STRAIGHT TALK by Hafeez Khan
It was a warm sunny day. Excitement and anticipation was in the air on this 25th day of April 1996. Chairman Imran Khan was to launch Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf at an event in a local hotel in Lahore. There was huge presence of local and foreign media. A cricket icon turned philanthropist was donning the robes of a political leader. It was intriguing; an inexperienced outsider was taking on entrenched and deeply rooted political mafias. Charged Imran fans were raising full throated slogans. Many reformers like me were present, witnessing the dawn of a new phenomenon in Pakistani politics.
Months of efforts had gone into preparing for this day. The team had worked around the clock in putting all the pieces together. The preparation of PTI manifesto was spear headed by my friend Hassan Nisar. “Qiadat main awam, insaf sare aam” was the founding slogan which translates “people in power and justice for all.” 26 years later the struggle continues as witnessed in the Lahore jalsa. The difference being that on that occasion there were a few hundred attendees. Yesterday it was millions. Bringing change to a society devastated by corruption, greed, without justice or merit is a slow process. It can only be achieved by someone with IK’s focus, commitment and stamina.
For PTI’s formation I want to recognize Mehmood Awan’s relentless efforts to raise funds for the empty coffers of the Party. The core group comprised of Dr. Pervaiz Hassan, my late friend Ahsan Rashid, Nazim Haji, Dr Arif Alvi, Najeeb Haroon, Hamid Khan, and Dr. Farooq from Mardan, among others. It was an honor to be part of this enlightened ideological group. I would be remiss if I don’t recognize the efforts of Umar Farooq (Goldie to friends), Imran Chaudhry of Dubai and Hafeez Ullah Niazi. Without their dedication and support this “Tahreeki qafila” would not have moved ahead.
Moving to the present, the million dollar question is can Imran Khan rescue Quaid’s dream going sour in Pakistan? People’s response is a resounding yes. I have been revolted by the manipulated eviction of PM IK from Prime Minister’s office. Cowards stay quiet; self respecting Pakistanis will not accept it. The nation will meet the challenge head on. Those who occupy the corridors of power and those who share it beware; the unstoppable tsunami of popular sentiment will overtake your nasty machinations.
Those of us who know IK are aware that he is fearless; he only fears Allah. It is a great place to be. Having been around the block a few times I want to share an acquired wisdom especially with our youth. Do the thing that scares you the most. All the best things in life are on the other side of that fear. You can do it by believing and practicing “La He Laha, Ill Lal La”. When you overcome fear nothing can stop you.
Imported government’s roots clearly reach out far and beyond but it was implemented through local thugs. An American commentator summarized it most appropriately. “This intervention won the parliamentarians but lost the people”. Watching Lahore’s charged crowd confirmed it. I was not around to see 1947; however in my 50 years of political activism I have never seen our countrymen so galvanized. It augurs well for our future. The lines drawn have never been so clear. On one side are the small yet powerful corrupt elite and on the other is the overwhelming verdict of the people unwilling to accept this blatant fraud.
Throughout history, palace intrigues have played a role in determining the power structures. Plenty are afoot now. Elimination of PTI from the political arena through an election commission ruling is one of them. I have a message for the bosses. Use the same yardstick for all three parties simultaneously. Anything else will not be accepted. If you incur the wrath of the people by being unfair, you better book your seat to London now. That is the preferred safe haven for rogues.
“Tosha Khana” is this imported Government’s next whipping boy. We demand that the last 30 years of purchases by the leaders be disclosed. Clear facts will emerge. IK gave a valid explanation in Lahore. Legally he is in the clear, but as a friend and well wisher I wish it had not happened. He probably did not even know about it. It is clearly the time for “manji thaley dang phero”. Trust is earned not bestowed; lightweights take advantage.
Dawn leaks culprit Tariq Fatimi has been fired. While imported PM SS credits PPP’s objection, we all know where the pressure came from. IK made a bold move to praise the Army for their role in keeping Pakistan strong. It reminded me of a friend’s mother’s advice “ jhatak kar torna nahin; latak kar jurna nahin” which translates “don’t have an angry breakup and don’t hang on without respect”.
The Imported Government is being run from London. PM SS is running around like the monkey who got elected as king of the jungle. When a deer appealed to him to save its offspring from the wolf; the monkey jumped branch to branch unable to do anything. Deer in deep mourning asked why he failed. Monkey’s reply said it all “forget the result; appreciate how quickly I acted”.
When we cut the crap, two questions linger. When will the Supreme Court constitute a commission to investigate foreign intervention? What will be the next election date?