PTI’s choices


Missing the point

Once more Imran Khan has threatened unleashing PTI’s street power, despite the Judicial Commission disappointment. This time the election commission is the guilty party; and the longer it takes replying to PTI’s 40 questions, the angrier Imran gets. Just a few days ago another party leader threatened another dharna because of some of the government’s dubious policies regarding the local government elections. It is not that these concerns are not valid. The Commission stripped ECP of any little credibility it had left. And not allowing minorities to directly contest local body polls sets an undesirable precedent for so-called defenders of democracy.

It is, rather, PTI’s knee-jerk resort to confrontation and agitation that is becoming cause for concern. It seems few lessons, if any, have been learnt from the long dharna that, ultimately, yielded precious little. Even now, when the party has a fresh chance at contributing to constructive parliamentary politics, it chooses to antagonise. It did not make its own way back to the Assembly any easier, especially with Imran threatening to lead a robust by-election campaign himself if MQM and JUI-F did not relent.

Surely the party’s many internal problems are not lost on its chairman. Still he risks splitting opinion further by inviting devotees out on the streets again. Not all of them have the stomach for another protest march – not the least because Imran was not entirely honest about some of his claims from the container days. How would that help at a time of visible internal disintegration? It would be far better if PTI gave more attention to putting its own house in order. And it would not hurt if it exhibits a degree of political maturity now that it is back in the House. Little else can help its chances as Punjab’s local government elections draw near. And soon enough the party will have to pitch for another general election. If all it has to boast is threats, it might find its vote bank somewhat affected.