Clever naïveté - Nadeem F. Paracha on Imran Khan

  • Finally, NFP sees the light :D


    Smokers’ Corner: Clever naïveté

    From the Newspaper | Nadeem F. Paracha**

    One of the most common comments one still hears from the cricketers who played in Imran Khan’s captaincy during the 1992 cricket World Cup is that despite the fact that more than half way through the tournament, the Pakistan team looked beat and was on its way out of any practical contention, Khan insisted that they would win the cup.

    In a stunning display of positive reversal, the team did rise from the bottom of the pile and go on to win the cup. Many attributed Khan’s optimism as a mixture of unwavering self-belief and a dose of naivety. Something he seems to have carried over into his political career as well.

    But I believe the naivety aspect that many have pin-pointed in Khan’s thinking is largely self-imposed.

    It seems, he does this to keep in check his cynical side because he thinks leaders who lead during desperate times cannot afford to pace their manoeuvres according to events that can make people find refuge in cynicism.

    Where on-ground realities suggest that Khan is more likely to recommend something else, thus facing labels of being naïve and out-of-it.

    But is he really that naïve? Well, apart from embracing naïveté as a deterrent to cynicism, he would rather see this as a well thought-out tactic.

    Let’s get back to cricket for an example. In 1982 when he replaced Javed Miandad as captain, he picked Abdul Qadir in the squad that was to travel to England for a Test series.

    Qadir, a leg-break bowler, had been discarded by the selectors after he failed to impress in the Tests that he was played in between 1977 and 1980.

    And also, by 1982 leg-break bowling was already on its way out in the international Test arena.

    Khan bumped into Qadir at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore where the Pakistan team was practicing. Qadir was there on his own, bowling in a T-shirt and a shalwar!

    Khan made up his mind that the English batsmen who hadn’t played quality leg-break bowling for years would struggle against Qadir.

    The selectors thought Imran was being, yes, naïve. They refused to pick Qadir. Khan insisted and finally managed to bring Qadir into the fold.

    Khan’s ‘naivety’ was vindicated when Qadir bamboozled the English batsmen.

    The point being that it wasn’t naivety, as such, but a gut feeling turned into a theory (the English would struggle against leg-spin).

    The naivety bit was simply Khan’s way of banking on his gut and theory without letting cynical stats derail his belief.

    Another reason to believe that it was largely Khan’s mind at work here was when he not only told the British press that Qadir was a ‘wizard with the ball’, but went on to ask Qadir to keep a striking goatee to look the part!

    So it was a gut feeling, turned into a theory and then implemented with a dose of mind play, fanfare and posturing.

    Khan had disarmed the opposition players with his self-imposed (and cleverly self-manipulated) naivety of inducting a discarded cricketer, leaving them unprepared for a jumpy, volatile leg-break bowler with a telling wizard’s goatee coming at them in ways that they (now believed) they were not used to tackling. They’d been successfully psyched.

    Over and over again Khan, as captain, would use this combination of outrageous ploys.

    In the late 1980s, during an ODI tournament in Australia, he made even his own teammates raise their eyebrows when he told the Australian press that — the otherwise mediocre all-rounder, Mansoor Illahi — ‘was the hardest hitting batsmen in the world’!

    Of course, Khan knew he wasn’t. But the ploy worked when opposing teams went into a defensive mode every time Illahi came into bat, giving Pakistani batsmen enough space to gather runs in twos and singles.

    The same year the Indian team and press thought Khan was being naïve when during a tournament in Sharjah, he went on record suggesting that the Kashmir issue between Pakistan and India should be settled on the cricket pitch! Pakistan won that tournament.

    It seems that apart from the fact that Khan has found a still largely enigmatic middle-ground between faith and fun, he has held on to his old cricketing combination of ploys even in politics.

    Gut feeling turned into a theory, then kept away from the cynicism of cold facts and imposed with great fanfare and pomp to great effect.

    After all, it was a Qadir that he pulled in Lahore two years ago and shook the PML-N out of its compliancy in the Punjab.

    The Sharif brothers and their merry men laughed when Khan confidently announced that he was about to host the largest political rally ever in Lahore.

    He actually did pull it off. Yes, there is little doubt that this was done with more than a little help from former ISI chief, Shuja Pasha, but between then and now, Khan seems to have broken away from the establishment’s orbit.

    He wasn’t the first. Z.A. Bhutto was part of the Ayub Khan dictatorship when he pulled out to form his own party. Not only did he break away from the orbit, the orbit eventually sucked him back in the most unfortunate manner by killing him!

    PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif was the establishment’s blue-eyed boy for over a decade before he too broke away and became his own man.

    MQM was alleged to be a party formed on the behest of Ziaul Haq’s intelligence agencies, but by 1988 it had quickly spun away from the influence of its supposed moulders.

    And here we are today, with a ‘naïve’ Imran Khan, now threatening to topple the applecart mounted with all types of apples placed there by the country’s two largest parties, the PML-N and PPP.

    Experts still suggest that Khan’s PTI would play the role of nothing more than a spoiler in the upcoming general election.

    But once again Khan is banking on his beloved combination.

    Recently after disarming his opponents with ‘naïve talk’ about sweeping the election and doing away with economic issues and the law and order problem within 90, 120 or how many ridiculously few days, he stole the limelight by denouncing sectarian attacks by banned Sunni outfits and mob attacks on Christians in the Punjab.

    The timing was perfect. Whereas the PPP-led coalition regime is being massacred for completely failing to address sectarianism and extremism in Pakistan, PML-N’s government in the Punjab has come into focus for cutting deals with banned extremist organisations.

    Suddenly it is the naïve ‘Mr. Taliban Khan’ who has become the hope of not only a majority of young new voters-to-be, but perhaps also a large number of Shia Pakistanis and the Christian community in the Punjab.

    Yes, ‘naivety’ remains Khan’s cleverest ploy. And what is now more disconcerting for his opponents is that this ploy actually works, and maybe it is them being naïve about being so ‘realistic’?

  • The first article on Imran Khan from NFP where PTI is not abusing him.

  • On political front Imran's biggest accomplishment is intra-party elections. In developed world it's a norm but in developing world centuries old parties like Indian National Congress and Muslim League haven't done that. With PTI accomplishing this in relatively no time major parties in 3rd world will be forced to follow the suite that is the essence of democracy in first world.

  • I think it was Nadeem F. Pracha who first stormed in the media world by highlighting "Benami Deal" that was processed with on the shoulders of Jemima Khan. In talk shows when he was confronted with by PTI spokeperson, Nadeem's stand was beautiful "If you cannot take care of an ordinary "Gift Deed" prepared by your own experts, how can you securedly lead a nation in International arena where any such mistake would be fatal for the nation? If you can't protect your own rights in a one page drafted deed how can you protect the nation's rights from foreign evil maneuvres?".

    Other politicians have rupees, Imran Khan has dollars, so he is a better bargainer in the commercial media world. Now that election campaign is getting hotter and hotter, the sale would be bigger and bigger - many media persons would change their colours and outfits.

  • @imtiazahmed Sb

    Are you suggesting NFP is bought by PTI?


  • Other politicians have rupees, Imran Khan has dollars, so he is a better bargainer in the commercial media world.

    Sir ji,

    Your age and may long working hours are taking a toll on your mental health, I suggest a long term sabbatical to a far flung tropical island.

  • @QN Saab

    For that Imtiaz bahi 'd need some $$$. Could you please ask Imran Khan to facilitate? He can't win just by buying Najam Sethis and NFPs ....


  • ‎او شاہی خاندان کے پچاریوں اب ہمت کر ہی لو اور تم بھی اپنے بادشاہوں کی پوجا پاٹ کو چھوڑ کر پاکستان کی غریب عوام کی بھلائی کا بھی سوچو ۔ یقین کرو اس سے تمھارا کچھ نہیں جائے اور عوام کو بہت کچھ مل جائے گا ۔

    ‎ویسے تمھارے بادشاہوں کو تو اپنے شاہی محلوں سے نکنے کی بھی ہمت نہیں ۔ اب اتنا بھی کیا ڈرنا ۔ جیسے عوامی لیڈر عوام میں ا کر عوام کے دل جیت رہے ہیں یہ بادشاہ سلامت بھی عوام کے سامنے ا کر اپنا جلوہ دیکھائیں ۔ بادشاہ سلامت کو کچھ نہیں کہا جائے گا ۔ اگر بات نہیں کر سکے تو عوام ان کو زیادہ زیادہ انڈے ٹماٹر ہی مارے گی ڈانڈے کوئی تھوڑی مارے گی ۔۔۔۔

    ‎ویسے ان بادشاہوں کو کبھی نہ کبھی عوام سے ڈانڈے تو پڑنے ہی ہیں ۔ یہ جتنے بھی خود کو شاہی محلوں اور بنکروں میں بند کر لیں ۔۔۔۔۔۔۔

  • I hope the PTI supporters will not try to establish relationship with his mother and sister if he writes next one against him.

