Imran’s decision to field the newcomer Sheikh Rashid Shafique in the by-election for NA-60 has stunned party workers and local leaders. The only logical explanation that comes to mind while comprehending Khan’s choice is Mr Shafique’s relation with Sheikh Rashid, head of Awami Muslim League (AML). Khan should reconsider his decision considering the locals’ resentment over the uncle-nephew nexus.

The people who supported Imran, for Khan once believed in the supremacy of merit over familial ties in politics, are now finding it difficult to see Imran as a face of change in the stale and rotten political culture of the country. Like many developing countries, Pakistan, too, finds it difficult to overthrow the family dynasties that are ruling the country. A defined number of families have commanded Pakistan’s legislature since 1947. Although new faces have emerged in politics, one thing has remained constant all these years; political parties’ firm belief in dynastic politics.

Imran Khan once a vocal critic of dynastic politics, however, has knelt before the cruel games of politics. Khan has shunned all his criticism of the political system and the deep-rooted faults in it. In the 2018 general elections, Imran’s party awarded 45% of tickets to newcomers from political and landed elite of the country. And he is not stopping from betting on the electable candidates, thus forgetting that his party once stood against families that were symbols of the status quo in politics. He condemned Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) now and then for acting like dynasties in modern times. But is his party not following in the footsteps of the parties he once criticised vehemently?

What pragmatism is forcing Imran to ignore the local workers and leaders who stood by him through thick and thin? If Imran does not reconsider his choice, he may lose the support of the residents of the area.

Right now, Imran is not facing the dilemma of choosing between right and wrong to ascend the throne. He is already there in the office of prime minister. But it seems that the democratic norms his party expounded are forgotten.. The decision of fielding Mr Shafique in the by-elections reveals that Imran has neither consulted selection committee nor taken into consideration the ground realities. Lastly, the choice of Sheikh Rashid’s nephew as party candidate begs the question; does Imran Khan really oppose dynastic politics?