Now what, Mr Khan?

Published: November 28, 2014
The writer is a former op-ed editor of the Daily Times and a freelance columnist. She can be reached on twitter at @MehrTarar

The writer is a former op-ed editor of the Daily Times and a freelance columnist. She can be reached on twitter at @MehrTarar

Imran Khan seems to be at a crossroads. To move ahead, turn this way or that, make a u-turn (ah, the turns that are infamous by now), or just stop. To smell the now not-so-fragrant air of the Margalla Hills, and decide somewhere away from the now legendary container what his next course of action is going to be. There seems to be materialisation of to-do-or-not-to-do in big font, winking at him everywhere he turns, and now it’s up to the prudence (that his detractors do not give him much credit for) of unarguably the most talked about politician in Pakistan what his next step would entail. And not a day too soon. Another deadline looms as November 30, 2014 is being bandied as the game-changer in the messy game of missteps, otherwise known as the politics in Pakistan.

Notwithstanding the very authentic demands of electoral and social reforms that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has endorsed and fought for since its inception, today, the situation does not seem very optimistic for all who stand with Khan. The constant demand for the resignation of the prime minister has met with rejection from the joint houses of Parliament and the public in general. The latter may bemoan the abysmal state of governance by the incumbent and previous governments, but the very fact of their absence in a game-changing number appears to have put a dampener on whatever the PTI was hoping to gain by its by now 100-plus day dharna. The very grim realities of the everyday life of the common man prevent his presence in protests that do not have an end-date. Endorsing Khan’s demands in their hearts, the PTI supporters may have come in throngs to a jalsa here and there, but to make the D-Chowk dharna a government-removing phenomenon, the attendance has been anything but what the PTI leadership hoped to elicit.

The pressure of addressing the still-loyal crowd at the D-Chowk has taken its visible toll on the very dynamic, very passionate Khan. While travelling through Pakistan to address huge — the size is unarguable — rallies, the deadline of making a daily speech at the dharna has drained Khan of arguments, allegations, expectations, warnings, deadlines and prospects. While the rudimentary demands remain the same, it’s become increasingly discernible to the pragmatic that now the fight is about preservation of self-esteem, of face-saving. Repudiating the integrity of most institutions that are to dispense justice for his demands, Khan is in a limbo of his own making. What the last option there is, of that there’s no simple prediction. From the judiciary to the election commission to the parliamentary committees to representatives of other parties to media houses (except for an anchor or two), Khan has question marks about the moral and professional uprightness of one and all. Now what? Ask Martians to intervene?

For all of us who have supported the PTI’s very tenacious fight for accountability and transparency, it is almost painful to watch this party unravel, one speech-filled day at a time. Politics needs fluidity, and vision. When the fight becomes a free-for-all, it’s an indication for a time-out, to take a step back from the fray and take an honest stock of the stakes. When your message of change becomes muddled with your livid, and repetitive, unoriginal utterances, when your warnings to bring transparency convolute into comic reactions, and when your deadlines resonate with the hollowness of your ambiguity — who can control a scenario that’s dependent on the ruling party to cede to your demands — that is the time when you exhale. And stop. Not to throw the towel in, not to attach legitimacy to all who fight against, not to suppress the truth of your demands, and not to assign victory to those who you believe are unfit to rule Pakistan. It is simply the acceptance of a situation to devise a new modus operandi. It is simply a damage control measure to design a new course of action. It is simply the acknowledgment that you have awakened the consciousness of a whole new generation of Pakistanis to change, and now it is time for you to move your fight within the realm of order and…dialogue. No, Mr Khan?

Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Sameena
    Nov 28, 2014 - 1:08AM

    Had Imran been tellung the truth, entire nation would have supported him, but he instead he chose to tell lies and spread hate. Instead of dialogue he championed an attack on the state institutions, asked his supporters to attack policemen merely doing their job. I agree there may have been some rigging but not systematic rigging. I ask Imran Khan where is the smoking gun, the solid evidences. He has given none because there are none. Sorry Khan Sb you have let KPK down by abandoning us at the mercy of your taliban friends. Hence no more vote for PTI. No to liar khan.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Nov 28, 2014 - 4:53AM

    I wish Imran Khan best of luck for this rally and for next one and next after next one and next…..


