Of Imran Khan, Double Standards & Trolls; An article By Shah Zalmay Khan



  • Imran Khan, perhaps, is the only leader in today’s Pakistan who, even though not in power, is discussed almost everywhere, in political, social and media circles. His followers regard him as an icon of change while his detractors find fault in everything he says or does or intends to do or is even perceived to have intended (refer TuQ dharna :D). The detractors, called IK-bashers by Khan’s followers, include political opponents, media and intelligentsia.

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    Keeping aside criticism by political opponents, most bashing (yes bashing) that Imran Khan receives from media and intellectuals (whatever that term means) has a very strong shade of double standard, to be polite (hypocrisy, to be harsh). How? Let me quote from TV anchor Moeed Pirzada’s Facebook status update on his page few days ago:

    “Do you sometimes feel that not only the politicians - who can be excused for being rivals- but even the key commentators in media keep on portraying Imran Khan and PTI very unfairly; as if there is one standard to judge intelligence, ability and wisdom of all Pakistani politicians and another 'higher' or 'western' standard to judge Imran Khan and PTI? for instance when Imran Khan is referred to as "inconsistent" or "flip-flop" then who in Pakistan is he being compared to? and so on on many similar issues....”.

    Moeed Pirzada says it all about the thinking pattern – involuntary or vested - of media and intellectuals when it comes to Imran Khan. It is for this reason that we find Imran Khan and PTI being scrutinized even for such minor issues as ‘mismanagement in PTI aftari’. Even though Imran Khan has never ruled the land of the pure (so has technically no responsibility or part in the mess Pakistan finds itself in today), he is the leader scrutinized (rather bashed) mostly over all issues; be it terrorism, economy, energy or foreign relations etc.

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    It is not uncommon for intellectuals to single out IK for bashing over some particular issue. For example, Mr Feisal Naqvi wrote “Shame on you, Mr Khan” just because he thought IK failed to condemn the attack on Malala Yousafzai, even though IK was the 1st political leader to visit Malala at CMH Peshawar a day after the incident. He condemned the terrorists and offered to bear all expenses of her treatment. Compared to IK no other mainstream political leader visited her, even then Mr Naqvi had only IK to bash and not Nawaz Sharif or Maulana Fazl or Zardari (all rulers). Different standards to gauge?

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    Take the example of Imran Khan’s stance on terrorism. Learned Zahrah Nasir called IK ‘Thoughtless Khan’ over his anti-WOT views while Mr Saleem Safi and Mr Saroop Ijaz vehemently objected to his Waziristan March, the latter calling it cowardly politics. None of the learned intellectuals however, question Nawaz Sharif or Zardari (the rulers responsible for controlling the mess) as to what is their plan, if any, to end the bloodshed? Different gauges?

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    Many intellectuals love to call IK Taliban Khan for having proposed to hold talks for resolving the militancy problem, in FATA as well as Balochistan. However, when the same demand has been copied & relayed by Nawaz Sharif now, the silence of intellectuals is deafening. No names like Taliban Sharif etc. Why? Different standards to gauge?

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    A related issue is the killings of innocent Shias in Quetta, GB and elsewhere. Imran Khan was the only political leader who went to express solidarity with Hazara Shia victims of Quetta twice (April 2012 and January 2013) and GB Shia victims (September 2012). He has unequivocally condemned LeJ for the killings and demanded action against them. Even then liberals and intellectuals bash Imran Khan for not doing ‘enough’ on this front (when he has nothing in hand actually). On the flip-side, PMLN has made electoral alliance with ASWJ (front of LeJ) but no intellectual or media anchor has seriously quizzed them over this fact. Why? Different gauges?

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    Coming to policies; take Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy’s example who believes Imran Khan can’t save Pakistan because he thinks PTI’s stance is sheer rhetoric and it has no concrete policy (incidentally Mr Hoodbhoy considers PMLN as the answer to Pakistan’s economic problems :D). While writing this, the learned professor conveniently ignores the fact that PTI is the only (safely only) party to have presented comprehensive policies on all burning issues facing Pakistan; from Energy to Rural Governance to Economy to Health to Youth Empowerment to Curbing Corruption. Again bashing IK without even questioning Nawaz or Zardari. Different gauges?

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    Take the example of PTI’s intra-party elections. Questions were raised by media and intellectuals about transparency of the membership campaign, errors in voter lists, delays in election schedule, grouping & lobbying in UC-level elections, rifts and infighting among workers. While pointing out flaws in PTI’s election process, detractors conveniently forget to acknowledge that it is the only party to take up such a huge task of multi-tier party elections down to UC level. (The election of lower middle class people is proof of transparency). The debate doesn’t take the focus that it should i.e. asking Nawaz Sharif and Zardari and others to follow suit and go for true party elections in their parties. Different standards to gauge?

