Courtesy: "Daily Times" (30 Sep 2012)
Source Link: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\09\30\story_30-9-2012_pg3_5
VIEW : Et maintenant Imran? — Mehr Tarar
You love him or you hate him, you cannot ignore him. He speaks and you listen — either to nod your head in starry-eyed adulation or to roll your eyes and change the channel, dimly bored, trying to figure out what to do when there is no T20 excitement to follow on the good old PTV. Is he the man that he is, the man people think he is, the man people close to him think he is, the man people who think they are close to him think he is, or is he the man according to people who want to see him disappear into political oblivion? Probably, he is all that, or maybe not, or perhaps much more than all that is known and apparent about him. The politician with the most Twitter followers in Pakistan and the politician who is one of the two for most who follow him or hate those who follow him: a messiah or the man who is the absolute worst thing that could happen to the very, very strange country called Pakistan. The cricketer-turned-philanthropist-turned-failed-politician-turned-the-next-expected-big-thing, Imran Khan is very much here and with an apology to all those who wish otherwise, there is no chance he is going anywhere quietly in the near future.
Imran Khan is the man the mainstream parties consider of no vote-able significance, yet the dissection of each word uttered by him becomes an activity for many a-tweaking-his-thumbs idle supporter of the A, N, Q or P, and their riding-in-white-SUVs leaders. Pooh-poohing his political existence, many of the shalwar-kurta, waistcoat-clad big names of the federal and provincial renown (well, their almost quotidian appearances in TV shows substantiate their self-love for their own grand place in the big scheme of the houses on the hill in Islamabad), each word of his last interview/press brief is stuttered over. Sweating profusely (metaphorically, readers), the content is termed superfluous, and the redundancy of his rhetoric is mocked. Yet, each word Khan mouths become a subject of debate and each move (in his loaned black SUV or his friend/party big shot, Jehangir Tareen’s swanky plane) he makes or, sometimes, even aborts, is a topic of many a talk show and hate-tweets. Let’s be honest here. It does not matter what he says. You like him, it is all good. And hey presto, if you do not, there is no stopping you, be it the mispronounced tirades on TV or the misspelt words on your timeline. The biggest rebuttal Khan’s detractors have is most of them have been attacked by the no-holds-barred, young, fervent, idealistic supporters of his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) on social media. Try convincing them it has nothing to do with the party’s official position and there goes the two hours one could have spent tweeting about this and that of Pakistan with the erudite journalist from the big paper in New York. Here are my wise words of advice. Language is a tool of expression, not your comment on what you learnt from Eminem’s new number and the latest release of Vin Diesel. And for the other side, it is certainly not your copyright to mock what you do not deem kosher for your favourite party whose leaders fight on primetime TV like children during a game of Tag gone awry. Most importantly, remember, Khan does not encourage his supporters to abuse you and his reiteration of the same must be taken as seriously as, say, how you take the words of your revered leaders, as gospel, or maybe close to that?
The latest topic is the exit of Shireen Mazari and her daughter from the PTI. Why pay attention to what Khan had to say in his first interview after the departure of the highly respected Ms Mazari as to how upsetting it had been for him? Why not just scrunch the eyes and retweet every last syllable of the blog the younger Mazari put on Twitter, how bad it all was, how traumatised she is and how it has dented her faith in the purity of the PTI’s politics, scarring her for public life irreparably? Khan’s simple explanation and his hope Ms Mazari would be back once she cools down are of no consequence when the social media has decided the Mazaris — both senior and junior — are the victims of a patriarchal, one-man-show, dictatorial party. Now, they cannot be talking about the PPP where earlier one family and now the relatives decide who the next PM is or how many people get to ride in the presidential plane to, errr, wherever the honourable president may be going this weekend. And it most certainly cannot be about the PML-N and the one-man and his control over 22, or what was it, 34 or maybe 61 ministries in the big province of small politics. Right? It has to be all about Imran Khan — how he controls his party within the confines of his party office, and how he has no time for anyone’s opinion while he announces intra-party elections, something most parties are disdainful of.
With the announced march to Waziristan to protest against the ongoing collateral damage of Pakistan government-endorsed US drone attacks, Khan seems to have stepped into many a spurious political minefield here. Khan is with the Taliban. The Taliban have threatened him not to put one SUV wheel in their terrain. Khan is against what the Taliban say. The war is ours, the war is not ours. Taliban will unleash more terror if not encouraged to engage in a meaningful dialogue. Khan would not talk to the PPP or the MQM but he is all drone-eyed about the Taliban. Phew. Too much ink wasted here, let’s see some action now. The march to Waziristan is on; the international media has RSVP’d; and the Taliban will do what they do. Take a minute to acknowledge the initiative being taken by Khan to show the world the bombed Pakistan and to attempt a workable peace plan in the region. No other leader has put his Lobb-covered foot in the area and the Taliban are not known for their hospitality to visitors from Islamabad. Khan is going. What will happen that day in October no one knows; what it will do is bring the focus back to war-torn Waziristan. Maybe, people will start to sleep at night; not much to do there, you see.
As long as it is Khan, let us just agree on one thing: if you do not like him, chances are you are not gonna until it is time to stamp the arrows and the lions and the bicycles again. Then either people will vote for him or his 10-million supporters (duh!) will remain a fantasy, giving the detractors opportunity to guffaw like Puri in Mr India. Pakistan is facing its worst possible time but of course, all those in power are the ones who are on the right track and will put the country back on a utopian footing. Khan the untested one is just there to take the punches. He may not be the ideal statesman, he may not sprout the sagest things all the time, he may seem ambivalent about some issues and he may make the occasional on-air faux pas, but there is one thing you cannot blame him for: the mess, the mayhem, the chaos, the hell Pakistan is today. His hands are clean and his intention is clear. Let’s clean it all up. Before it’s too late. For no other reason, there are many who would vote for him simply because there is no other choice. And some simply because he is...Imran Khan.
The writer is an Assistant Editor at Daily Times. She tweets at @MehrTarar and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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