  • Zahid
    Nov 28, 2014 - 5:26AM

    This dharna has been a huge waste in every sense of the word. This argument that people have woken up is bogus. He could have accomplished this and more by being in the parliament and focusing on KPK. He seems like a stubborn man who is the smartest person either since the peak of his strength was a week in to the dharna and he could have gotten the government to make electoral reforms at least but now he has no options and he will make another u turn just like he did on the PM resignation.


  • Humza
    Nov 28, 2014 - 6:47AM

    @Sameena: Imran Khan plays the politics of the sore loser who will say and do anything to gain power. His language and behavior is a turn off to a former PTI supporter like me. It’s reassuring to know that the Pakistani public will not respond to blackmail. The international community including the US and EU say that the 2013 elections were largely fair and free apart from minor rigging that goes on in all 3 rd World countries. Imran Khan’s agenda is to destablize the country and seize power through any means possible. He can’t do it through the polls, so he will do in the Arab Spring way. Fortunately, Pakistanis know that an imperfect democracy and working hard over the long term to improve the system is better than the anarchy of mob rule. They don’t buy into Imran Khan’s quick fixes because they know that Pakistan’s fledgling democracy needs support and vision to see through a few cycles of elections. I had wanted him to win in 2013 and hoped that he would set an example and hold the government to account but I know I know that IK is just another old style angry politician who will do and say anything to to seize power,


  • Usman
    Nov 28, 2014 - 8:03AM

    PMLN is throwing money at every so called author. Fed up with these useless articles. ET please grow up.


  • zafar
    Nov 28, 2014 - 8:13AM

    Khan is standing tall in this age of disbelief and incredulity. His message is loud n clear, if you cannot listen ask your ‘friend’, She will tell you the truth.


  • Pakistani
    Nov 28, 2014 - 9:51AM

    It hurts to see , when educated class of this country do not tend to understand that what IK has stood for. Who is he fighting for. Why he needs to do all this.

    I cant really get over the fact, that despite repeated turns of N League and PPP, and having experienced their dismal standard of governance, people still want to support them or vote for them. It such a pity to see all this.


  • Khurram
    Nov 28, 2014 - 9:57AM

    @Sameena you have said it all that needs to be told about Imran the Hypocrite.


  • Ahsan Mansoor
    Nov 28, 2014 - 10:01AM


    At the writers and at the commentators and the people who sent them to parliament with 166 seats. In fact this world came into being to conspire against PTI and there is nothing better to do in this world.


  • Adeel.
    Nov 28, 2014 - 10:48AM

    The number of times he has given solid evidences. The number of times our tv show hosts have given solid evidences. The number of times the Election Commission have said it themselves that there was rigging in elections… The fools and the blinds just don’t want to see it. Or believe it.


  • Fawad Gilani
    Nov 28, 2014 - 11:11AM

    What solid evidence? IK just said he will give “solid proof” on the 30th. Did you get the proof early? I just see some one waving blank pieces of paper. Or run footage that shows a car driving off with a supposed ballot box which was staged post election by a well known TV anchor. I used to work for him and helped him stage it. I was paid to do it and I am embarrassed


  • Jawad
    Nov 28, 2014 - 12:20PM

    How can our people blatantly and so innocently argue that there was no systematic rigging and that it was a largely free and fair elections; to all the proponents of this argument, i would request you to please ask the citizens of Karachi who went to vote and surely 9 out of 10 persons will narrate tales of the mass open and systematic rigging that took place with the na maloom afrad as the culprits. The fear these na maloom afrad have instilled country wide is alarming and extremely saddening since no one is raising their voice against it w.r.t the political parties and bureaucracy.
    Hope we can rout them out through free and fair elections in karachi.


  • khan
    Nov 28, 2014 - 12:21PM

    Imran khan has stood for the truth and downtrodden-nation, and nation is with him. The current system need overhaul and system can only be overhauled only when people challenge it, Ik has challenged the system and status-quo. IA he will succeed.


