Finally Imran Khan, Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, has decided not to seal off the federal capital. This is a welcome move by PTI’s Chief in such critical circumstances.

In this brief piece, my intention is to analyze a very simple yet very important point: what is the significance of Imran Khan’s dharnas and how do they benefit the ruling party?

And I suggest Imran Khan some alternatives to get things done. Correctly. And in a decent way.

In the present scenario, the important questions are: first, what does Imran Khan really want to achieve in a broader framework of Pakistani politics? Second, is it sensible to seal off the federal capital or the whole of Pakistan? Third, is it a mature means to a sensible end? Fourth, what alternatives does Imran have other than holding a sit-ins and closing off the capital?

Firstly, Imran Khan is a new addition to Pakistani politics. He attracted the youth and gave the idea of change, and Naya Pakistan (New Pakistan). He promised to stop the excessive exploitation of the poor and the weak, to bring change in education and health sectors, and to eliminate both the corrupt and corruption from Pakistan. Apparently, he is fighting against the status quo. He is questioning the existence of dynasties and the nature of the democracy in Pakistan.  In a wider political context, what Imran khan really wants is a limited or controlled political revolution in Pakistan. Through this revolution, he intends to incorporate real democratic values (equality before law, accountability, free and fair elections, etc.) in our monarchal authoritative political system that masquerades as democratic.

Secondly, it is neither appropriate nor sensible to close the federal capital. But why? The answer is very simple and clear: Khan’s sit-ins will create chaos in Pakistan, the government machinery will become dysfunctional, and there will be stones, bullets, and blood. This situation will benefit Nawaz and his party as they will be able to garner the sympathies of the international community and media. At the international stage these sit-ins will be considered or portrayed as a military-backed undemocratic political force that wants to topple democracy in Pakistan.  

Domestically, the shutting down of Islamabad, or of Pakistan, will give the ruling party a perfect political excuse to hide their incompetence and malpractices in a more sophisticated and convincing way. All the economic loss would be because of these sit-ins. Yes, it would have happened if Imran chose to close Islamabad.

Thirdly, Imran’s goal is sensible and clear. It is actually what everyone in Pakistan wishes for, but does not struggle for. Unfortunately. But the means that Imran has chosen to achieve this sensible end is insensible. It is pathetic to foresee that the means PTI was going to employ for attaining their mature political ends are politically immature, improper and indecent, and would have ultimately benefit the opponent, Nawaz and company.  This sit-in would have empowered Nawaz Sharif both domestically and globally. People may argue that Nawaz will ultimately be the suffering party because he will have to seek help from the all-powerful Pakistani military to save his government. To think this is naïve. The international political scenario (US and India will leave no stone unturned in saving Nawaz’s democracy) is more peaceful for Nawaz than military or Imran. So Nawaz won’t need anybody at home so eagerly. At least not at this stage.

Fourthly, Imran Khan needs to focus upon his greater political objectives and should not do what he has been doing since long. He is making mistakes repeatedly; unsound judgments and political miscalculations. He must understand and carefully examine the domestic as well as global political milieu before he arrives at any decision, the next time.

More importantly, he has three interrelated and interdependent things that he can do as an alternative to get things done perfectly:

1.      PTI is not an organized political party in the democratic sense. Khan should first focus upon the organization of his party so that internal instability within his party should not distract him, once again.

2.      KPK government must be a model government for the rest of Pakistan. Khan should focus upon KPK because if they do not deliver, PTI will not only lose KPK, but the rest of Pakistan as well.

3.      He must politicize the youth across the country. This politicization of youth will help Imran in achieving his fundamental political objective: controlled revolution.

Imran Khan can go to the Supreme Court, Election Commission and other national institution to seek justice but if he does not get anything, he shouldn’t call sit-ins like he had done previously. He should focus upon the public, his party, and KPK. Questioning our fragile so-called democracy will benefit the status quo not the PTI.