I am pretty sure that even the most die-hard followers of Imran Khan are now asking this question: What have we accomplished? If the purpose of this march was to topple the government and replace it with the premiership of Imran Khan, that cannot be accomplished now. It cannot be accomplished now because if the resignations of the party workers are accepted, then PTI will have no representation in the National Assembly and no mode of cobbling together a coalition to anoint the cricketer.
Now, if the purpose was to create a space for the undemocratic forces to yet again start dictating the terms of Pakistani democracy, then PTI and Imran Khan have won, for we have already seen and heard some current and some washed out touts of former dictators who have started appearing again. And for this great service to democracy, we all should thank Mr. Imran Khan!
If the purpose was to weaken a democratically elected government, to stop whatever developmental work was being done, and to damage the economic prospects of Pakistan, then the mission is accomplished. By paralyzing the capital for more than ten days and by generally shifting all focus on the march itself, PTI has successfully sent Pakistan into the kind of instability that is an anathema for modern economies.
But the greatest accomplishment, however, is that PTI led by Imran Khan has so weakened the political system that now all kinds of back doors are open to let the old power brokers of Pakistani politics in. You know who I am talking about: the dictators and the psuedo-dictators. Maybe, and this is highly speculative, Imran Khan has led the proxy war of the powers-that-be against a democratically elcted government, and if that is the case then no amount of sanctimonious sloganing is going to help Imran Khan in the long run.
What is Imran’s greatest claim to fame: that he is not corrupt and that he led us once to win a cup in a game introduced by our erstwhile colonizers. But honest people can also be stupid, and great players can sometimes fail in the very games introduced by our former masters. And that happens to be the case with Imran Khan. Compared to him, Asif Ali zardari, famous for his corruption, has shown more forethought and wisdom: he has come forward to support democracy.
Mr. Imrak Khan asserts that the so-called Civil Disobedience is against the government: No, civil disobedience is always against the state and not the government. And at what price would he fulfill his personal vendetta against Nawaz Sharif. It seems that what is happening between IK and the PM is deeply personal; at least IK’s statements betray this kind of venomous, personal tone.
So, is it Imran Khan staging his personal animosity toward the PM with the support of his tech-savvy, twitter-bloated Pakistani youth? If so, then it is not really a revolution, for revolutions come from below and are not top-down. This is rather a public display of a personal vendetta in which the so-called “followers’ are being instrumentalized for the purposes of their leaders.
So, while there is still hope for reconciliation, the damage is already done: democracy is again on shaky grounds, the washed out generals and other such political animals have started asserting themselves again, and people are slowly losing faith in democracy!