Schoolboy Politics


Hina Butt

He didn’t get to play with the toys that he wanted, so he’ll just throw a fit and make sure that nobody else gets to play either

As time goes by, the self-styled messiah of the people only exposes himself. And this recent drama about another possible extension for the army chief is just one more example. It’s clear that he thought all this time – since he was legally and constitutionally thrown out of government, of course – that he would somehow be able to force another election and realise his delusion of a two-thirds majority. He also very clearly wanted it before November so he could somehow be the one to appoint the next chief.
It would be a good idea at this point to remember that interview where he said that he wanted to retain the former intelligence chief because he was his “eyes and ears” as the opposition of the time was working on the no-confidence motion. But soon enough, it dawned on him and his backers that all his lies, false accusations, intimidatory language, and attempt to ridicule state institutions would not give him what he so desperately wanted; and the election would be held on its scheduled time. And that is when he decided or was advised, to play the latest and yet more controversial card about the army chief’s retirement.
That he wants to shake the whole system and interfere with the military’s chain of command only goes to show how desperate he is to still have his man on the top. But wasn’t this the exact accusation that he made against the incumbent government, that PML-N and its allies want to appoint somebody of their choosing? And he didn’t care at all that his sermons would hurt the integrity of the armed forces that hold the country together in its worst and most fragile times.
All this just exposes Imran Khan’s personal, juvenile brand of schoolboy politics. He didn’t get to play with the toys that he wanted, so he’ll just throw a fit and make sure that nobody else gets to play either. This is a very basic psychological phenomenon that is often traced, even in adults, to childhood years when they got used to getting what they wanted to the point that it just spoiled them.
The problem this time is that he’s not finding enough favour to be “selected” another time; like he was last time. And now that his feeble attempts to make the army and judiciary controversial have also not worked, he’s going back to the old threat of marching on to the capital one more time. He’s threatened and tried this before, so many times, and it has never worked. In 2014, he went so far as to encourage his supporters to “burn your utility bills, don’t pay a penny to this government” even though he was hypocritically getting his friends to pay his bills, and it still didn’t work.
And, more recently, he went so far as to try and get his provincial governments to sabotage the crucial IMF program, proving once again that he has no qualms about throwing the entire state of Pakistan into disarray, hurting the interests of the people, and even bring default that much closer, just because he’s not the centre of attraction.
Slowly, even his blind followers are beginning to see this trend. It’s for a reason, they say that you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. This country has already been set back politically as well as financially because of a failed experiment to launch a new government with a new face and then try to give it democratic legitimacy. And despite all the controversy, it was the democratic process that rid the system of this regressive experiment, and it is the democratic process that is bringing the government back to the people of Pakistan.
Imran Khan is, in reality, swimming against the tide and the only thing that can keep him in the headlines from here is the kind of controversial remarks that he’s got too used to making against institutions and political parties that hold this country together.

The writer is a LUMS graduate and currently serves as PMLN MPA. She is a close aide of Maryam Nawaz and tweets at @hinaparvezbutt