Comparisons are Awkward. So, is the Truth


Hafeez Khan

In a recent meeting with Chairman Imran Khan, I saw him limp in pain walking at a slow pace. It brought back memories of IK climbing stairs with a leap, taking two steps at a time while we mortals struggled to keep up. It brought a lump in my throat. This cruel assassination attempt that he survived so miraculously, could have been the end of the road for many dreamers like us who seek an overhaul of the system.
Sharing his own experience and facts gleaned by Punjab’s JIT, it is evident that it was an extremely well-coordinated attack with three shooters positioned strategically. One shooter was caught. He sang like a parrot; professing to be a religious zealot offended by IK. The other two fled, leaving shell casings as evidence determining their positions. It was the hand of Providence that guided the young PTI diehard to deflect the aim of the culprit firing an automatic pistol that hit IK’s legs and not his torso. As IK fell, the other assassins’ bullets flew over him. It was not his time.
The relentless bloodthirsty criminals in power are gearing up for their next move. This time through a terrorist attack or a suicide bomber. It reminded me of the multiple attacks on President DeGaulle of France, or the murder of Liaqat Ali Khan, and Benazir Bhutto. Apparently, the same lot that executed BB has been activated. It was heartwarming to pass the multiple camps of PTI volunteers along the canal bank ready to lay down their lives while guarding their leader.
I was happy to see IK in high spirits basking in the sun in a corner of his lawn as we huddled in a small group with Hassan Nisar, Farukh Habib, Rana Javed Umar and Afzal Ghauri. It took me back a quarter century when IK, Hassan and I sat on the same lawn discussing the launch of PTI. It was amazing to see the enormous distance PTI has come through IK’s determination to stand up to insurmountable odds to clean the cesspool. It also brought home the criminal extent his detractors are willing to go to remove IK from the political scene.
I have come across segments of people in power, or those who have access to information, confidently asserting multiple times during the last ten months that IK is finished and will never be permitted to come to power again. The million-dollar question is by whom and why? It is definitely not the people of Pakistan who have given their verdict multiple times by voting for PTI and coming out in droves to show solidarity in every public gathering.
Is it the components of PDM desperate for their political survival? Their leading light, PML (N)’s footprint has shrunk in Punjab. Comparisons are a powerful tool to differentiate; especially when it is visual or pictorial. The recent return of Maryam was touted to match the return of Benazir in 1985. Then Lahore’s population was half of what it is today. Yet witnesses recall that Mall Road was filled with chocker blocks from the airport to Data Darbar without an inch to spare. Sharifs have more servants in Jati Umra than the people who came out to receive Maryam. PPP is pretty much confined to interior Sind and Maulana Fazal is struggling for his political existence.
PDM has pitifully failed on the political front thus petrified to face the electorate. Hence all their machinations are focused on putting off elections. Their top leaders are conjuring evil plots to eliminate IK. It is not possible without the backing up of the Election Commission, partisan bureaucrats, subservient elements of the judiciary and above all the Establishment.
It has now become abundantly clear that General Bajwa led the pack in this effort. His role has caused a schism between the people of Pakistan and their once-beloved Armed Forces. One was hoping the change of top leadership will end this slide. Episodes like Azam Swati and Shahbaz Gill will end. It isn’t happening; as we have seen with Fawad Chaudhry, Sheikh Rashid and Imran Riaz Khan.
New leadership has a honeymoon period. The breathing space is being frittered away. No changes have been made to replace the perpetrators of the brutality of 25th May. CM Naqvi is totally partisan; as an appointee of Zardari, he wasted no time in scuttling the JIT looking into IK’s assassination. He is appointing officers antagonistic to PTI in all key positions. The stage is being set to steal Punjab’s elections. Punjab and KP Governors have failed to fulfil their constitutional duties of announcing the election dates within the stipulated 90 days.
With the economy in total tailspin causing back-breaking inflation, the stage is being set for a total national meltdown. Roadblocks are being put up that will derail democracy. We have three ways forward. A democratic path so Pakistanis can express their will; a societal breakdown triggered by unlivable hyperinflation or a veiled/blatant martial law.
The clash between the beneficiaries of these gut-eating, power-hungry elite and the popular will of the masses is becoming inevitable. Patience has worn paper-thin. Threats of terrorism loom large. History will never forget those who do no take their blinkers off and make the right choice for Pakistan.