In his political career, Imran Khan has projected himself as a brave leader. Just a few days back, he paid tribute to Tipu Sultan, an 18th-century ruler of Mysore for preferring to die fighting rather than living a life of slavery.
Many a time, Imran Khan has drawn inspiration from Tipu Sultan referring to his courage and bravery.
But is the incumbent Prime Minister of Pakistan really brave?
Let’s look at it from two angles.
Dealing with Religious bigotry
Not once, but twice Imran Khan kneeled down to fanatics. In PTI’s 2014 dharna, Imran Khan said that if he comes into power, his finance minister would be Atif Mian, one of the world’s top economists. Mr. Mian is an Ahmadi by faith. According to Pakistan’s constitution, Ahmadis are declared Non-Muslims (Even though the Ahmadis call themselves Muslims).
So after Imran Khan’s announcement, Mullahs and their supporters went crazy. Their demand was for Khan to take back his statement and clarify his views regarding Ahmadis (Whether he thinks they are Muslims or not).
To appease the Mullahs, Khan gave in, just like the country’s leaders in the past have done so.
Come 2018, Imran Khan the Prime Minister, made Atif Mian an economic advisor in the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) among other economists.
And as usual, there was a massive uproar in the country; the public, by and large, criticized this decision and called for the removal of Mr. Mian. However, the tiny liberal community applauded and praised Imran Khan.
After all, it was a brave and bold move. Before the 2018 elections, Khan promised meritocracy if his party came into power, and this decision was a step towards that promise.
But just when the liberal and progressive community of Pakistan were celebrating, Prime Minister Khan again surrendered to avoid any agitation from the religious parties.
Now I know that it takes courage to go against popular opinion, especially when the matter wrongfully becomes a religious issue in a dangerous country like Pakistan.
But when your hero is ‘Tipu Sultan’ and when you portray yourself as a brave and courageous man to the nation, then you shouldn’t become a sheep.
Becoming a Puppet of the establishment
There has been a 180-degree change between the Imran Khan of the past and the Imran Khan of the present. When he was just a leader of a struggling political party, he used to make many truthful statements. In one such interview, he said: “My aim is not to become a Prime Minister. My aim is to bring a revolution. A revolution only comes with the public’s power. Whoever comes into power due to someone’s backing, he is compromised”.
Here is the clip.
There are many other clips as well where Imran Khan has criticized the army for their political interference. There is one video, where he said: “Time has come that the role of security agencies should stop. The agencies have one role: To bring a puppet in power so that he can be controlled. They (agencies) want controlled politicians, controlled judges, and controlled bureaucrats”.
“The army manipulates the whole elections to bring controlled puppets in power. So how can the country run like this?” he further said.
Here is the video.
I agree with all the above khan has said.
But didn’t he do the exact opposite of what he was preaching?
He himself compromised on his principles to become a puppet of the establishment. Imran Khan realized that it is almost impossible to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan without the support of the military. Plus, he couldn’t wait much longer.
Hence, like others, he also became a puppet Prime Minister.
And if the PTI supporters argue that he is not a ‘puppet’ then he must audit the army’s budget as he himself claimed that he will do it when his party comes in power.
مہاتما کیا فرمایا کرتے تھے؟ pic.twitter.com/rUxQnyNxEM
— Murtaza Solangi (@murtazasolangi) May 1, 2019
It seems highly unlikely that Mr. Khan will not continue to make more compromises while running the affairs of the country. Maybe, he needs to read this quote by Tipu Sultan: “It is far better to live like a lion for a day than to live like a jackal for hundred years”.