What sustains Imran Khan?



May 15, 2022

What sustains Imran Khan

Fahad Ali looks at the enigmatic
sustenance of the former prime minister

Quite interestingly & What sustains Imran Khan made a political comeback addressing pretty large rallies across his electoral strongholds of Punjab and KP. His handlers apparently heaved a sigh of relief when they witnessed Imran Khan’s departure but now they are faced with a renewed challenge as he is directly accusing them of ousting him from power. Like a true Bohemian he is completely devoid of any sense of introspection and genuinely believes in the myth created about him of a messiah given the task of righting all wrongs. He is single-mindedly taking his crusade over to the other side of the fence with a view to bring him back to power after conceding that removing him was a mistake. In this context he has come out as a favourite prodigy who has turned against his benefactors and would do everything possible to make them regret what they have done to him.
The rebellious tirade of Imran Khan and its apparent success is due to multiple factors and the primary reality is his enormous charm that he has unleashed upon his dazed compatriots. It must be borne in mind that he had dazzled the western audiences with his shining celebrity though the west is famed for its intense emphasis on rationalism and hardly gives in to something that they conceive is a passing brilliance. As compared to his western fans, Pakistanis are far more gullible a crowd with very little resistance to be attracted to charisma of the kind Imran Khan possesses. His benefactors probably did not figure in this crucial factor as they had in the past disposed political figures with relative ease but they were mostly colourless and dour personalities who mostly dominated politics through constituency maneuvers and always capitulated against the rough tide of massively organised campaigns against them.
Adding to the woes of his benefactors is the fact that they had to declare him pristine in order to offer him as a credible alternative to the so-called corruption-ridden politicos opposing him. They went to great lengths to ensure that he was a detached individual not attracted to the trappings of power and committed to clean and transparent governance. Throughout his stay in power they portrayed him as entirely above board and went to the extent of getting him Sadiq and Amin through dubious judicial action positioning hi exceedingly high on the tattered political platform. Slowly it became important for them to keep him on such high pedestal and had to go to extraordinary lengths to paper over his incompetence, pettiness and intense arrogance. Their support granted him a cult following of Pakistan’s urban space comprising the middle classes, Pakistani Diasporas and the grossly neglected youth.
The blind following Imran Khan got repeatedly revealed itself to be devoid of any rational assessment of his performance and conduct and depicted an uncanny ability to twist any wrong action done on his part to his advantage. It must be conceded that he gathered an extremely competent propaganda team around him. The faultless performance of his media team clearly indicated that it was well-oiled making many observers to deduce that it bore an unmistakable stamp of his benefactors. He also realised the crucial role they were playing in shielding his persona and this realisation became very obvious when it was noted that he assigned more importance to his media managers on the expense of his cabinet that was a motley crowd assembled by his benefactors.
The significant difference of opinion between him and his benefactors emerged when he started making inroads into the ranks of his benefactors and after his ouster it became plain that he had apparently divided the military fraternity vertically with the result that while the senior officers remained committed to their strong chain of command but many in the senior ranks and a lot of them in the junior ranks showed their sympathy to his cause. This situation gradually worsened compelling the top army leadership to openly dissuade their constituency from unbridled support of the deposed prime minister. But the damage was done as was witnessed that a large number of people attending his rallies are families of former military personnel and his support base is extraordinarily strong in areas that are close to garrison towns.
Though Imran Khan is no more in power but the idea planted by his benefactor of managing the unruly democratic civilian segment is still relevant to the ranks of his benefactors. It still could be observed that they are consistently ignoring his misdeeds of governance that is tantamount to according tacit support to his cause. This very attitude has tremendously contributed to the staying power of Imran Khan who is exploiting this weak point to his full advantage. He has somehow succeeded his support base that he is still the favourite of the forces that matter in the land. His cult following also feels assured of this factor and does not hesitate to publicly acknowledge it. They are convinced that the arbitrary powers in the country would be benefitted by keeping Imran Khan as an open and aggressive challenge to democratic rule as they inherently distrust such rule.
It is quite obvious that Imran’s benefactors are in favour of keeping democratic dispensation on its toes and this factor supports his cause. The way in which a constitutional process of change in government was brought about speaks volumes about the hidden intentions of arbitrary forces. Many observers believe that it was only the exercise of nuclear option by Imran Khan of removing the COAS that made to swing to action and remove him otherwise they were unwilling to work against him. The latitude they showed to him since 2011 is now considered to be proverbial with no justification for it ever offered. Imran Khan is still treated lightly with the result that he has not hesitated to openly challenge his benefactors and this attitude has endeared him to his support base. It is more than clear that Imran Khan and his support base is very confident that they still retain the soft corner of his erstwhile benefactors and are sure that he will be kept safe from all negative consequences.
One of the crucial factors aiding Imran Khan is that he has proved to be more cunning than his benefactors expected him to be and this point is proved by the fact that throughout his stay at the helm he encouraged the myth without fail that he was hampered in his efforts to deliver good governance owing to the incompetent team he was given and that he was not allowed to take initiatives that would have changed the fortunes of the country. Moreover, bringing Imran Khan to fore his benefactors unleashed an unusual phenomenon with extraordinary stamina for public agitation. They never realised that he would successfully exploit the decades of frustrations experienced by the hapless Pakistanis particularly the steadily rebellious youth of the country. The burgeoning crowds attending his rallies have equally rattled his benefactors who are slowly picking up the dangerous omens. By the look of it Imran Khan appears to be a rather lengthening dark shadow of the horribly misplaced idea that was conceived and implemented by his benefactors. TW

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