Following the ‘historic’ Panamagate verdict delivered by the Supreme Court Of Pakistan last month, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has intensified its anti-government campaign by extensively holding public rallies across the country. However, at the moment, PTI is politically at low ebb as apparently the leak-ridden PML-N government has survived the both ‘leaks’, though temporarily. This government has succeeded in provisionally managing one leaked scandal while absolutely fixing the other one. Allowing the PM Nawaz Sharif to stay as the chief executive of the country, a 5-member bench of the apex court has ordered the formation of a JIT to ‘further probe’ allegations of corruption against him and his family members in the Panamagate case. On the other hand, DG ISPR has formally announced the final settlement of the Dawn leaks issue after withdrawing his earlier controversial tweet.

In fact, there is no difference at all between the ‘approved’ notification and the ‘rejected’ notification except the letterheads carrying both notifications. The same notification was first issued by the Prime Minister Office, and later by the Ministry of Interior. No one can dare question the propriety and soundness of the policy decisions made by the so-called establishment when it comes to national security. Obviously no one can be allowed to be more pious than the pope. However, one can at least easily assume that now the civil and military leaderships are on the ‘same page’ as far as the matter of civilian supremacy is concerned. Presently, there is no imminent threat to the ever-fragile democratic institutions in the country. So, once again, Pakistan has been made safe for democracy.

At present, PTI is facing a lot of political challenges and hardships. Firstly, PTI has disappointingly failed in knocking PM Nawaz Sharif out through the much-hyped Panama leaks and Dawn leaks scandals. Secondly, the PTI Chairman Imran Khan is facing a similar trial in the apex court regarding his own alleged offshore accounts and misdeclaration of assets. Thirdly, PTI’s foreign funding is also being scrutinised. Moreover, in this state of political chaos and uncertainty, PTI is going to hold its long-delayed intra-party elections next month.

PTI, as a political party, has been a hostage to its own political dilemmas. Owing to these dilemmas, it often fails to achieve its cherished political goals, giving rise to some sorts of discontent and frustration within party’s rank and file. Following its ‘game changing’ massive public rally at Minar-e-Pakistan Lahore on October 30, 2011, PTI leaders instantly started believing PTI to be the country’s largest and the most popular political party. Later, they also started behaving as such. They counted their chickens before they were hatched, by optimistically, and rather unrealistically, setting some electoral targets for their party in the 2013 General Elections, ignoring altogether the prevailing political culture, general dynamics of electoral politics, constituency and candidate factors in the country. In the absence of better electoral strategy and required electoral experience, PTI could not make a significant dent in the vote-bank of so-called status quo political parties in the country, except in the province of KP. Nevertheless, PTI succeeded in securing some 7.7 million votes.

Soon after these elections, instead of seriously evaluating the electoral results to identify party’s structural and operational malfunctions, PTI’s leadership preferred to resort to oft-repeated rhetoric regarding the electoral rigging against the newly-elected PML-N government. It demanded PM Nawaz Sharif step down on the basis of unsubstantiated rigging allegations. Later, these rhetorical assertions transformed into a full-fledged anti-government agitation rally. When a judicial inquiry commission formally rejected these rigging allegations, PTI had only to cut a sorry figure.

PTI is best known for its anti-status quo political stance and credentials. But ironically, it is another PTI’s dilemma that it has been looking towards the complimentary and supplementary components of the current political status quo to break this very status quo in the country. Naturally, these components are supposed to act to preserve or reinforce this status quo. The party unnecessarily relied on the ‘Third Empire’ to end political status quo during its prolonged sit-in in Islamabad, ignoring the fact that this individual mostly intervenes only to protect his personal or institutional interests.

Similarly, it has been looking towards partisan state institutions like NAB, FIA, SBP, ECP etc., to get PM Nawaz Sharif probed and disqualified in the Panama Leaks scandal. Now its current expectations from the apex court in Panamagate case may also end in frustrating debacle at the end of the day. The wholesale induction of so-called electables and political heavyweights in PTI following the 2011 Lahore rally essentially indicate towards similar tendency among its front-runners. These electables could not ensure PTI’s success in the 2013 General Elections. But observably, they badly damaged party’s ‘ideology of change’. Surely, realpolitik can’t go hand in hand with idealism.

PTI always talks of the rule of law and institutional evolution to bring about positive change in the country. However, IK has yet not succeeded in transforming PTI into a vibrant and ideal political party. Therefore, we can hardly call PTI an institution. As in other political parties, the cults of personalities have gripped this party too. So now PTI essentially revolves around the IK who calls all the shots in the party. PTI has no existence or identity independent of IK. Similarly, PTI has yet also not succeeded in introducing the rule of law and meritocracy within its organisation. It has been delaying intra-party elections for many years. There is a perception that only IK’s blue eyed individuals can occupy a key position in party’s organisational structure. This practice has been instrumental in coining the notorious term ‘ATM’s’ in the party. In fact, a vibrant political party is always precursor to a political change in any country. Therefore, to me, the greatest political service that IK can do to this nation is to make a ‘Naya Pakistan’ by adhering to a two-prong political strategy- first evolving an ideology of change, then organising a dynamic and disciplined political party to enforce this political ideology.

PTI has been politically maneuvering in the country largely in accordance with its numerous self-full filling prophesies. For the last few years, it has extensively been trying to dislodge PM Nawaz Sharif by hook or crook. So it kept on identifying the ‘primary reason’ for the current miserable state of affairs in Pakistan. Once the phenomenon of electoral rigging was declared as the basic cause for Pakistan’s down-fall. Now the fact of ruling elite’s corruption has been portrayed as country’s underlying woe. Certainly, no one can deny the relevance of these factors in our national milieu. However, viewing these factors in isolation and selfishly would hardly help setting things right politically in the country. In fact, instead of endeavouring to rectify these chronic maladies, PTI has been seeking the quick-fix remedies to topple incumbent PML-N regime. Consequently, no meaningful electrical reforms have yet been introduced in Pakistan to ensure free and fair elections in future.

PTI is also known for putting its all ‘political eggs’ in one basket most of the time. It first unnecessarily relied on the Third Empire by unthinkingly launching and subsequently prolonging the Azadi March in 2014. For the last one year, it has only been actively trying to get the Panamagate scandal probed to oust PM Nawaz Sharif. In fact, the complex Panamagate proceedings in the apex court are very likely to take few more months. Thus PTI would have spent this 5-year period while protesting and agitating against the incumbent PML-N government. What will PTI do if nothing substantial would come out of current Panamagate proceedings in the apex court? Next General Elections are not far away. Noticeably, PTI has neither focused on improving its party structure nor even devised any effective electoral strategy to proactively confront and defeat its political opponents in the forthcoming General Elections. Indeed, without politically organising and mobilising itself at the grass-root level, PTI will not be in a position to translate the current anti-status quo sentiments and the so-called anti-incumbency factor into some concrete electoral accomplishments in the future.