As someone totally dedicated to a lifelong existence in Pakistan, I have always looked forward to celebrating Independence Day with ‘dignified fervor’. My family decorates our humble home with national flags and religiously maintains the tradition of illuminating our terrace with oil lamps or ‘diyas’. My late mother always prepared delicious ‘halwa’ to mark the day and distributed it amongst friends and neighbors. One of these friends was a venerable gentleman, who was considered to be a member of our family. He and my maternal grandfather had been civil service colleagues and both had opted to serve the newly born state of Pakistan. This gentleman was none other than Ahmed Hassan Khan, the maternal grandparent of the Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan. I have fond memories of Khan Sahib getting out of his car in front of our verandah, clutching a brown bag full of ‘barfi’ – my favorite snack. This was why this loveable individual came to be known amongst us young ones as ‘Barfi Walay Khan Sahib’. Much later in life, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a call from a senior colleague saying that a close relative of his was visiting him and wanted to meet me. It turned out that the visitor was none other than Agha Ahmed Raza Khan, the illustrious son of ‘Barfi Walay Khan Sahib’. The reunion was made more memorable by the fact that my mother was staying with me and both she and Ahmed Raza Khan were childhood play mates. I have narrated this story because I want to put the Cricketing Khan’s background and my knowledge about his family credentials in the correct perspective.

When Imran Khan came into politics, I was thrilled at the news because someone with an honest and patriotic background had finally emerged on our murky political horizon. I watched the man’s evolution as a politician with interest, marred only by a nagging concern for his tendency to trust people and a touch of impetuosity on account of his aggressive and fearless nature - I am afraid the time has now come to put my concern to test.

As a Pakistani, I have no issues with Khan Sahib’s ‘Azadi March’ as this falls well within democratic parameters. As long as this show of force was PTI’s alone, I was sure that like all previous occasions it would be peaceful. Regretfully, Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s decision to join the march coupled with the erratically radical behavior of its leadership might put this peaceful protest at risk.

In my reckoning, while the PTI protest is designed to put up legitimate demands for electoral justice and reform, the PAT with no political mandate in either of the houses nor any demands except ‘a revolution’, may foment a situation on 14th of August, which may adversely affect PTI’s leverage and higher moral standing. An introspective look at both parties will indicate the differences in their culture. One represents an endeavour towards reform and rule of law, while the other is undeniably autocratic, dangerously unpredictable and emotively motivated.

It would however be unfair on my part if I apportion all blame for the current crisis on one entity alone. The present situation is not the handiwork of PAT in isolation, but it is the ruling siblings and their party that must share a large portion of the blame. Here again it is the PML-N’s egotistic character that has brought the kettle to the boiling point. Composed of feudal members, the party appears to be suffering from megalomania, intolerance and arrogance. It is these traits that forbid it to take judicious decisions with respect to any entity that dares to go against them. The killing of innocent PAT workers and refusal to even register an FIR against those responsible is a case in point.

The bottom line is that Independence Day celebrations this year have been soured and the citizens of Lahore and now Islamabad are on edge. If I was formulating PTI strategy, I would advise Imran Khan to detach himself from any PAT activity, for by doing so he would retain his leverage and control over the entire situation, ensuring that his party’s reputation for a peaceful demonstration is not marred.

The writer is a freelance columnist.