The politics of egotism

Published: June 12, 2018

The political pond is wide but shallow and populated by similar denizens who have sensitive egos. The current tussle in the mud concerns the future political life of ex-interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of which he has been a supporter for many years. A supporter but not necessarily in agreement with his chosen party or its leadership, which has led to a falling out at the top of the political huddle and the spontaneous combustion of Ch Nisar’s ego. The trigger for the incandescence of the Nisar ego was the process that the PML-N has adopted for the selection of prospective candidates for a party ticket in the upcoming election — and here there is a cut straight to the politics of entitlement.

The candidates, all of them, are being called for a panel interview and this includes Maryam Nawaz who appeared and declared herself nothing but an ordinary candidate. Of course she is. For Nisar this was a step too far down the road of mere-mortalism and he urged fellow PML-N senior members not to ‘ridicule themselves’ by appearing in the political variety show. It remains to be seen how many heed his call. As a consequence and perhaps as a pre-emptive strike Nisar has now declared that he is to stand as an independent in four constituencies — two of the National Assembly and two of the Punjab Assembly.

The Nisar ego is not the only one to have taken a hit and there are yelps of dismay across the political parties from those who had joined — or jumped ship — in the expectation of getting a ticket to ride. Some are disappointed and there is much disturbance in the pond. It is more than likely that the PML-N contrived the interview scenario precisely because it was going to get beneath the very thin skin of the Khan ego, but results are still to come in as to how successful the move has been. Nisar has his supporters, and they may just have the leverage to cut a trench in the silt. Popcorn and a soda, please.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 12th, 2018.

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