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    Thats not all. Come to asset declaration: PTI's leadership declared their assets in August 2012 and the same were posted on the party's website for public access. This was a huge step towards a corruption-free and financially transparent party - a phenomoneon not known to Pakistan. However, since the initiative was taken by PTI, it was taken for granted and the media & intellectuals failed to do the needful i.e. press PMLN, PPP and others to do the same. This step alone would have exposed the faces of the corrupt ruling Pakistan. It has been 6 months since August and one has yet to see the media or intellectuals raise this issue properly. Why? Different yardsticks?

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    Another example may merit a mention. All hell broke loose when some electables from other parties joined PTI and everybody said Gen Pasha was behind it. However, when dozens of Q-leaguer electables joined PMLN, nobody said it was Gen Zaheer-ul-Islam pulling their strings. Different standards?

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    Similarly when TuQ (Dr Tahir Ul Qadri) landed on the political horizon in Dec 12, MQM sided with it and then flip-flopped a dozen times over joining or not joining TuQ’s 14-January dharna. PTI didn’t even join TuQ but the whole media scene was rife with conspiracy theories predicting that Imran Khan would join him & thus derail democracy. Nobody apologized when that didn’t happen and nobody has quizzed MQM since that day as to the reason of their flip-flops on Qadri? Why? Different standards?

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    And who has missed the latest. PTI leaders meeting TuQ was sensationalized with breaking headlines even though the same PTI leaders held similar meetings with leadership of all parties outside the parliament like JI and MWM. Intellectuals like Mr Kamran Shafi called it “nefarious plan of Imran Khan”. However, when Nawaz Sharif sat together the other day with Maulana Fazl (3 years PPP-ally), everybody praised his ‘political acumen’. Why is PTI meeting TuQ bad but PMLN meeting JUI perfectly cool? Different standards to gauge?

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    While some of this double-standard opinion-making may be condoned as error-of-judgement on part of the media or intellectuals, there are some instances where the opinions take the form of senseless rant, mainly due to the hate (yes hate) that some so-called intellectuals and media folks have for Imran Khan (call it Lifaafa or whatever). The latest gems in this series came from Mr Kamran Shafi, the intellectual with some personal vendetta, may be. Imran Khan expressed his views about Asma Jehangir's candidature for caretaker PM politely and so did Asma Jehangir but what justifies these disgusting remarks by a supposedly learned intellectual like Mr Shafi (calling IK an 'idiot', 'fool' and 'idiot of the highest order')?

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    When some random PTI supporter on Twitter or Facebook confronts such media folks and intellectuals (some spell the word as Intellect-Chawal) over this double standard, they are outrightly dubbed ‘abusers’ or ‘trolls’. No Sires, they are not trolls. May be their choice of words for complaint needs refinement but their substance is well-founded; the bias & double-standard is all too obvious.

    In the end, I would like to quote Abraham Lincoln:

    “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time”.

    This is history's lesson my dear intellectuals & media & IK’s political opponents.

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    The writer is a tribesman from Bajaur Agency (FATA)



  • ‎عمران خان ایک واحد پاکستانی سیاست دان ہے جس نے جو کام شروع کیا ہے اس کو کامیانی کے ساتھ اختتام تک پہنچایا ہے ۔

    ‎اس شخص نے ملک کی غریب عوام کو کبھی مایوس نہیں کیا ۔ کرکٹ کے میدان میں قدم رکھا تو ملک اور قوم کو ورلڈ کپ دیا ۔ سوکت خانم ہسپتال کا بیڑا اٹھایا تو اس کو مکمل کیا اور ملک کو پہلا کینسر کے علاج کے لیے ایک ایسا ہسپتال دیا جہاں کینسر جیسے موضی مرض میں مبتلا غریب عوام کے مفت علاج ہوتا ہے ۔ دنیا کے تمام مرضوں میں مہنگا ترین علاج کینسر کے مرض کا علاج ہے ۔ تعلیم کے میدان میں قدم رکھا تو غریب طلبعلموں کو دنیا کی بہترین تعلیم حاصل کرنے کے لیے نمل یونیورسٹی دی ۔

    ‎اور سیاست میں انے کے بعد ایک ایسا ملک دینے کا وعدہ کیا ۔ جہاں غریب اور امیر کو برابر کا انصاف مہیہ کیا جائے گا ۔ جہاں امیروں سے ٹیکس لے کر غریبوں کے مسائل حل کیے جائیں گیں ۔ جہاں پٹواری راج نہیں ہو گا ۔ جہاں ملک کے وسائل صیح جگہ استعمال ہونگیں ۔ جہاں نوکریاں میرٹ پر ملیں گی ۔ جہاں رشوت اور سفارش کی لعنت سے ملک اور قوم کو چٹھکارا ملے گا ۔

    ‎ جیسے اور کاموں میں اللہ نے اسے سرخ رو کیا انشاللہ اس مقصد میں بھی اللہ اس کو کامیاب کرے گا ۔



  • We need more media persons like Mubasshar Luqman. Even if we have to pay money to anchors to be like Mubasshar Luqman, I would say this is a small price to get free and unbiased media.