI actually relying on to win the elections — the millions of its supposed voters or forces that can manipulate elections? Because Ms Jahangir may certainly be an insurmountable obstacle in the path of the latter.
Hasan Bin Hamza
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2013.