Hope Im­ran Isn’t Ke­jri­wal

The Day After - - CONTENTS - By Su­Nil DANg Feed­back on:re­porter@dayaf­terindia.com

Pak elec­tions are now over. Im­ran Khan is go­ing to take oath on Au­gust 11th as next Pak­istani Prime Min­is­ter. How­ever, with this win, the for­mer crick­eter has also won the tag of be­ing the ‘blue eyed man of Pak army.’ I would like to re­mind those crit­ics dub­bing Im­ran as army ‘spon­sored’ can­di­date that it took near 23 year for the army to rely on Im­ran. Im­ran has proved his met­tle as a politi­cian, which at­tracted the Pak estab­lish­ment. Only then did they put their weight be­hind Pak­istan Tehrik-e-In­saf (PTI). In these elec­tions, Im­ran might have failed to get the ab­so­lute ma­jor­ity but his party man­aged to get the num­ber of seats (116 out of 272) that are enough to keep Nawaz Sharif’s PML(N) and Bhutto’s fam­ily bor­ough PPP out of power cor­ri­dors. In fact, even if both these prin­ci­pal rul­ing par­ties come to­gether, their num­bers would be lesser than PTI. Now, Im­ran can eas­ily form the gov­ern­ment with the sup­port of some small re­gional par­ties and in­de­pen­dents. But, what next for Im­ran Khan af­ter be­ing sworn-in as Pak Prime Min­is­ter?

When Im­ran came into pol­i­tics and floated his own party, he vowed to clean pol­i­tics with fresh ideas that bet­ter suited a de­vel­op­ing econ­omy like Pak­istan. How­ever, to world’s sur­prise, his ideas got re­jected by the masses. Even Im­ran lost from his seat. But, the for­mer cricket cap­tain of Pak­istan stuck to his po­lit­i­cal wicket and con­tin­ued bowl­ing against Bhut­tos and Shar­ifs. Slowly but steadily, his party PTI gained a tag of ‘dark horse’ of Pak­istani pol­i­tics and Im­ran started to re­al­ize that to win elec­tions in Pak­istan there are some ‘X’ fac­tors that needs to be taken on the board, es­pe­cially af­ter the 2013 de­ba­cle. He changed his stand on di­vorce, ha­lala, blas­phemy and some other is­sues that were sooth­ing for fun­da­men­tal es­tab­lish­ments. He started avoid­ing di­rect clash with the sys­tem like Ju­di­ciary, Army, ISI, etc. This helped him gain the sup­port of the sys­tem. Later he mul­ti­plied this sup­port with his mass ap­peal that led to such as­tound­ing re­sults. So, it’s a well-planned po­lit­i­cal road map de­signed by Im­ran Khan has lead him to power.

Hence, Im­ran Khan has the po­lit­i­cal acu­men, which he has de­vel­oped by de­vot­ing his last 23 years to pol­i­tics. Now, his first and fore­most job is to ad­dress youth is­sues, who voted Im­ran with great hope and en­thu­si­asm. And for that he needs in­vest­ment. So, China would con­tinue to re­main an im­por­tant coun­try in his ten­ure as Prime Min­is­ter. Like any other coun­try, for Im­ran too, Kash­mir would be an is­sue that would be at the core of his diplo­macy ef­forts. Im­ran has started to hint that he is ready to sit and ini­ti­ate di­a­logue over the con­tentious is­sue. But, I am sur­prised to see the an­tag­o­nized In­dian me­dia — who used to boast them­selves by invit­ing him to their con­claves — against Im­ran. Be­ing Prime Min­is­ter now, Im­ran will have a lux­ury that his pre­de­ces­sor’s lacked-mul­ti­ple num­bers of di­rect sources to reach out to his In­dian coun­ter­part even when bi­lat­eral di­a­logues are not in process. What Im­ran ex­pressed must have the sanc­tion of the Pak estab­lish­ment. Hence, it’s time for the Modi gov­ern­ment to re­cip­ro­cate rather put pres­sure through var­i­ous means on Im­ran.

Im­ran’s as­cen­dency in pol­i­tics re­minds me about Arvind Ke­jri­wal too. Both lead­ers came to pol­i­tics to cleanse the dirt and cor­rup­tion pre­vail­ing in their re­spec­tive na­tion’s pol­i­tics. How­ever, rather they change pol­i­tics; pol­i­tics changed them to a larger ex­tent. Both lead­ers have po­lit­i­cal lieu­tenants who are novice in gov­er­nance. But, there is one key dif­fer­ence that keeps Im­ran Khan ahead of Delhi CM Arvind Ke­jri­wal, which is sup­port of the sys­tem. While in power, Im­ran has sup­port of Pak es­tab­lish­ments while Ke­jri­walas­cended to power af­ter an­tag­o­niz­ing the sys­tem. Af­ter reach­ing the power cor­ri­dors, Ke­jri­wal failed to bridge the gap be­tween him and the sys­tem which led to the de­rail­ing of ma­jor­ity of his poll prom­ises while Im­ran has yet to prove whether he comes out of the army shad­ows or he would ac­cept the ‘rub­ber stamp’ tag given by his de­trac­tors. Hope, Im­ran suc­ceeds be­cause his suc­cess would ce­ment democ­racy in Pak­istan.

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