Why we must support Imran Khan

Syed Haider Raza Mehdi

For those who continue to criticise Imran Khan, and in some instances with valid concerns, a humble plea. Please do read this.

We are an unforgiving people when it comes to others. But in our own lives we are deceitful, hypocritical, liars and cheats. Not all. But the vast majority.

Especially the well fed and privileged amongst us, who criticise from the comforts of their elegant houses and their expensive clothes and designer everything.

Those who question his leadership and find fault in his decisions, having never walked his talk, not even close!

Those who offer free advice by the ton but never care to step outside their comfort zones or put themselves at risk or sacrifice something substantial.

Those who live the privileged and elitist life in Pakistan or overseas.

Those who show off of our kids graduating from foreign universities and our houses and our elegant drawing rooms and our Koochi, Poochi and Timmy and Tony type friends celebrating botoxed birthdays on Facebook. Flaunting our houses and our lifestyles

And yet I hear many well meaning people wanting our society to change.

But do we really?

Nothing changes for us the elite, the rich, the powerful, the privilged, the well connected.

Our children go to elite schools, as I did. We use our privileged networks to get jobs, business contracts and escape the law. We spend more money on one dinner then what could probably feed a poor family of this wretched Country for a year.

We spend more money on our children’s weddings or their wedding dresses which could fund a small school or a health clinic or a free food kitchen.

We spend our vacations in the Disney world’s and playgrounds of the Far East,  Dubai, Europe, North America etc spending money like water, enough to feed hundreds if not thousands of poor starving families.

And when the going gets tough or a little insecure we have our Canadian permanent resident card to run away with, as I have, or a dual nationality, which I don’t have.

We know everybody who matters, bureaucrats, generals, judges, police officials, tax officials, customs officials. Anyone that matters. Our work usually gets done either by connections or bribery. Unless, of course we encounter a bigger scoundrel than ourselves!

So really nothing changes for the privileged.

We have generators to light our homes, gas cylinders to light our  kitchens. And we treat our house help worse than dogs but rant about the miseries of the Palestinians and the Kashmiris.

We treat our minorities even worse and then complain about how we’re discriminated against in the West.

Our Allah of our faith and our God of the mosque are very different. We try to buy salvation by contributing to religious charities from our ill gotten proceeds. Exceptions of course excepted. And they will not take exception to these remarks.

We are a miserable, sick, hypocritical wretched lot and when a 3rd rate foul mouthed preacher takes on the state and all that we stand for, we quake in our shoes. We blame the Army. We blame the government. We blame the law enforcement agencies.

But we don’t blame ourselves. Us the wretched elite who have along with the politicians and the generals and the bureaucrats looted, pillaged and plundered this poor country.  A small minority being an exception.

We have partnered with our political elite by active commission or spineless ommission to destroy this country.

And then comes a man, Imran Khan,  from this same elite and like a mad person, quite insane, I must admit, and says that he wants to change the system and provide equitable opportunities for the poor, the marginalized, the exploited and the disadvantaged.

The very same wretched lot, we the elite of Pakistan, have used and abused for as long as one can remember to fill our coffers and our bodies and our egos!

And what do we do?

We rave and we rant against him. How dare he? We attack the man from the lowest of the low.

Even the educated amongst us. Oh he takes cocaine! Good for him, I say, if that’ll help him make this country better. I’ll gladly send him a lifetime’s supply, If it means destroying rhe blood sucking leeches that the elite are. But I don’t know if he does.

Oh he’s a womanizer! Well if he is, it’s between him and his Creator and he will be held accountable. Provided he is.

This is not to offer a defence, it’s to illustrate the pettiness of our accusations.

Oh he’s arrogant! Damn right he is. He’s achieved more in one lifetime than many of us would achieve in 4.

Yes arrogance isn’t good and I’m sure he’s learning. But hey will it destroy Pakistan? In fact I think a great part of his success may actually be because he has such a high opinion of himself.

And so we slowly and gradually attack every part of this man. Why? Not because he’s bad. But because he may possibly upend everything that the elite and the privileged want to preserve.

