The world watched the recently concluded US presidential elections in mute silence as one of the most profound upsets in electoral history manifested itself on television screens. I heard many of my acquaintances smugly comment that with Donald Trump taking decisions in the White House one could portend that the American empire had at last reached the beginning of its fall. It is indeed ironic that we laugh at Mr Trump and his political antics, while a significant segment of our own electorate continues to root for a political party, whose leadership appears to draw serious governance decisions out of a comedian’s hat.

I am referring to the recent appointment of the Sindh Governor, who is a retired member of the senior judiciary, in his late eighties. The gentleman is a respected citizen with multiple health issues and in no way suited to shoulder his new responsibilities. It is strange that on being interviewed by the media this ‘octogenarian plus’ had no inkling of his new appointment. An ominous drop scene to this whole episode was that the former Justice Sahib was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of a Karachi hospital suffering from serious chest infection, which was in all probability the result of exposure during his ‘maiden’ wreath laying ceremony at our Founding Father’s last resting place.

I have often criticised the PTI Chairman for his lack of political wisdom and rigidity. The tendency to take decisions without considering their long term consequences has at times resulted in embarrassment to the party and adoption of U-turns. Khan Sahib is very lucky to have a following, which believes in his honesty and commitment. Much of this following also believes that it is this rigidity (which his fans call determination) that may perhaps be the medicine this country needs to eradicate corruption and misgovernment. However, in many instances the above approach becomes not only counterproductive, both at the domestic and international level. It also provides Imran Khan’s adversaries with grist and leverage against him.

Take for example the decision to continue the boycott of Parliament even during the joint session, which is being addressed by the Head of a long and trusted friendly country, during his state visit to Pakistan. What makes the act condemnable and perhaps diplomatically insulting is the fact that the ambassador of the said country requested the PTI Chairman to attend the event. I am informed by sources within PTI that this decision was taken in spite of strong recommendations from senior party leaders, who advised a temporary break in the boycott. This was sound advice and Khan Sahib should have taken it. What he could have done was to attend the session for the duration of the foreign dignitary’s presence on the floor of the House and then walked out to continue with his protest. By doing what he did, the PTI boss actually played into the hands of his opponents. Perhaps time will make the inflexible and single tracked Niazi from Mianwali realise that this was one of the many errors he had committed during his journey on the murky political road to power.

I do not for a minute subscribe to the theory of a proportional relationship between pressure on our ruling family and escalation along the ceasefire line, but how in heaven’s name does one stop wagging tongues, when such a thing repeatedly manifests itself (albeit coincidently). This time however, Modi has committed one of his greatest blunders by ‘upping the ante’ to a point which can trigger a war between the two South Asian nuclear armed states. In his blind hatred of everything Muslim and Pakistani, this rabidly fundamentalist individual is failing to comprehend the consequences of such a war. I know that there is a fairly large segment of sane Indian society that resonates with what I am trying to say and it is this group that must now activate itself and drum some sense into the jingoist party that rules their country – if not for themselves then for the sake of their coming generations.

 

The writer is a freelance columnist.