Was it a dream or a whisper?


The IK phenomenon and the elusive 10 billion


The alleged offer of Rs 10 billion to Imran Khan by the Sharif family is a hotly debated subject at the moment. While it is extremely hard to readily reject or accept its authenticity in the absence of any credible evidence which neither the accuser nor any other sources has brought up, reliance on credibility-criteria remains the only option to draw inferences. More than what has been said it is important to see who has said it. This is where the credibility and past record of a person really matters.

Nobody can deny the fact that Imran Khan is a leader in his own right and has a considerable following in the country as is evident from the number of votes his party obtained in 2013 general elections. But the way he has gone about his politics since then is hardly enviable. He has eroded his credibility through his own indiscretions committed without seriously considering their repercussion for his political future and political stability in the country, which should be the aim of every politician. The story begins with his allegations of massive rigging which he claimed was orchestrated through collusion among ECP, ROs, former CJ, Intelligence outfits, former COAS, PML-N and a prominent media house. The pivot of his entire campaign were the ‘35 punctures’ allegedly the handiwork of the interim set up in Punjab headed by Najam Sethi.

Khan vigorously tried to rub in this notion from every convenient roof-top and kept the entire nation on the tenterhooks for a long time until the Judicial Commission formed on his insistence rubbished the claims of a systematic rigging and legitimised the mandate given to the PML-N by the masses. When after the verdict he was asked by a TV channel in an interview about his claim of those punctures, he casually answered, it was a political talk. He said that somebody had told him about it. The casualness with which he said was unbelievable. A politician of his stature building a campaign against a mandated government merely on the basis of hearsay or a whisper was certainly mind-boggling. How could he do it without verifying the facts? That behaviour reminds me of an anecdote which goes like this: A friend whispered in the ear of the other that a dog had torn apart his ear and run away with it. He asked his friend in which direction the dog had gone and started running after the dog. He kept running till he was exhausted. He could not find the dog and sat down to catch his breath. A passerby asked him why he was so exhausted. He said that he was trying to find the dog who had taken his ear. The passerby looked at him and told him that both his ears were intact. The man touched his ears and felt extremely embarrassed over his foolishness. But Khan did not even feel any embarrassment and rather chose to criticise the commission by saying that it had not done its job properly.

That episode severely dented his credibility. His later escapades also met similar fate. But the man has not been able to get rid of his impulsive propensity to denigrate and malign the state institutions and his political opponents. His continued confrontation with ECP and the remarks given about him by the commission are a ranting testimony to what he stands for. Instead of a revolutionary that he claimed to be he has turned out to be more of a power-grabber by all means. One has yet to see a revolution set rolling by a leader flanked by carpet-baggers like Tareen, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Aleem Khan and the likes of a political jester Sheikh Rasheed, who all have lot of skeletons in their cupboards.

I, my family and my friends repent having voted for his candidate in the 2013 elections, thinking that the country ultimately had found a man who would usher in an era of people-friendly governance by removing the maladies afflicting the system. I heard his brother in-law in the Geo TV programme ‘Report Card’ with reference to his allegations of Rs 10 billion offered to him, saying “ I know him very well he is capable of saying anything anytime”. Many media commentators and intellectuals also have a similar view about his political antics.

As the things stand nobody on the basis of his track record really believes in what he has said of late regarding the price offered to him for keeping mum on Panama Leaks. Nobody else but he himself has created doubts about the credibility of the claim by his shifty behaviour on the issue. His winding down on his flabbergasting allegations has not been impressive to say the least. From Nawaz Sharif to Shahbaz Sharif to Hamza Shahbaz to a common friend to the friend of a common friend, has made the whole thing doubtful. One wonders was it a dream or a whisper like the 35 punctures?

Unfortunately he did not stop at that and in his interviews with a number of TV channels he conjectured that the Sharif might have even tried to bribe he judges of the SC. In his obsession to paint the Sharif in dismal colours he even does not hesitate to make scandalous remarks about the sanctimonious institution like judiciary and dragging it into political controversies.

Imran is not only trying to make the decision of the SC bench in the Panama case controversial by projecting the dissenting notes as the actual decision of the bench but also using it as pawn to advance his political campaign against the Sharif family. Amazingly even the legal minds in his party do not seem to have told him that the verdict of the majority in such cases was taken as the verdict of the entire bench and the dissenting notes had no legal value. In view of his continued indiscretions on the issue, even the CJ had perforce to tell Imran that nowhere in the world so much noise was created over the dissenting notes as was being done in Pakistan. That observation by the CJ represented a mild snub to what Imran was doing. Actually the Panama case is still sub judice and the parties to the case must not try to run a campaign on an interim order, which legally speaking constitutes contempt of court. Khan surely needs serious introspection of his brand of politics if he wants to remain relevant to the future political landscape of the country.