Open letter to Imran Khan

Dear Sir,

I write to you not as a PTI worker, nor as a worker of any other political party. I write to you as a Pakistani, stuck somewhere between ‘naya’ and ‘purana’ Pakistan.

‘Gulluism’ – apparently – is not party specific. It is a widespread illness that thrives in people, beyond political party and ethnic divides. It wasn’t Nawaz Sharif or Shehbaz Sharif who vandalized vehicles in Model Town, it was a party fanatic who chose the violent medium to express his support for a political party. Hence, it does not matter if you do not condone hooliganism, when a number of your party fanatics are ‘gulluing’ up the streets of Lahore, snatching vehicle keys and forcing people out of their cars while abusing them.

While PMLN workers ‘gullud up’ with state power on their side, PTI workers gullu up with the perception of mass support on theirs. The notion of “change” becomes dimmer with every passing day.

In orchestrating new and improved ways of registering protest and pressurizing the not so pressurized government, you seem to ignore the fact that all of your supporters in fact belong to ‘purana pakistan’. They have been educated by the same flawed education system that you want to change, brought up in the same unjust and corrupt environment that you aim to eliminate. Asking them to behave like the youth of ‘naya pakistan’ is an unreal demand, one that cannot possibly be met while they still live in ‘purana pakistan’. You may scream your lungs dry against hooliganism, your followers are as Pakistani as the followers of PMLN or PPP.

Khan Sahab! I keep reminding myself of your promises of change, to bring in the new generation as your team and not following precedents of conventional politics, while you sink deeper and deeper in the quagmire of compromise.

If you want to create a new Pakistan, you cannot apply age old methods of violent protests, sit ins and abusive hurls. Change should not only be brought but seen to be brought. A civilized leader heading a civilized political party that aims at creating a civilized, prosperous Pakistan, needs to be civil in his methods.

I am not a PTI worker, nor am I an advisor. But I am a Pakistani hoping for a positive change. In my capacity as a Pakistani, I would like to suggest ways of protest that could be less harmful to Pakistan and Pakistanis. Ways that would not allow the gullus living inside your followers to come out and follow suit of Gullu Butts. Methods that do not tend to place power in the hands of us ordinary ‘puranay pakistanis’.

Your claim – corroborated by your massive gatherings – of mass public support is well recognized nationally and internationally. When you expand your protest to a larger population you expose your cause to the risk of jeopardy owing to misadventures of party workers, or – at the least – successful conspiracies by other forces against your cause. The government and people of Pakistan know and admit that a large portion of Pakistanis support your call for change. The current methods are only decreasing the number of educated, civilized fans of PTI.

I believe it would be more effective and less detrimental to Pakistan, if you along with elected members and senior leaders from your party stage a hunger strike in front of the Supreme Court, Election Commission or the Parliament till the demand for a judicial commission is met. I believe such a move would actually put pressure on the government and the state to adhere to a perfectly legal and legitimate demand of forming a commission. I also believe that if you will sit among them, many will join you in the strike. And in cases of a hunger strike, less than a hundred are more powerful – in terms of creating pressure – than a million marching on the streets for a day.

I do not doubt your devotion for your cause or your sincerity for Pakistan. Surely you can sacrifice a few days meal and a few kilos for the greater good of your people.

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4 thoughts on “Open letter to Imran Khan

  1. Well written. “…sink deeper and deeper in the quagmire of compromise”.

    Collective action, by nature, refers to social processes and events which do not reflect existing social structures (defined conventions and such), and emerge spontaneously. IK’s mobilization of people for the “new” Pakistan is, in its very conceptualization, limited with short-term goals. With no clear boundaries, as collective behavior weakens conventions, societal structures are threatened and deviance becomes the norm. This eventually leads to an at-large societal imbalance…which is far more destructive to society as a whole (targeting its morality, identity, etc).

    According to the Emergent Norm theory (of collective behavior), although symbolic interactionist underpinnings bring crowds together with specific expectations and norms; it is through the interactions and the development of the crowd (in spontaneous moments) that construct new expectations allowing for behavior that normally would not take place – such as violence, destruction, and loss of the sense of control (in regards to behavior) and creating further sense of anarchy in society.

    In this situation, mobilizing collective action perhaps may not be the solution to fix the problem; but rather serves as a conduit towards eroding societal balance (above and beyond just political corruption).

    Does IK have a “fallout” plan in place for when that does happen? The “fallout”, no doubt, will further marginalize the already fragile state .. not only in political and economic avenues, but also in social constructs.

    The problems must be resolved…but perhaps, this route isn’t the best course of action – as sociology and history dictates.

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