The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) seems adamant to shoot itself in the foot – both of them. The party, and most particularly its spokespersons, were left reeling and stumbling for explanations following the sudden withdrawal of Nasir Khosa’s name for the caretaker Chief Minister, after it had been accepted by the Punjab government. One would have imagined that following such a blunder – which was (unsatisfactorily) explained as a reaction to public opinion and billed a misunderstanding – the party would have made more of an effort to keep public opinion in mind and generally be more astute in their political decision making.
What followed however was a comedy of errors, as the party teetered between different candidates and confusion reigned over its ranks. The names of Engineer Yaqoob Tahir Izhar and former bureaucrat and analyst Orya Maqbool Jan were conveyed to Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in a meeting at the latter’s chamber, as well as to the media. Quite bizarrely, and independently, PTI information secretary Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that the party had nominated former parliamentarian and columnist Ayaz Amir and did not endorse Mr Jan’s nomination. A day later, there is still no explanation for the sudden switch or confirmation that these are the final nominees.
It goes without saying that such a fiasco immediately following the last one does nothing to inspire confidence in the party’s decision making abilities. And while many will rightly criticise incompetence that is further delaying the chances of holding the election on time, the more ominous aspect of this episode is the quite deliberate nomination of Orya Maqbool Jan as a candidate.
Nomination of Orya Maqbool Jan – who is openly partial towards the PTI and the military in his stances and polarising in his political views – for a supposedly neutral position of caretaker CM is a problem in its own right. The party seems to be looking for the CM that appears be the most partial, instead of the one who is considered be the most capable in the position.
But the crux of the matter lies with the nature of views held by Orya Maqbool Jan. Throughout his career as an “analyst” on television Mr Jan has been a purveyor of conspiracy theories, religious bigotry and regressive, if not positively perverse, views on women. The fact that there was an across the board reaction against his nomination shows how wrong PTI was in nominating him – and how out of touch with the populace it is.