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Imran Khan Niazi is on the Right Side of History – by A Z

Long marchThe idea that political virtue is all on one side is both mischievous and absurd. We allow ourselves to talk in that way because in our country indignation, scorn, and vituperation are the fuel with which the necessary heat of any debate is maintained.

Attitudes towards Imran vary greatly, often heatedly negative. He is the head of a party containing some supporters whose exuberance may come across as wild and bullying. Imran Khan has a knack of blurting out things that can exasperate even his most ardent supporters. Many of his well wishers wish he could learn to back his unshakable determination with flexibility of method in the pursuit of far-sighted goals. The call for Civil Disobedience was probably ill-conceived and the insistence on the PM’s resignation now appears obstinate to many impartial observers. Any objective person would agree that he is at times prone to being hard-headed, being self-absorbed, being politically naive, being unable to see through people, or overplaying his hand as he appears to be doing now. But as a person, a human being, and a leader Imran’s strengths far outweigh his weaknesses. Imran Khan Niazi is honest, direct, patriotic, uncomplicated, straightforward, courageous, spirited, energetic, strong, determined, perseverant, uncompromising, and sincere. Imran is a man who acts according to his well-formed conscience and his innate determination without agonizing about some imagined stamp of approval down the road or the vicissitudes of the historical annals.

Having said that, now that all conspiracy theories have turned out to be false, Imran Khan stands much taller than when he started the walk. A man who fights merely by the force of his conviction. Whether or not he passes the test of the moment remains to be seen but what is already clear to a discerning mind is that Imran Khan is on the right side of history in a country where the right side of history is pitiably empty.

In fact while Nawaz Sharif is now a much diminished figure, Imran and TuQ loom much stronger than when they started the march.

The debate how many people are still sitting in Islamabad after twenty seven gruelling days is now meaningless. History does not remember the number of people; it reckons who was on the right side.

Imran Khan will not only walk away securing serious electoral reforms and transparency measures, he has also shown the world what he is about. A man who has the courage to stand, unmindful of consequences, for what he thinks is right. Not wavered in his resolve by malicious unfounded rumours, Imran has made Pakistan much ripened for democracy within a span of a few weeks. The future of popular suffrage can now be planted upon the foundations of electoral transparency and political accountability which Imran has taken a huge step towards laying down.

The history will also credit Imran and TuQ for severely denting the country’s powerful rulers’ unshakeable sense of impunity. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, someone has shown them that they cannot get away with everything even when in power. That they can be held accountable while in the saddle. Thanks Imran and TuQ for exposing the parliament, which even at its best behaviour, in the current joint session, comes across as little more than a bunch of rascals.

Imran Khan may not emerge looking a wily politician. But that does not matter for that is not what he is and that is not what we need. We have had enough of them, one more cunning than the other – all shamelessly deceitful. Imran embraced the profession of politics with other convictions and has now shown the pluck and nerves to act by them.

Of crucial significance is the fact that he represents change versus stasis in a country where political system and leadership is utterly morally insolvent. He is the first person to emerge in post-1971 Pakistan, and remains the only one on the horizon, who offers a decisive change of direction. Imran Khan embodies rejection of privilege, entitlement, and the sterile old order in favour of a new, vigorous, upwardly-mobile society built upon strength, merit, and achievement.

One may differ with his methods but, in the midst of Kleptomaniac politicians, Imran has sacrificed all personal happiness and private life for what he wants to achieve for his countrymen. Yes, his ineloquent pontificating has suffered from an excess of exposure wrought by continual public speaking during the sit-in. But, this exposure has also unmistakably shown that Imran is a human counterpart to the image of the lofty, distant statesman and glib, shifty politician.

{Thanks to TuQ, first time ever the absolute power in the land found it daunting to wash away the blood of poor people from their hands. Whatever his original motives may have been, the Model Town massacre has ensured that TuQ, despite his dubious theatrics, will be remembered as a leader who was willing to risk his life in seeking justice for his poor people.}

IK right side of HistoryWhether or not Imran is the man who ushers this country into a new era, whenever the New Pakistan emerges and whoever leads that process, Imran’s place in its history will not be in jeopardy. That much he has already ensured.

Having said that, many people fervently wish that Imran does not end up
on the wrong side of the present because they don’t want to outsource the change and accountability to an abstract future rather than here and now. They want it because, in the meantime, people of Pakistan can’t eat the future judgment of history. They can’t live decent, free lives because history might eventually work out for their grandkids or their great-great grandkids while their own lives are consigned to having the dynastic and corrupt status quo’s boot on their neck

About the author

Asif Zaidi

5 Comments

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  • Imran has done his part. It is now upto the people to do the rest.

    Agree with your views. Imran is not a politician. But we dont need another politician. What has the best of the politicians done ? COD (Charter of Democracy) was a charter of hypocrisy. and NRO was National Rape Ordinance. It should be repealed. The looted wealth should be brought back to the nation. Period. No second thoughts here.

