Perhaps Kaptaan has now become a brand name for PTI Incorporated (PTI Inc). Corporate resources like jets and helicopters are now at the disposal of party leadership. Gone are the days of sweat and struggle. Instead of an “Aam Admi Party”, the Tehrik is in the control of the ‘Khas’. Corporatisation has taken place.

It was the dream of Shaukat Aziz the to convert the country into Pakistan Inc. He often talked about corporatisation, de-regulation and privatisation. Photo sessions were well orchestrated. He dressed and talked well keeping the boss happy. It seems his cabinet members were deeply influenced by his approach. Short-cut Aziz was not a politician, corporate wheeling, dealing was his forte for him running a country of the size of Pakistan was a dream come true. In his last cabinet meeting, after the photo session he shook hands with his team ‘saying till we meet here again’. I think his parting words keep ringing in the ears of his buddies as they are now spread in all directions seeking access to the PM’s Secretariat.

There is a world of difference between corporate and political strategy. In business the bottom line is important while in politics the human line has to be watched. As a corporate leader running the government, like Shaukat Aziz, will be remembered as the worst PM ever. That is why he dare not visit his home country. Legacy is created by what you leave not take. No one wants to talk about him or his innings not even his cabinet colleagues or his boss.

To avoid conflict of interest (COI) ethical corporate leaders keep away from politics. It was during the regime of Zia-ul-Haq that businessmen were inducted into the political arena. Till then Pakistan was a normal country with corruption under control. It was a two-pronged attack. While he sold national interests to the Western powers, he allowed the domestic loot and plunder by his handpicked political rogues. The people of Pakistan were made to suffer. Ayesha Siddiqua has written a book titled ‘Military Inc’. A similar project could be launched called ‘Siasi Inc’, in which past and post assets of the political players should be published. Between the two corporate entities resides the wealth of the nation.

In Pakistan PML-N Incorporated was the first politico-business entity. Everyone in the party is encouraged to leverage his political authority to accumulate wealth. While the big money is for the upper deck of the leadership, the crumbs are for the lower rung. COI does not matter or count. There is hardly anyone in the party whose assets have not increased manifold after entering politics.

Service to the people is paramount in politics. Leaders who serve and sacrifice are revered and their legacy is everlasting. The 20th century was dominated by personalities like Mao Tse Tung, Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Mohandas Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Indira Gandhi, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB), Imam Khomeni… the list goes on. None of them had a corporate approach to politics. They entered the arena not to accumulate wealth but to help and serve mankind. For them people came before profits that is why their memory lives on even after they are gone.

PTI Incorporated now faces its similar opponent: PML-N Incorporated. While Kaptaan is the brand for PTI, PML-N depends on Nawaz Sharif. Party ideologies and manifestos are subservient to these individuals. PML-N was designed as a politico-business outfit to take on ZAB’s people’s approach. Corporatisation of PTI is indeed a great disservice to the country and the party rank and file.

No one could have imagined that the movement Kaptaan launched in April 1996 would end up as a corporate entity. Due to the untiring efforts of Comrades like late Ahsan Rashid who was President of Punjab PTI, the party blossomed as a genuine movement for change. The Jalsa at Minar-e-Pakistan in October 2011 was historic. A wide cross section of people were there. In December 2011 the ‘Andhi’ reached Karachi but by that time PML-Q rescue squad had arrived to neutralise the storm.

Since then it has been downhill. Starting from the award of party tickets all way down to ballot box management there were serious gaps. Corporate heavy weights were running the show and they failed miserably. PML-N was able to steal the election. In the words of Kaptaan it was stealing victory from the jaws of defeat and there was no counter strategy. In politics the battlegrounds are spontaneous and unpredictable. In corporations street resistance is neither taught nor practiced. Payroll individuals lack political passion for resistance. Corporate entities do well in areas for which they are trained and recruited- that is, to make money. Fighting for change has never been their forte nor will it ever be. As a genuine movement for change PTI has to revert back to its original design shunning its approach of corporatisation. As a politico business entity PML-N has done enough damage already another such outfit is in no one’s interest down with corporatisation of politics. People have to come before profits. Politics and business cannot co-exist.