Imran’s baptism as a popular a political leader in 2011 and the emergence of his party as a third political force in the country as a result of the 2013 general elections, was heralded by many as a harbinger of change and the beginning of new political era in the history of Pakistan. However Imran Khan felt disappointed, as the result was much below his expectations. Someone whispered into his ear that the elections had been stolen from him. He, without bothering to check the veracity of the whisper, took it as an article of faith and started a campaign against the alleged rigging. He particularly focused on his alleged theory of 35 puncture by the care-taker Chief Minister of Punjab, Najam Sethi, and along the way accused almost everybody who mattered including the former CJ, COAS, ECP and other high ranking state functionaries of having connived to deprive him of the electoral victory. In fact the mantra of 35 punctures was the pivot of his campaign against rigging. However when the Judicial Commission formed to probe the rigging allegations quashed the allegations of systematic rigging and validated the mandate of the PML-N government, though he still kept on rubbing in the notion of rigging but in an interview was gracious enough to admit that his allegations were merely a political talk and someone during a conversation had mentioned it. He felt no remorse or embarrassment for creating a political crisis in the country over false and unsubstantiated allegations.

He failed to learn from the setback that he had to endure and continued with his impulsive propensity to rely on hearsay to grill his political opponents and unabashedly taking somersaults on different issues. His politics unfortunately has revolved around his obsession with rigging and throwing flak at others without really checking the facts only to be embarrassed in the end. It reminds me of an anecdote which goes like this: A friend whispered in the ear of the other that a dog had torn apart his ear and ran away with it. He asked his friend in which direction the dog had gone and started running after the dog. He kept running till he was exhausted. He could not find the dog and sat down to catch his breath. A passerby asked him why he was so exhausted? He said that he was trying to find the dog who had taken his ear. The passerby looked at him and told him that both his ears were intact. The man touched his ears and felt extremely embarrassed over his foolishness. It is said that wise people learn from the mistakes of others and fools learn from their own mistakes. Khan has neither learned from mistakes of others nor his own.

Somebody whispered in Imran’s ears about 35 punctures and he started the wild chase of the alleged culprits without bothering to ascertain the facts. It is interesting to note that a committee of his party constituted to probe into causes of PTI defeat in elections had concluded that the major reason for defeat of PTI was lack of proper political strategy and preparation for the undertaking. It never mentioned rigging as the reason for the defeat of the party. Imran has proven himself to be an impulsive, naïve and immature political leader, who neither has proper understanding of the prevalent political culture nor is an astute political strategist.

Whenever he appears before the media or has any forum available to spread his pearls of wisdom, he either repeats the same rhetoric or comes up with some new and bizarre allegations against the government, particularly the person of the Prime Minister, notwithstanding the fact that his political standing has been severely eroded by his unremitting habit of having swipe at his political opponents on the basis of false or inaccurate information fed or whispered to him. I tend to agree with an analyst that his litany of unsubstantiated allegations hurled at the PML-N and the person of Nawaz Sharif during his elections campaign in AJK, apart from good performance of the party on the federal level, was also one of the reasons behind the victory of the latter.

However, one really has to admire his stubbornness and perseverance in sticking to his way of conducting politics, being unmindful of the results. He was at his best while hurling accusations against the government and family members of the Prime Minister at a rally held on 13th August in Rawalpindi in the backdrop of Panama Leaks. As usual, speaking to the media, he made a revelation that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had offered General Raheel promotion to the rank of a field marshal but the later had refused as he had already expressed his desire to retire on his actual date of superannuation. On insistence by the media about the source of his information he said that a politician belonging to PML-N had told him this. Sometime ago he had also claimed that Nawaz Sharif had presented a BMW to the former COAS General Kiani but he refused to accept the gift. These are surely very irresponsible statements on part of a politician of his caliber. He still continues to rely on hearsay to say things which have very serious political repercussions. During three tenures of Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister, apart from General Raheel, four other COASs including General Aslam Beg, General Waheed Kakar, General Jahangir Karamat and General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani have served under him. One never ever heard anything of this sort, where Prime Minister reportedly adopted a groveling posture towards any of them. Logic, good sense and Sharif’s governing history, effectively belie this assertion.

People and supporters of Imran expect a positive and productive politics from him with focus on national issues such as reforms in the system of governance. That can only be done when the party and Imran Khan in person start relying on the forum of the parliament to advance their cause and contribute to the realization of the cherished goals of the nation. Agitations, disruptive politics and attempts to create political crisis on the basis of unauthentic allegations and false information are neither going to revive his political fortunes nor benefit the country. Results of by- elections to the NA and PA seats, local bodies and recent elections in AJK represent a referendum against politics of agitation. Imran must listen to the voice of the people if he wants to remain relevant in the political landscape of the country.