    Long live Azadi march !! Long live Inqilab !!

  • Absolutely right Asif ! We really do not need a politician who lies through his teeth where analyst are constantly trying to spin each and every statement he makes.Time has come to believe in our leader. Let him do where his transparent passion leads the nation to. Imran Khan may make blunders, however,it will not be motivated by any ill intention.We must not view him as infallible.My erroneous fear about him was his close ties to the Taleban.Gradually that fear is also dis-appearing.The container-bonding with Tahir Qadri appears to be smoothening out some of his rough edges, doctrines that was instilled into him in the late 90’s by elements that are now losing the strings they use to pull.His arrogance is definitely his best asset as it saves him from ill-fated flip-flops by co-ercing associates in the party.
    Very well written , Asif 🙂

  • Dear Asif, your unbending love and support for Imran Khan is comparable to the love of a father for his son. All his mistakes are immediately forgiven and forgotten because the father is convinced that his son has a great heart. This is just so adorably cute and I do admire this bond of love. However, some of the mistakes of Imran Khan are not so easy to forgive and forget. He has still not completely given up on his support the Taliban. He is still in alliance with Jamat-e-Islami, the original fascist grouping of Pakistan that is responsible for large scale slaughter of civilians in East Pakistan. It is the same JI that provides support and cover for religious and ethnic cleansing and target killing. JI has been the original political structure that made alliance with General Zia and dismantled the Pakistan of our childhood. Imran’s greatest achievement so far, seems to be the “Dharna” of Islamabad in partnership with Tahir ul Qadri, another dubious figure with a shady background and dangerous ideas!
    Other than those two monumental blunders of Imran, he is also a very poor judge of the outcomes of his acts. He gives false hope to his followers without any clearly set objectives.
    Whenever the mistakes of Imran are highlighted by independent observers, his supports rush to his defence with a single excuse: “He is not a politician! He is still learning his political skills!” Come on! he is 61 years old! he has been in politics for 16 years. When will he learn? How many more disastrous mistakes will he make?
    According to you, the conspiracy theories with regard to the march on Islamabad have been proven to be completely false. You are also extremely excited about the possible positive results of the uprising. But you may want to consider some facts too:
    1) The Army has further strengthened its hand on the political arena. As a result of the uprising, the politicians are even more vulnerable to the diktats of the generals who made a tactical decision not to intervene at this point of time but if similar events recur, they may decide otherwise.
    2) No country or government can allow political demonstrators to storm its most sensitive symbols of power. In the United States, anyone trying to do so would meet the harshest response from the security forces. During the Islamabad events, the Army took a clear decision to avoid violence against the demonstrators, whereas Imran with his partner in crime, Allama Tahirul Qadri, had unwittingly created the scenario of a massive bloodbath.

    The history of Pakistan will remember this event as a “faux pas” by a set of “inexperienced politicians”, that had no lasting consequences on the ways Pakistan continues to stumble along.

  • Why Imran Khan is not on the right side of history?
    1. Imran Khan sides with the gangs and movements that are destroying the very core of the Pakistani society. He sides with the murders of innocent women and children. He sides with the killers of minority communities of Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians. Can this be classified as the right side of history?
    2. Corruption and election rigging are serious issues that Pakistan suffers from. However, Pakistan is not the only country in the world that suffers from those. India and China are rife with rampant corruption (China operating with no democracy at all) yet continue to thrive as economic forces leading the world in technology and industrial productivity. The cancer that is devastating Pakistan as a nation is religious fundamentalism. This is the single largest threat to the future of Pakistan. I would support Imran if he would come out clearly against the rising influence of religious fundamentalism. On the contrary, he sides with the fundamentalists and forms alliances with them. Is this being on the right side of history?
    It is surprising to note that for an observer of such high intellect and deep insight as yourself, you have never touched on the subject of Imran’s romance with Jamat-e-Islami.

    • ہر چہ کہ خطاےُ بزرگاں خطا است
      لیکن چند معروضات پر میرا حق ہے

      عمر رفتہ کے کسی طاق پہ بسرا ہوا درد
      پھر سے چاہے کہ فروزاں ہو تو ہو جانے دو

      جہاں تک عمران کے کرئیر کا تعلّق ہے

      گر بازی عشق کی بازی ہے جو چاہو لگا دو ڈر کیسا
      گر جیت گئے تو کیا کہنا ہارے بھی تو بازی مات نہیں

      Rizwan bhai,

      Whereas you see me as behaving like Imran’s father, I see you as treating him like a mother-in-law.

      You are lucky that you did not see the joint parliament in action. It was sickening to see the level of these people. What parliament? They are all criminals. Potential Shashlik for the beast of justice, if I had my way.

      Politics is the lowest profession in Pakistan.

