Note: several readers who reviewed my last week’s article (“Fraudulent Intentions, Deceptive Motives” published in TheNation on February 28) have asked a question: how are we going to get rid of the “muk-muka” democracy in Pakistan? Today’s article is my response to this important query.
If you have played cricket yourself, or if you are a passionate fan of the game, then you will know that a fast bowler’s outswinger is his most deadly weapon against any top-class batsman. Decades ago when the Australian cricket team came on its first tour of Pakistan, I remember Fazal Mahmood clean-bowled Neil Harvey with his famous outswinger (an inswinger to left-handed Harvey). The bails literally flew to the boundary. Pankaj Roy, India’s former opener, repeatedly lost his wicket to Mahmoud Hussain’s (my older brother) outswingers.
Indeed, outswingers are deadly ammunition in the bowling arsenal of a pace bowler, specifically when the wind is blowing from behind the bowler’s end. Imran Khan swung the ball both ways (outswings and inswings) with tremendous speed, razorblade sharpness and pinpoint accuracy. He surprised his opponents with the sudden quickness of the ball and controlled directions during his bowling spells. That was Khan’s masterpiece on the cricket ground. And that is what he is going to do on the political field – clean bowl his political opponents out of the game with his splendid outswing.
The PTI’s March 23 jalsa at Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore is going to be Khan’s political outswinger to knock his opponents out of Pakistan’s fast-changing political game. It will be a day when his long-held claim of shattering all three wickets in one ball will come true. It will be a day of PTI’s tsunami hitting hard on Pakistan’s political soil. It will be a day of reckoning - the day that a fundamental change, both in Pakistan’s political field and in the ways the political game has been played so far in this country, has inevitably come. It will be a day of victory for the politics of change in the country.
Indeed, the day’s triumph will belong to Khan’s PTI’s movement for change. Hundreds and thousands of PTI political activists, supporters, workers, and common citizens from all over Pakistan will most certainly descend on Lahore to participate in this historical moment. Eighty thousand of PTI’s elected representatives will take oath to their party’s ideological manifesto. Its political manifesto will be presented to the general public, media and international news agencies.
Speeches will be made. Political goals will be set and the objectives of a movement of change will be reiterated. It will be a massive demonstration of the public’s democratic sentiments and aspirations. It will be an occasion of fun and delight with subtle, sound and serious declarations of an agenda of political change in this nation of deprived people, unstable institutions, collapsed economy, non-existent law and order, which is facing existential threats and at the edge of a political abyss - all caused by five years of “muk-muka” democracy.
But the massive gathering of people is not a political doctrine or a desired political goal in itself. It is the significance of such public participation that matters. If hundreds and thousands of Pakistanis from one end of the country to the other, come to the jalsa at Minar-i-Pakistan, and they certainly will gather in immense numbers unprecedented in Pakistan’s political history, it certainly will be a demonstration of public indictment against the traditional ruling elites, politics of status quo and the political system they have vowed to protect, sustain and promote. Already, several public opinion polls have vividly indicated that over 80 percent of Pakistanis desire a fundamental change in the political structure, the political culture and the political leadership of this country.
Ironically, at this critical juncture of Pakistan’s political history, the traditional political forces and their leadership are still committed to the reactionary farsooda, non-progressive, non-democratic ways of yesteryear. Take, for example, the PML-N’s present strategic approach to the forthcoming elections: traditional electables are being inducted into the party with enormous efforts all over Pakistan. Party alliances with all major status quo forces are being organised. Hence, it is vividly apparent that the PML-N leadership still believes that increased public consciousness is of no real political significance; they believe that the masses’ heightened political awareness cannot adversely affect the traditional political system and its highly empowered political organisation devoted to vested interests, political leadership and their associates. The PML-N and PPP leadership seem to be certain that no real change has occurred or can occur in political outlook in the foreseeable future of this country. Political business will continue as usual - they are confident of their victory and electoral success to political power.
Khan’s PTI has prepared their political pitch to play the game with meticulous understanding of the undercurrents affecting the country’s political landscape. PTI’s leadership fully appreciates public sentiment for change. In fact, Khan’s anti-status quo doctrine has helped people in perceptual awareness of political backwardness that has plagued the country for the last 65 years and most specifically the damage the present-day democracy has wreaked on the nation.
Khan’s political direction, organisation and ideological doctrine is accurately in sync with public sentiment and democratic norms, and is in step with the political undercurrents going through the entire society and its demands for a fundamental change in the present-day political system and culture of this country. The PTI’s political strategy for the forthcoming elections is sound and methodically planned. Khan has done his homework - he understands his opponent’s weaknesses, drawbacks and fears. He knows it is time to deliver a lethal outswinger. It is time to win a well-deserved victory.
March 23 is going to be the day when Imran Khan will strike his opponents on the political field at Minar-i-Pakistan with a deadly outswinger - shattering all three wickets with one ball.
It is quite simple: outdated, out-of-form, out-of-sync and strategically weak and fearful players are no match to the hellfire of a deadly outswinger. One way or the other, the March 23 public gathering at is going to be the end of the game for the PPP, PML-N, and all of the status quo forces in Pakistan.