Raja Arsalan Khan

The PTI October 30 gathering in Lahore was, indeed, a heartening development in our stale yet turbulent political arena. It was the congregation of those wanting a change from the rotten past and hoping for redemption from a messiah.

The optimism generated through the rally made many to ponder that the much-awaited change is just round the corner. Majority of the participants were haves, who promised to support the recently found leader in the former cricketer. I also wish to be part of the team, striving for a new order. But it seems now that the high hopes measured, at the time of the tsunami's first few waves, are now subsiding.

I am not the bestowed one. Rather I belong to those 80 percent, who are not even considered eligible to be a candidate for the fruits of the mainstream production system. Therefore, I support the change, more than anyone else. For me, it is not a luxury. It is both a right and a necessity.

But is Imran Khan the messiah and the chosen one who shall take us to the promised land? That is my question.

It is high time for me to address the PTI leader, present my reservations and directly ask him simple and straight questions hoping I would get their answers, as earnestly and sincerely as I present them.

Issue number one for me is the state’s priorities. I always hear you criticising the lot of politicians, but find you mum on the role and performance of our army in their own field, their budget, unparalleled perks, and their insistence to make us live in an environment surrounded by enemies.

In both instances of May 2 and Salalah, you accused the government, but did not utter a word about those whose responsibility is our security and defence.

Do you honestly believe that politicians are responsible for the bullet-riddled bodies found every day in Balochistan and the increasing number of missing Balochs?

You are never tired of saying that this government is corrupt and a product of NRO, but what about those who engineered and ensured the ‘black law’?

What exactly should be the role of religion in our society, lives and politics? On the one hand, you advocate the tribal system, talk about dialogue and peace with the Taliban, who have no ambiguity about establishing a theocracy. On the other, you praise the West’s democracy, its lifestyle, and the means it has adopted for development. This demagoguery results in confusion: How would you deal with the civil war-like situation and with what kind of consensus?

Another key issue is women emancipation, given the fact that you have a soft corner for the Taliban-like lifestyle? Are you going to bar girls from getting education? If you are not impressed by the dictates of Taliban about women, how is it possible to reconcile your programme with that of the extremists? And finally, how would you accommodate their rights with the jirga system, the ultimate expression of patriarchal society?

You present yourself as a modern man - an inspiration for youth - but your repeated mentioning of jirga as the most efficient justice delivery mechanism reflects your love for the tribal way of life.

Please also clarify your position on issues like rural-urban migration. Isn’t it a right of an individual to decide where and how to live? Would you also follow the failed development strategies, like the NGO-style rural support programmes that restrict human freedom? If not, please give an alternative.

Against your innumerable statements against drone attacks, you have never visited or sympathised with any of the terror victims.

You are in politics since 1996. Why couldn’t you make a difference earlier and how would you make one now? Is it so that the establishment earlier on tried to go along with the two leading parties and, perhaps, now doesn’t want to do so and has picked you as its horse?

Your newly found love with Altaf Hussain’s MQM has raised many an eyebrow about you consistency. Isn’t he the same person against whom you vowed to go to court?

Are you waiting to read the minds of the people, who join PTI from south Punjab before you decide for/or against dividing Punjab or do you have to say something now?

So far, you have failed to offer any definite programme, particularly about the economy or the problems it is facing. The kind of team you have gathered around yourself without exceptions is rural-cum-feudal. With no specialist of any field, who can make a difference in any particular sector, are you trying to prove that PTI is a jack of all trades and master of none?

Close to 60 years of age, you say you discovered the true Islam and values. Is it the waning age or should we expect another discovery from you after a few years?

Voting for somebody should not be whimsical. I have been betrayed in the past too. So, I want to be sure this time, who should I vote for. Isn’t it my right?

The writer is a political analyst.

Email: rajarsalan@gmail.com

Twitter@RajaArsalanKhan