      One example. The most shameless parliamentary speech I have heard (and I have heard many) was delivered by Aitzaz Ahsan two days ago. This ‘beneficiary’ of Malik Riaz says he has been in politics for fifty years and still does not know what to discuss on the floor of the parliament. Extolling ones lineage, self-aggrandizement, hurling insults – all those are fit for public speeches or press conferences but not on the floor of the parliament.
      Chaudhry Aitzaz, this is not a political star chamber, it is not the Big Brother house. Your utterances were glaringly inconsistent with the decorum of the house.
      No one in the house has dared to talk about Rana Mashood’s video. Because they all have skeletons in the closets.
      Aitzaz and Nisar –both among the top ten politicians in the country- accused each other publicly saying they have the proofs of each other’s wrongdoings and corruption.
      Did anyone bother?
      Supreme Court – Nahin
      FIA – Nien
      IB – Niet
      Police – Non
      Anyone – No
      It is worse than a Banana Republic – anarchy for the rich and powerful, rule of law and vengeance without justice for the weak and poor.
      Now allow me to address some of what you say:

      “He is still in alliance with Jamat-e-Islami, the original fascist grouping of Pakistan that is responsible for large scale slaughter of civilians in East Pakistan.”

      Political alliances are normal in a democracy. It is the terms on which those are created that matter. Imran does not follow Jamat, otherwise he would have listened to them on this Dharna. That Imran does not subscribe to their ideology is clear in his 15 months rule in the KPK, where he refused to introduce some changes in the curriculum that the JI wanted.

      Imran is the only one who fired two of his allies’ ministers for corruption in KPK at the peril of his government. Who else has done it in Pakistan? Name?

      “Imran’s greatest achievement so far, seems to be the “Dharna” of Islamabad in partnership with Tahir ul Qadri, another dubious figure with a shady background and dangerous ideas!”

      This is not the first time in human history that the oppressed have collaborated to ensure justice.

      “1) The Army has further strengthened its hand on the political arena. As a result of the uprising, the politicians are even more vulnerable to the diktats of the generals who made a tactical decision not to intervene at this point of time but if similar events recur, they may decide otherwise.”

      No the army’s hand is strong because the politicians are incompetent. Name one tangible achievement of the politicians in the past 6/7 years. Any institution strengthened? Any problem diminished? Any risks mitigated?

      “2) No country or government can allow political demonstrators to storm its most sensitive symbols of power. In the United States, anyone trying to do so would meet the harshest response from the security forces. During the Islamabad events, the Army took a clear decision to avoid violence against the demonstrators, whereas Imran with his partner in crime, Allama Tahirul Qadri, had unwittingly created the scenario of a massive bloodbath.”

      This argument has no merit. US or other countries do not allow this because they do not rig elections, because they do not butcher innocent women in cold-blood and then refuse to dispense justice. In which decent country Shahbaz Sharif would have survived as CM the massacre of Model Town?

      “1. Imran Khan sides with the gangs and movements that are destroying the very core of the Pakistani society. He sides with the murders of innocent women and children. He sides with the killers of minority communities of Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus and Christians. Can this be classified as the right side of history?”

      Totally wrong. Imran is the only one who has by name condemned SSP and LeJ and many times so. He is the only one who went to Hazaras. Instead, the SSP has marched in favour of Nawaz Sharif. Benazir was the one who resurrected SSP and included them in her government with a ministry. Imran has openly condemned the harassment of Shias and minorities. You have total disconnect here. Imran now has overwhelming support among Shias and minorities.

      “India and China are rife with rampant corruption (China operating with no democracy at all) yet continue to thrive as economic forces leading the world in technology and industrial productivity.”

      This is your weakest argument.
      Caesar and his family must be above suspicion.
      The corruption of businessmen is not the same as the corruption of the rulers. The corruption of Manshas or Elahis is not as injurious as the corruption of Sharifs and Zardaris.
      Nawaz Sharif is the Modi and Mukesh Ambani of Pakistan rolled into one and he wants to run the country as a blend of King Abdullah and Omar Bongo.

      “The cancer that is devastating Pakistan as a nation is religious fundamentalism. This is the single largest threat to the future of Pakistan. I would support Imran if he would come out clearly against the rising influence of religious fundamentalism. On the contrary, he sides with the fundamentalists and forms alliances with them. Is this being on the right side of history?”

      Imran has clearly denounced religious fundamentalism. His biggest enemies today are the religious fundamentalists. His public gatherings are as open and jovial -with dance, comingling, and songs- as anywhere in the Muslim world. This has been the biggest flak against him recently.

      Which other national leader in the history of Pakistan has openly and assertively asked Saudi Arabia to stop interfering in Pakistan?

      ہم عشق میں یوں بے باک ہوئے، سو بار گریباں چاک ہوئے
      اب راہِ طلب میں خاک ہوئے، اس خاک کو تو برباد نہ کر