  • Parvez
    Nov 28, 2014 - 1:05PM

    Imran Khan has already done what was needed to be done….and he has done it in spades.
    His foundation is solid and as you rightly say he now has to build his house……and he faces the land mafia ( government ), an inept contractor ( legal system ), a wishy washy supervisor ( establishment )…..the good thing is that his will to build has not wavered.


  • Sara
    Nov 28, 2014 - 2:27PM

    And the PMLN trolls…..I wonder if they are paid per post or by the hours spent online trolling away with anti PTI comments…either way must be costing the Sharif clan a fortune!


  • MiF
    Nov 28, 2014 - 2:35PM

    Imran Khan has become delusional. I travelled 100KM to go to my town to vote for PTI and i am still clinging by the thread in the hope (although it has been badly rattled by this dharna thing) that Imran Khan will someday realise his faults….


  • Zaida Parvez
    Nov 28, 2014 - 2:49PM

    A good strategist has a Plan B and a Plan C.
    It is obvious that Imran Khan is not one of the world’s great thinkers. He is starting to look more like an irate old man than a leader who has a vision for Pakistan. Hair plugs and facial botox aside, it seems that he is really addicted to the sound of his own voice.


  • Khan
    Nov 28, 2014 - 3:03PM

    @ Pakistani. I was under the same impression a few days ago after reading articles and comments till last night when i close family member disclosed he along with several others have been officially hired to bombard the social media with pro noon league/anti PTI blogs, articles and comments. Don’t believe in everything you see. We all know who is the corrupt politician and who is standing behind truth. ET will not publish this because i posted this thrice in other articles and it was never posted. Shame on these paid journalists.


  • Awaam
    Nov 28, 2014 - 3:12PM

    Last throw of the dice from Imran, I fear he would call it quits and leave for greener pastures. As for Pakistanis, the same old will continue without any elecoral or social reforms


  • Ibrahim Iftikhar
    Nov 28, 2014 - 3:44PM

    Face it… he is not a politician… rather a reformer… he is a problem solver, whose action speak much better than his words… he is not Bhutto who gave this nation the most vague slogan, rather he is asking the people to stand up for their rights, of education, healthcare, law and order, rather than the blabber of politicians who always hide behind the “qurbaniyan” and the “blood” they gave for a democracy where only tyrants rule.


  • Sexton Blake
    Nov 28, 2014 - 4:12PM

    There is no hope for Pakistan, the US, Europe, Australia, UK, Canada, India. I try quite often to explain why, as do others, but most people do not comprehend the problems facing them and that includes the ET moderators. Basically, the various countries are controlled by people who are corrupt, and looking after the top 5%, and when somebody such as IK comes along with a view to changing the system the average person cannot handle it. Basically, the upper crust who are living very well are doing an excellent job of fooling the lower classes, and when somebody such as IK comes along they prefer to live in poverty under their wealthy, fraudulent, corrupt masters. The pity of it all is that most people either cannot see it or prefer to play it safe. I have been around for almost 80 years, and our erstwhile leaders everywhere have worked very hard at creating disasters almost continuously for all that time, and I do not see any light at the end of the tunnel. The bottom line is that we need trouble makers such as IK. IK can come to my place for dinner anytime. The only reservations I have is that I will not play cricket with him. I am far below his standard. However, his muscles may have become a little creaky over the last 20 years or so, and we may both enjoy my curries? Also, the Major would be welcome.


