The Ghost of Imran Khan

PTI Leader Imran Khan

Zafar Imam

He has emerged as a tea partier of Pakistan

The Ghost of Imran Khan, the Pakistan Tehrek – e- Insaaf leader, is haunting many his critics, political opponents, liberal secular democrats and even many leftists after his successful rally at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore on October 30, 2011. International and national media gave this rally an overwhelming coverage, which facilitated the break out of shock waves across political circles in Pakistan. The rally was named ‘Azaadi’ (Freedom) and was held at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore, a symbol of conservative rightist Pakistani nationalism.

A show down of about 150,000 people, mainly consisting of  youth and that too in Lahore,  is bound to cause worries in political circles. There are many people who see Imran khan as an emerging political figure in Pakistan. New York Times reported him as “a serious political challenger to PPP and PML-N, according to political analysts” on October 30, 2011. Before that, Pew Research Center conducted a survey which showed popularity of Imran Khan was on rise in Pakistan. On Pakistani TV Channels, he is televised as a popular leader of youth. All these things are certainly bound to lead people to think that Imran Khan is going to be next big Charisma of Pakistani politics.

But popularity of Imran Khan is not a simple case, it must be analyzed deeply in order to understand what it looks on mainstream media and what it is actually.

PTI Rally in Lahore: The big event which has caused frenzy among political circles is off course, Imran Khan’s rally in Lahore held on October 30, 2011. It was the biggest in his political career. With many International and National news articles in sight reporting the success of this rally, one may think Imran Khan is rightly portrayed as an emerging popular leader in Pakistan. But recent events in mainstream Pakistani politics explain why this rally was so successful? There are many variables in play, discussed blow.

PML-N, the arch rival of ruling PPP and PTI, is on roads these days against President Zardari. They have started the movement ‘Go Zardari Go’ in order to press down the Government. Next senate elections are on head, and PML-N wants a major chunk in senate seats in order to reposition itself as a major player in next general elections to be held after senate elections, thus yearning to seek next government tenure. This so called ‘movement’ is designed particularly to amass huge pressure on ruling PPP as it may confirm some demands of PML-N and adjustments before senate elections. Punjab’s chief minister Shahbaz Sharif made fiery speeches against President Zardari some days before PTI rally, which restarted the old 90’s rivalry amongst PPP and PML-N. President Zardari rolled his pawns and the result was Altaf Hussain of MQM announcing a rally in favor of President Zardari in Karachi and against PML-N. For some days, this remained the hottest issues in Pakistani media with some ‘analysts’ prospecting the fall of PPP led government in next some months. But all this frenzy vanished as soon as Altaf Hussain held a rally in favor of Mr. Zardari and PTI held a rally against PML-N and PPP, as they both caught the attention of media.

As soon as PTI rally was announced, PPP Punjab went in silent and covert support of it, because this rally was mainly against PML-N not PPP. Off course PPP was targeted but not as much as PML-N. Mr. Zardari played his cards very well, giving Imran Khan full chance to knock down PML-N in Lahore which is home ground of PML-N. The success of rally has put a question mark before PML-N, because it feels frustrated on PIT’s success on its home ground. This whole situation facilitated ruling PPP and it has been able to get rid of some pressure on it amassed by PML-N.

Nawaz Sharif is more dangerous for democracy than Zardari - Imran Khan says

This is the background of how PPP was able to take advantage of PML-N and PTI rivalry. Mr. Zardari is now famous for such his tricks in Pakistan. On PTI official website and forums, you may notice that it takes PML-N as its main rival in politics, because PPP is the biggest target for it.

Reason # 2.

While I explained the main immediate reason for PTI’s big rally in Lahore, I may add another reason here that facilitated that big rally. And I will explore the prospects for Imran khan further in this article on account of this reason.

Imran Khan is a neo-conservative Pakistani politician, extracting his ideals from two-nations theory which divided subcontinent. He believes in Pakistani establishment’s pro-Islamic fundamentalist ideals, which have bred terrorism in this region. He is covert supporter of  Taliban militancy, thats why he is frequently labeled as ‘Taliban Khan’. He is the arch opponent of drone attacks and military action against Taliban and advocates the reconciliation between Taliban, US and Pakistan. From this point of view, he is a hot favorite figure of Pakistani spy masters. This also explains why he is heavily televised and propagated. His own lifestyle is western, which explain why so many sections of pudding class youth are attracted to him. But he has been able to mix his fundamentalist ideals with his western lifestyle successfully. That is why he is most covert amongst leaders.

