Political milieu of Pakistan has been transforming. For the last few years, the political binary, that was defined by PML-N and PPP for decades, has been battling with the strains created in the political system by third party inclusion that is, none other than, PTI. Since PTI has started to flex its muscles in our political system, it seems as if Pakistan has finally broken that inertia that was required in order to make political system responsive to its citizens’ participation.
Kudos to PTI for becoming a ray of hope and trailblazer at a point in time when majority in Pakistan had started to give up the ghost as far as taking a stand against shenanigans of those in power was concerned. From the party’s stand against election rigging in 2013 - which though majority in the past elections experienced, considered it wrong when such allegations surfaced, but had complacent approach towards it thinking that it could never be amended or they compromised - to its crusade against corruption, as is reflective in unfolding episode of Panama Leaks in Pakistan, there is one takeaway lesson. That is, how to stand by the issue of public concern and keep it alive through perseverance for which the whole nation should be indebted to PTI. Our inability to keep the issue in the spotlight until it gets resolved has cost us a lot in the past.
PTI’s surge as a political party in the mainstream, in such a short period of time, is nothing less than a mystery for many in Pakistan. Some think that its activism is the brainchild of establishment. Some ascribe its fortune to the leadership vacuum provided by other political parties. Besides, there were many stories being weaved during the days when PTI used to cover headlines through its sit-ins before the parliament for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation in the backdrop of elections’ rigging, and are still being made about out of the blue ascendance of PTI in Pakistan political chessboard. But, to me, there is something else with respect to why PTI resonates with majority of Pakistan’s urban electorate and especially its youth bulk, which is a major chunk of Pakistan’s population.
And that “something else” is Imran Khan (IK) toeing the line of Greek philosophy to attain public victory; that is how to connect with people effectively so that they can understand you properly. Yes, IK, I am sure, has been following Greek philosophy in order to attain public victory. This is what I came to realize while reading The 7 Habits of Highly People by Stephen R Covey in which he tries to explain to the readers how to attain public victory. The Greek philosophy for attaining public victory will be cleared in the following passage.
The early Greeks had a magnificent philosophy vis-à-vis attainment of public victory. It can be embodied in three sequential words: Ethos, Pathos and Logos. Applying, in the same sequence, what each word entails in practicality is the abracadabra for public victory at micro-level level. It can be applied to macro level. Let me put what each word entails in author’s words. The author explains these words as such:
“Ethos is your personal credibility, the faith people have in your integrity and competency. It’s the trust that you inspire… your emotional bank account. Pathos is empathic side - it’s the feeling. It means that you are in alignment with the emotional thrust of another person’s communication. Logos is the logic, the reasoning part of the presentation.”
In simple words, in order to connect with either an individual or a group, the first thing that comes in to consideration is the speaker’s integrity and competence. Integrity can be defined as “keeping promises and fulfilling expectations or to be loyal to those who are not present”. Once there is integrity, then it is required on the part of speaker to get himself/herself aligned with “emotional thrust” of another person’s communication that can come through emphatic listening; that is listening to understand other rather than to reply to other which normally people do while listening. Once a speaker’s integrity and empathy helps him/her connect with an individual or a group and gain his/her or group’s confidence, then the speaker can convince him/her or group about his/her point logically without eliciting an objection on the part of listener or audience. By the way, the Greek philosophy of “Ethos, Pathos and Logos” can be applied by anyone who wants to become a good speaker and connect with people at large.
Now let’s apply this philosophy to IK. IK is no doubt rich in integrity. So far, his character has not been maligned by any scandal. As an empathic listener to people’s woes for a long time, he has voiced people’s concerns in his politics and made all those issues of public concern a central point of his politics that had been nagging people for a long time like corruption and rigging. Equipped with integrity and emotional support of people for issues he stands for, he, through simple reasoning, has now been deciding the course for the public at large which he thinks that public should take for the greater good of the political system.
The problem with other parties is that they claim to draw the course for the public in political system, which they think the public should tread, through convoluted facts and maligning other political parties credibility before them, but they lack that integrity and emotional alignment with public as they have never listened to their woes in empathic manner even after getting two to three stints in power.
In short, PTI’s ascendance as one the most popular political parties in Pakistan at the moment in such a short span of time might have been supported by all the apprehensions on the part of some people about its sudden popularity, but there is no denying the fact that IK via following Greek philosophy, advertently or inadvertently, has catapulted it to the top realms of politics in Pakistan.