  • fair
    Nov 28, 2014 - 5:05PM

    salient features of the this article and so many are as under
    i have read many articles, and found very similar views about imran and other anti-ancient two part system,but my heart is burnt,in spite to strive for not to take notice things like these,i dont consider that writer are paid for biased piece of writing,but when writer drafts that USA and other powers declared the election as free and fair,it is amazing and hilarious that what credible source have been referred to whom majority of Pakistani consider a abusive power and always fought for his vested interests,and killed million Muslims,and even Pakistani consider USA as their enemy,it is an analogy to quotation that “a liar s truth is based on hypocrisy”,then it is chanted that rigging is on small scale,it is so painful that what whatever constituency investigated up till now severe irregularities and rigging found even yesterday when former minster for business affairs s constituency investigated it was found that despite unrecognized votes 11000 votes out of 21000 were found bogus,what about pp 147 and similar other and even on so many constituencies reelection enforced due to monstrous scale rigging and karachi is without election since long ago,this could also be factual in kpk even but what an argument is offered to diffuse the roaring voice of accountability it is on very small scale, and even go further by “selfing” system would purify,system would never be purified until unless all dynastic corrupt, and their allies are to be punished within the limits of laws otherwise they r ready to punish u be ready for that, in the end i would like to say that my comments would hardly be published,because in democracy freedom of expression is not allowed


  • omair shahid
    Nov 28, 2014 - 5:44PM

    If there is no rigging in the election than why is pml -n people were taking stay order also all pti requested was to verify 4 halkhas why didn’t they verify it if the election were not rigging none of this would have happened if pml-n verified those 4 halkhas because they know they have done rigging and it will be exposed


  • Sameer Ahmed
    Nov 28, 2014 - 7:00PM

    Had Imran Khan come to the stage at 2013, collecting his KPK youth with him, had he opened the rigging in 2013 (Which by the way is not some, its a whole lot), had he said that I was leading the first 2 days and out of no where Nawaz Sharif won in the 3rd day, maybe there would be a Naya Pakistan already but then again my leader (Imran Khan) is a gentleman, a true gentle man, that is why he did not start the Dharna in 2013, he wanted to show the people what Nawaz Sharif was. Which we did see, why doesn’t Nawaz Sharif come in to the spot light and answer questions like Imran Khan does?

    Democracy? Do you even know what democracy is Nawaz Sharif? Go to France, go to England, go to Belgium, that is where true democracy is. People over there make the prime minister stand in court because he is in control of their money. Nawaz Sharif will never come to court, he is too busy in his own business trips, with our money and then he expects us to thank him.

    You all are our servants PMLN people, we’re the ones who pay you! So everyone should stand by Imran Khan, who is teaching every one what true democracy is. There is a reason why people in KPK are so happy.


  • fair
    Nov 28, 2014 - 8:08PM

    @Sameena: more rhetoric than any sort of perceived sense


  • fair
    Nov 28, 2014 - 9:16PM

    fact is that honest person dont let any one to be rich within no time,we dont like that person called all his reservations as conspiracy and to him as liar,


  • Rizwan Nasar
    Nov 28, 2014 - 9:58PM

    What surprises me is that there are people who are still willing to support this corrupt system. I really do not see it changing. Pakistan is a country that has been giving these corrupt political leaders for the last 44 years. They have been fleecing it yet it stand. There has been more positive changes in KPK since the last elections then it has seen in the last 67 years. You do not see it because you choose not and because you do not want to face the truth. It pains to see Pakistanis being cynical about the positives and changes Imran tries to show. It is not an impossibility. People over 50 will tell you that Pakistan was a beautiful and peaceful country… It was prosperous and moving forward but then Bhutto happened. And everything went south after than. Please open your minds and hearts and support Imran Khan to weed out the corrupt families that have been looting Pakistan. Thine to be truthful and save Pakistan by supporting Imran Khan.


  • Imran Ali
    Nov 28, 2014 - 11:51PM

    Great article by Mehr. People questioning her integrity in the comments need to get a life.

    Also, Neha Ansari in her recent article on censorship has revealed who was behind IK and TuQ. No brainer anymore for anyone.

    Khan sb, for heavens sake, go back home. People like myself have lost faith in you.


  • Grace
    Nov 29, 2014 - 12:01AM

    @Rizwan Nasar: Is corrupt system of last 60 years going to be fixed by Dharna? Do you know what working within the system means? Do you see what happened in Egypt, Libya, Syria? Did you ever hear the expression, ” Rome is not built in a day”.? Pakistan has had its only peaceful transition of power after an election in 2013. Can you not be genuine to Pakistan by working within the constitution to make a better country or do you want dictatorship to come?
    Imran Khan, Shaikh Rasheed and the Chaudries of Gurat are teaching us real democracy?
    Give me a break!