Pakistani spy masters also contributed heavily to make his rally a hit in Lahore. Some friends have asked why the youth from Khyber PakhtunKhwa (KPK) participated in his Lahore rally. The explanation is: youth from KPK had come to his Lahore rally mainly from north-west KPK, which is most backward area and home to militancy in the region. Before his rally, Imran Khan held regular meetings with tribal leaders of north-west KPK, which resulted in participation. Spy masters facilitated and financed them well up to Lahore.

Perspectives of Imran Khan

Imran Khan is being frequently portrayed as an emerging alternative political figure in Pakistan. While media has contributed heavily in brewing this concept, many other rightists and leftists too think so. But while developing such perspective for Imran Khan, there is a serious mistake committed often. It is of thinking Pakistan as a full blown unified ‘nation’. This is the official version of Pakistan, not the real. Pakistan is home to five different full blown nations living under this so-called ‘federation’ only because of gun power. Punjabi, Siraiki, Sindhi, Pakhtoon and Baloch nations very from each other and sometimes are contrary to each other in culture, thought patterns, political trends, history and civilization. Pakistan has never been a ‘nation’ but a set of ‘nations’ not ‘nationalities’. Each province has its own political priorities and trends, contradictions are many and similarities are a very few. Pakistani establishment and Spy masters have been able to convince the world that the whole ‘nation’ is patriotic Pakistani, but they have seen a damn failure in the country itself. Baluchistan is fighting a war for its emancipation from Pakistan, Sindh has hundreds of thousands of doubts in Punjab, pressing to secure its own position. KPK is leaning more to Afghanistan than Pakistan because of their shared history and culture;  Siraikis are struggling for their own identity in Southern Punjab, demanding for a separate province. But one thing is common -they all see Central Punjab as their exploiter.

Those people who advocate the perspective of Imran Khan getting hold of nation politics are doing a serious political mistake. Imran Khan has no support in Sindh, KPK, Baluchistan and Southern Punjab, because they have their own political priorities for which Imran Khan is not a suitable person. A comrade in Hyderabad recently commented on Imran Khan when I asked him about Imran Khan’s prospects, “He will be beaten with batons if tries to enter Baluchistan or Sindh. People here are very much suspicious of political leaders from Punjab because they have their own agendas.”

Then there are perspectives that Imran Khan may become a alternate political leader in Punjab. But Punjab too is not a single entity. It is ethnically divided region. It is densely populated province of Pakistan, having population more than the half of Pakistan’s total population. There is region ‘north Punjab’ which has its own cultural, social and political peculiarities. The northern rural Punjab of Potohar belt near salt-range watches Central Punjab suspiciously  and thinks it the main reason for its poverty and backwardness.
Central Punjab, which is most powerful in Pakistan is the region of Pakistani ruling class. It is generally taken as exploiter of all other nations living in Pakistan. Imran Khan, our new ‘hero’ belongs to this region.

And then there is the case of Southern Punjab spread on lower Indus plateau , which once was a separate ‘state’ in undivided India. It has its own language, culture, history and ethnic identity. It also takes Central Punjab as its exploiter.

With such ethic diversity and contradicting cultural, social and political trends, how can one assume that Pakistan is a ‘nation’ which has singular and unified character and it will respond to PTIs frustrated neo-conservative leader Imran Khan equivocally? I do not think even of Punjab responding him equivocally, let alone whole Pakistan.

But even if we suppose for some time that he is going to grab seats in next general election in Punjab, Mr. Zardari has plans for it. It is: the formation of Siraiki province in Southern Punjab. This Pandora Box has to open yet. He will select the right time for doing so, thus alienating PML-N and PTI to central Punjab only.

Off course, Pakistan spy masters are planning to install Imran Khan as a political alternative in Pakistan, but they are going to fail as they failed in case of PML-N which could not get itself out of Central Punjab. The marriage of establishment with PML-N was not successful, and PML-N is divorced now. PML-N did not behave as a good house wife. Now establishment is in search of another bride and it is taking trials. PTI rally in Lahore was a trial for who is the best bride of establishment. But this marriage too is not going to succeed, because of the facts discussed above.

Imran Khan and Pakistan’s Youth

The New York Times reported on October 30, 2011: “The atmosphere at the Sunday rally was electric. Several famous pop singers warmed up the crowd with music before Mr. Khan’s speech, giving the rally the feel of a concert. Women and girls in colorful clothes and sunglasses and young men in Western and national dress filled the audience.”

