By Sunil Dang
Pak elections are now over. Imran Khan is going to take oath on August 11th as next Pakistani Prime Minister. However, with this win, the former cricketer has also won the tag of being the ‘blue eyed man of Pak army.’ I would like to remind those critics dubbing Imran as army ‘sponsored’ candidate that it took near 23 year for the army to rely on Imran. Imran has proved his mettle as a politician, which attracted the Pak establishment. Only then did they put their weight behind Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI). In these elections, Imran might have failed to get the absolute majority but his party managed to get the number of seats (116 out of 272) that are enough to keep Nawaz Sharif’s PML(N) and Bhutto’s family borough PPP out of power corridors. In fact, even if both these principal ruling parties come together, their numbers would be lesser than PTI. Now, Imran can easily form the government with the support of some small regional parties and independents. But, what next for Imran Khan after being sworn-in as Pak Prime Minister?
When Imran came into politics and floated his own party, he vowed to clean politics with fresh ideas that better suited a developing economy like Pakistan. However, to world’s surprise, his ideas got rejected by the masses. Even Imran lost from his seat. But, the former cricket captain of Pakistan stuck to his political wicket and continued bowling against Bhuttos and Sharifs. Slowly but steadily, his party PTI gained a tag of ‘dark horse’ of Pakistani politics and Imran started to realize that to win elections in Pakistan there are some ‘X’ factors that needs to be taken on the board, especially after the 2013 debacle. He changed his stand on divorce, halala, blasphemy and some other issues that were soothing for fundamental establishments. He started avoiding direct clash with the system like Judiciary, Army, ISI, etc. This helped him gain the support of the system. Later he multiplied this support with his mass appeal that led to such astounding results. So, it’s a well-planned political road map designed by Imran Khnahas lead him to power.
Hence, Imran Khan has the political acumen, which he has developed by devoting his last 23 years to politics. Now, his first and foremost job is to address youth issues, who voted Imran with great hope and enthusiasm. And for that he needs investment. So, China would continue to remain an important country in his tenure as Prime Minister. Like any other country, for Imran too, Kashmir would be an issue that would be at the core of his diplomacy efforts. Imran has started to hint that he is ready to sit and initiate dialogue over the contentious issue. But, I am surprised to see the antagonized Indian media — who used to boast themselves by inviting him to their conclaves — against Imran. Being Prime Minister now, Imran will have a luxury that his predecessor’s lacked-multiple numbers of direct sources to reach out to his Indian counterpart even when bilateral dialogues are not in process. What Imran expressed must have the sanction of the Pak establishment. Hence, it’s time for the Modi government to reciprocate rather put pressure through various means on Imran.
Imran’s ascendency in politics reminds me about Arvind Kejriwal too. Both leaders came to politics to cleanse the dirt and corruption prevailing in their respective nation’s politics. However, rather they change politics; politics changed them to a larger extent. Both leaders have political lieutenants who are novice in governance. But, there is one key difference that keeps Imran Khan ahead of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, which is support of the system. While in power, Imran has support of Pak establishments while Kejriwalascended to power after antagonizing the system. After reaching the power corridors, Kejriwal failed to bridge the gap between him and the system which led to the derailing of majority of his poll promises while Imran has yet to prove whether he comes out of the army shadows or he would accept the ‘rubber stamp’ tag given by his detractors. Hope, Imran succeeds because his success would cement democracy in Pakistan.