The unfortunate time has come for me to face the wrath of the unruly and highly sensitive supporters of a political party that is out there to carve a new identity for Pakistan. The opinion can differ over the methodology, the orientation of the issues, or the myopic view of the said party but one cannot deny the unbridled authority it has successfully won over the hearts of the naïve, desperate and distressed.

Being a journo who had to peddle her way through the crowd that occupied the Constitution Avenue of Islamabad for more than 90 days,  I was expecting something if nothing splendid to come out of these oddly prolonged sit-ins.  So far the best it has achieved is the honor of being the longest ever sit-in in the world.  If that was the aim then Khan along with the imported four-wheeler-alighting squad has successfully done so. But the thousands who have been following the long March turned fiasco since August have failed to understand the wisdom behind this pandemonium ruling the streets of the capital territory for so long and achieving nothing.

The chairman of PTI Imran Khan had the vision to first lead the ‘millions’ from Lahore to Aabpara and from there to Constitution Avenue.  Leave aside Khan’s handy book of misleading quotes from imaginary documents including a ridiculous sum of money borrowed by the present government, to provocations to civil disobedience.  Khan used all the impossible antics up his arms to conjure up an impression that Pakistanis – all of them, without any exception – were on the roads to support his ideology.  Being the head of a political party and having won 34 seats in the national assembly he might have had the right to protest and demand the end of the Nawaz regime but what exactly is going to happen on 30th November?  

In the prelude to the approaching date of jalsa yet again, Khan is making claims of putting up a show that would corner the Sharif government, compelling it to bow before the ‘legitimate’ demands of ‘millions’ who happen to be with the man from Bani Gala. But wait! This time around there is a threat too. After what happened at the gate of the PM house, in the premises of Parliament house, in front of the Supreme Court building and of course at the headquarters of Pakistan Television, Khan’s incitement to violence should not be taken lightly.  

His all too famous venomous speeches might have become a hallmark for the leader and his followers but this time, the threats are not subtle, they are not between the lines. The daily ‘sermons’ of Khan do not create much hype these days but a speech inciting mob to violence could not go unnoticed and brought to him long lost on-air time.

The government’s failure has been obvious in being unable at resolving the issue peacefully but that right now is a separate question.  Imran Khan surely sends out disturbing signals when he approaches the container roof flanked by Sheikh Rashid and a crowd that cheers him over his all-too-violent speech. 

It should be understood that Khan is not only waiting for the Sharif government to take a wrong step, he is hell bent on making it happen. One wonders where have all the ‘perhay likhay naujawan’ (educated youth) gone? And why the desperation has shoved the party into this self-destructive mode.

With a decent representation in the centre with a government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it was expected that PTI would perform well to aim for a clean sweep in the next general elections. But the party has instead decided to leave the idea of investigating the election rigging long before resorting to a name-calling, mudslinging, and promoting a violent agenda.

The thing worth considering for the government right now would be to analyze the seriousness of Khan’s threats of violence on November 30. Pilling up rubber bullets and taking the aerial view of Islamabad to ensure the security of the capital does not appear to be the best of the ideas, since such arrangements have been breached numerous times in recent past not only by PTI but by their estranged ‘cousins’ PAT as well.

It would be better to stop any ugly scenes from developing in the first place. The post-clash press conferences by politicians won’t undo anything once the damage is done.

Geti Ara is a story-teller, journalist and a documentary maker