Supporters of Imran Khan

Now this is the exact depiction of what is going on with the supporters of Imran Khan. He was already popular in Pakistan’s lavish  youth as a cricket star. He had not to put extra efforts to get popular in youth when he entered in politics. Off course! his main supporters yet remain those his crazy cricket fans.

Imran Khan's cricket fans are also his political fans

He extracts his support from the youth of pudding class of Pakistan. Pakistani educated and upper middle class youth belonging to well-to-do families is not progressive. This is a dark reality, but it is. Contrary to what this youth should be, it is highly privileged and highly fundamentalist. It is because they are mostly ‘patriotic neo-conservative Pakistanis’ which is why their natural selection is Imran Khan.

He is eastern in dress, western when undressed

Girls like him not as a political leader, but as a cricket privileged, obsessed with his western lifestyle. These elements of youth do not know even the fundamentals of politics.


[ In this video a pudding class supporter of Imran khan tells media, “We have come here for revolution and police is beating us! you see, if police will beat us how will we bring revolution? See Imran khan he is being beaten, tell me does he need to be beaten? then why are they beating him? We are here on road for revolution, please do not beat us” :))))))) and this video is  highly rated in Pakistan as an example of state of understanding of PTI pudding class youth ]

All this has happened because in the despotic regime of Zia Ul Haq, all student unions were banned in educational institutions which were home to progressive youth parties and fronts. In the absence of progressive, educating, political student fronts for  two decades even after Zia regime, fundamentalist elements got close to youth in Pakistan and introduced them will their version of the reality. State sponsored all such fundamentalist pockets who worked in sections of youth. Now there is no political alternate to Pakistani youth, thus they are capturing to such pro-establishment pockets as PTI.

Recommended Reading>>>>>> The Froth of Khan by NFP

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11 Responses

  1. Insightful article! And thanks for bringing up the term “patriotic neo-conservationalists.” We have a lot of such groups in India.

    • Yes Ganesh, There patriotic neo-conservatives are much like tea partiers in US. they is a lot of them in India too. Anna Hazzare type creatures

  2. good analysis

  3. […] The Ghost of Imran Khan (zafarimam.wordpress.com) […]

  4. Whatever you say, whether we are a united nation or not, whether IK’s support comes from the “burger” class, whether he does or doesn’t subscribe to fundamentalist Islam, whether he is a brown sahab in disguise…. the occassion was fantastic! Read my views, if you can, and give me your opinion: http://redwishdotcom.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/suspend-disbelief/

    • Dear Ahmer, Your post in confusing for me only on this account that you say you do not totally agree with what I.K has said over 15 years, and then you cherish, appease and applaud him. You have tried to distance yourself from PTI but i felt from your post that you have grown inner support for it. As you said about PTI event that “it engaged the emotions of an older like me.”
      Had you been an open supporter of PTI, there was no problem. Had you been his critic and opposer, there was no problem. But you are lurking in between. “like him or not”. As far as I concluded from this post. You may differ.
      Well for me this mere event (PTI rally) is not that important as his political views and Ideals. This is something serious, not a hoopla.

  5. Imran Khan is political front of right wing military establishment. Politically he is worst than Tea Party. Article is quite detailed and beautifully written.

    • Thanks comrade Imran. Sure you understand what is cooking inside establishment kitchens.

  6. zafar u did good job.that PTI is wild card of eshtablishment no dobt about it .the student union ISF maily composed of such type of students who are least bother about what is going on what will be done but the surely did not want any old faces.they all belonged to upper and upper middle class.his ideas about national foriegn policy and potraying himself as a bridge between two classes make him star of eshtablishment.but tell imran khan that “class struggle is irreconciable till victory of one class” and if he still did not understand tell him to read wat lat bhutto wrote on the wall of his cell.

  7. In my opinion, Imran Khan is the only leader in Pakistan’s political arena who as the abilities and volition and determination to rescue the nation and steer the country to its goal and destination, which was dreamed by the great poet and sympathizer of muslims Allama Iqbal and Muhammad Ali Jinnah the saviors of this nation.

    As regards, other political parties, they ruled the country for the last 25 to 28 years and dismally failed to bring a positive change in the country.

    Imran will emerge as another Mathir Muhammad of Malaysia for Pakistan or even more.

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