As I sat musing on a freezing winter evening, the image of a car rolling up our drive in Lahore six decades ago, flashed through my mind. I saw a grey haired dignified looking individual wearing a tweed coat step out of the back seat, clutching a brown paper bag in one hand, to be greeted by a young boy and his grandfather. This young boy was me and the distinguished looking visitor was my grandparent’s colleague and close friend Ahmed Hassan Khan, the maternal grandfather of PTI Chairman and Cricketing Hero turned politician Imran Khan. To me this weekly meeting of old friends was exciting from a different point of view, for the brown paper bag contained my favorite treat - ‘Barfi’. It was therefore natural that we conferred the title of ‘Barfi Walay Khan Sahib’ on this unforgettable individual.

When the Cricketing Khan took up politics, I showed a detached interest in what he was trying to accomplish. My detachment stemmed from personal knowledge about the family and the moral values they held most dear. I had at that time expressed the opinion that these strong values would act as an impediment to what Imran had set out to achieve, in a thoroughly corrupt and immoral political culture. I began to have doubts about my assessment, when I saw the silent majority’s response to PTI during the marathon sit-in at Islamabad and I began to hope that I would be able to see a corruption free, merit based Pakistan in my lifetime, where everyone irrespective of social or political status, was treated fairly and even handedly by the Law of the Land – that hope is now beginning to dwindle as I watch PTI’s performance in Pakistan’s political arena. While this may be satisfying to my ego, I cannot but feel concern, because we needed a party with an honest and corruption free leadership structure, which if not elected into power, could become a potently strong opposition in the two Houses. That there is something seriously wrong with PTI, is now becoming evident from back to back setbacks and errors of judgment committed by Party decision makers.

Sources close to Tehreek e Insaaf, talk of cracks within its hierarchy. I attribute this to Imran’s lack of judgement in assuming that his advisors are as honest and upfront as he is. It is for this reason that he has surrounded himself by ‘tried and tested’ politicians, whose successful maneuvering has pushed PTI workers, who had helped set up the Party and persevere its growing pains, into an obscure outer circle (and in some cases oblivion).

Another malady besetting the Party is its inexplicable and continued lack of regular door-to-door grass root contact. This is not a difficult task as it can be accomplished by PTI District Leadership, provided they are given due recognition by the political celebrities surrounding the Chairman and most importantly by Imran himself. I have based this notion on eye witness accounts of the way this lower tier leadership was ignored in a recently held meeting at Islamabad.

Top PTI leadership should wake up to the reality that it is losing the surge of spontaneous support visible during the sit-in. My discussions with some families, who spent their daily evenings listening to the Party Chairman in D Chowk expressed reluctance to do the same now.

The reason is the continued and repetitive thread of ‘dhandli’ in every speech, interview and statement made by Khan Sahib and his team.

The PTI think tank (if it has the gumption to have formed one) must immediately do a reality check, which will inevitably lead to the conclusion that the best manner in which the Party can stabilize itself is by sitting in the Parliament to stop decisions and legislation that run counter to pragmatic maintenance of national interest.

Khan Sahib’s political strategy should be to wrest the initiative from his opponents and focus on weaning their vote bank. This will only be done if PTI’s visible structure and performance is deemed transparent, clean and credible. If affairs continue as they have in the past few months, then weathering and erosion within the Party will continue to the detriment of Pakistan’s future.