  • shareel ahmed
    Nov 29, 2014 - 12:26AM

    nobody can honestly defend the fairness of 2014 general election.similarly,no one can refute the allegations that; a)ringing didn’t take place at the individual level,like a voter managed to used individually several votes in the favor of his liking candidate. b)the polling staff utilized their influence in the favor of their candidate to the tune of 20% of the votes casted. c)a systemic rigging machine used by the candidates cast more than 50% votes in a constituency as evident from the Karachi polling,their is evidence that 80 thousand forged votes are used in one constituency puts the whole process doubtful it is untrue,why we don’t open the process for an inquiry.
    when,everybody is convinced that the elections are unfair but still believe let the govt continue on certain pretexts; 1)this is the routine in Pakistan,since such like elections were accepted in past,hence this should also be accepted. 2)there are some,who believe since Imran’s agitation is supported by the establishment against Nawaz sharif for their own reasons,hence Nawaz should not be allowed to be robbed of the power. 3)there are haves and haves not,those in power are one group backing the govt to go,because they have share in it,and haves not who think,if there is an election,they could get some thing out of it. 4)there are commoners,who don’t want prolong disturbance,they want the system go,irrespective of its genuineness.


  • Sexton Blake
    Nov 29, 2014 - 9:24AM

    I just realized that none of the parties in Pakistan/the sub-continent/US/NATO are ever really talking to each other, and this type of stupidity has been on the go ever since 1914 that I am aware of. Now, I suggested previously that I would like to invite IK and Major Shafi to my place for a curry dinner/lunch. Now although my son/daughters/grandchildren enjoy my culinary expertise it occurred to me that IK and the Major may have some concerns as to whether they will suffer from ptomaine poisoning. With this in mind, perhaps I could invite PM Nawaz/.IK/Major Shafi/Mehr Tarar/PM Cameron/Angela Merkel/President Obama to a good quality Pakistan Restaurant in Lahore. This way all the parties could get together and explain their specific childish hangups. Of course we could not allow Mr Raymond Davis to be present for obvious reasons.


  • Milind
    Nov 29, 2014 - 1:28PM

    @Zahid – “He could have accomplished this and more by being in the parliament and focusing on KPK.”

    Tend to agree with you. If IK had just looked across the border in our country, he would have seen 2 people – Modi & Kejriwal… Modi took the hard route, provided good governance in Gujrat consistently, built a brand and captured Delhi.
    Kejirwal on the other hand started off fine, but later lost it by talking, but no governance (in fact he ran away from power in Delhi)…


  • Green Oracle
    Nov 30, 2014 - 1:15AM

    u ignorant fools! Imran Khan is not only savior of Pakistan, but he is savior of entire Muslim ummah. On the historic day of 30th November 2014, we r gonna declare him IMAM MEHDI. Then the forces of righteousness including Taliban & Mullah Omer will gather under the banner of our great general Imran Khan to burn old Pakistan (Shahbaz Sharif will be contracted for removing the rubble/scrap, since he only good at such tasks). Then we will build new Pakistan (renamed Khurasanistan) in 7 days. All the butts will be deported to Siberia & lafafa journalists will be jailed in huge lafafas publically to be made an example for others. Soon enough Obama Putin, Xi Jin Ping, Modi and all the world declare allegiance to us and IK will rule the world from our new capital Bani Gala. And if any country dares to disagree, IK will lead us there for a grand dharna.


  • I abut
    Nov 30, 2014 - 8:48PM

    There is nothing to lose hope for no one can predict the future.If history teaches us something of movements it is all about belief in your ideology and persistence.
    Change is the only constant that will prevail,be steadfast against the thieves and robbers .Recommend

  • usman
    Nov 30, 2014 - 10:49PM

    @Ahsan mansor
    Why don’t you allow the verification of the votes. :) your drama of words is hollow and require base.


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