Because he may destroy that entire system of power, privilege and patronage so assiduously and painstaking built up by the likes of Nawaz and Zardari. And in which we the privileged are full partners.

Many well meaning, sincere, honest and good souls joined him and  left.

Perhaps because they were unable to give or take the terrible toll and cut and thrust of politics in Pakistan. Perhaps not all left, but most did. Some because of huge overblown egos. Many misrepresented their past and current credentials.  Many came wide eyed, wearing rose tinted glasses, looking for heaven.

Sorry folks, wrong place. Politics is a dirty business, especially if you’re in serious opposition to the entrenched mafias of the status quo, not the I scratch your back and you scratch mine kind of politics of the PPP-PMLN mafia combine.

Because if you’re going to be part of a movement which threatens to break the existing order you better be ready!

Your business will be attacked.
Your interests will be attacked.
Your life will be attacked.
Your family will be attacked
Your reputation will be attacked.

So either you’re very very powerful and strong to withstand that for a long time or you go under or you leave. And like any organization, political parties have their internal power struggles. Some win some lose. It’s about impact and influence and results. PTI is no exception!

Of course Aleem Khan is an unsavory character. But is he an existential threat to Pakistan now? Imran may have made some mistakes and errors of judgement and if so, he will pay the price for his decisions. But are those really as terrible as they are made out to be?

I for one had and still have, a serious problem when the KPK government gave the handout to Sammy Sandwich. But Imran has a point. If we want to influence what is being taught in the Madrassahs, we need to have leverage on that decision. And what better than buy yourself a seat on the board? It’s a risky decision, fraught with consequences. But anybody got a better idea?

His KPK track record is better by miles then any predecessor government. He’s done a near miracle, in spite of and despite Khattak, that wily dyed in the wool traditional elitist politician.

But for heaven’s sake give Imran his due.

In 21 years he’s changed the political landscape of Pakistan by creating a third party in a two party system. And starting from absolute zero. Zilch.

In this journey, he has experienced the entire range of political options, and has become much more pragmatic and realistic about how to get into governance.

If his pragmatism leads to whole scale surrender of his political values, then lynch him. If he has been blindsided by some people then he will reap the consequences of his decisions.

But, for heavens sake, let’s wait and give him an opportunity.

This plea is especially to those who live comfortable lives in the snug confines of their homes, far from the terrible hopelessness of the poor and the marginalized and the dispossessed.

How many have been part and parcel of this man’s struggle and suffered? Very few.

The guy destroyed his marriage. His reputation is the target of all those who enrich themselves from the current system. Many also in his own party. People who have vested interests with the PMLN or PPP.

And then the “may na manoon” types. So if not Imran, then what? I ask. How will the system change? And there is this stupid incoherent silence and then a rant against him and the stupid mantra of “let democracy continue”. Yes by all means let’s keep getting the same wretched lot from the same wretched gutter!

I personally, cannot see Imran allowing any of his questionable team members, if they are, like JKT and Aleem Khan or others using their offices to indulge in corruption when in power.

And he’s not God, for God’s sake. He’s desperately trying to make do with what he has. And that’s not much to begin with.

We’re trying to kill the horse even before he’s at the starting line. Fie on us!

Let’s give Imran the things he clearly has. His courage and bravery. His financial incorruptibility and his unmatched passion, drive, determination and above all his unquestionable patriotism.

And for that alone he deserves a chance. So let’s give him that chance.

We are petty people. Very petty. Our egos overwhelm our good sense.We find fault in everything he does which reminds me of what Cassius said about Julius Caeser in Shakespeare’s drama.

*Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world Like a Colossus, and we petty men Walk under his huge legs and peep about To find ourselves dishonorable graves.* (Julius Caeser)

Maybe I’m wrong. But till he proves otherwise, I see no man upending this wretched and terrible system of elitism, except him, with all his faults!

And he will use the system to destroy the system.

Otherwise, as I’ve always said, it’s back to the stench and vomit and cancer of the Sharifs and the Zardari.

Your call, folks!

– Haider Mehdi

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