  • @Asif Bahi

    "‎ویسے تمھارے بادشاہوں کو تو اپنے شاہی محلوں سے نکنے کی بھی ہمت نہیں ۔ اب اتنا بھی کیا ڈرنا ۔ جیسے عوامی لیڈر عوام میں ا کر عوام کے دل جیت رہے ہیں یہ بادشاہ سلامت بھی عوام کے سامنے ا کر اپنا جلوہ دیکھائیں ۔ بادشاہ سلامت کو کچھ نہیں کہا جائے گا ۔"

    It means a lot coming from TTP and LeJ activist. Would you be able to arrange a signed copy of above assurance from Hakeem Ullah Mehsud and Ishaq Ludhanvi?

  • Shirazi bhai: Every person has their price. NFP is no exception.

    Qaiser Nadeem saheb: Thanks for your advice. But, it would be fitness of things if we remain in logical debate on the topic. Personal remarks shows weakness in the arguments. If I had written anything wrong, pls. point them out, I will publicly apologize to you. BTW I criticize all the parties if in my perceived opinion they are doing something wrong.

  • Imtiaz Sb.

    What is your price? I didn't expect such shallow and generalizing statement from someone like you and to top it all you are calling it a logical debate.

    Labeling journalists as sold out is the oldest trick in the book. Why don't you take your own advise and refute NFP with genuine logical arguments instead of accusing him of accepting bribes.

  • Shirazi Sb.

    Last week we raised over $150,000.00 CAD in our city for PTI. I am sure we can help Imtiaz Sb.


  • NFP is simply stating a fact that sometimes "gut" feeling or intuition pays off.I don't think he is implying that intuition is superior to rationality.

    I would be very uncomfortable to have a head of state of a nuclear state rely on his gut feelings.

  • Hello Zia M, Is all well? How did the past five years pass for you and the rest of us with as we kept thinking: Good Lord, Mafia bosses at the head of our nuclear states?

    As for Nadeem Paracha, PPP as he used to be, he suddenly seems to have come to his senses and begun listening to the voice of reason rather than that of feudal sentiment alone.

  • Dear Mirza Ghalib

    How did the past five years pass for you and the rest of us with as we kept thinking:

    Ziam doesn't think, Google thinks. The google has wasted so many brain in past few years... Fool's paradise

  • I don't know. Zia M can be very intelligent at times. I personally don't think of him as a Google puppet. He's more a believer in science and its untold benefits, a position not devoid of substance perhaps, but one which I do not necessarily share with him on every Occasion.

  • Zia M can be very intelligent at times

    dear mirza ghalib. google doesn't make people intelligent. It is brain in real life. See shakespear was master, his philosophy was original, his intelligence was real. He didn't use youtube videos to malign any religion. He used his own brain.. His thought came from experience... pure thoughts.. His own creation. Science in which Ziam Sahib believes. Mostly come from googole.. Like distance of Milkay ways.. planets in milky way.... Typ III civilization. The God's Particle etc Good idea to keep heart amunsed

  • Mirza Ghalib,

    I'm doing just fine, thanks to well wishers like you.

    The last 5 years have been horrific for Pakistan and Pakistanis everywhere.I think any change will be better than what we are facing right now, but the change has to come from within the society and it is a slow process.I'm pretty sure we will get there one day.

    I don't believe in any Messiah, people have to do it themselves.

    My comment on Nadeem Paracha's article wasn't supposed to be a criticism of Imran Khan.We all engage in intuitive thinking at times and sometimes it works but it is not a substitute for rational thought.I hope IK relies on rationality more than intuition or gut feeling.

    My gut feeling tells me that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around the earth but science that is based on reason tells us otherwise.

    Good to see your comments here.

  • Zia,

    I beg to differ, Imran's life and every Great leader's life is riddled with decisions that were considered impossible before they were actually materialized.

    Shaukat Khanum hospital was Imran's gut feeling, W/C was Imran's Gut feeling, Oct 30th Jalsa was his gut feeling, and more recently intra-party elections were Imran's gut feeling.

    Now hyperbolic statements like "relying on gut feeling to lead a nuclear powered nation" are misleading and intellectually dishonest, Imran will not drop a nuclear bomb on India based on his gut feeling. Firstly because all decisions based on gut feeling are basically a dream like MLK's dream etc. Rationality at times is regressive i.e. it was rational for Mendela to cut a deal with Apartheid gov't but he decided to stay in prison for 28 years.

    Imran was told by all experts that SKMH is impossible, recently, everyone was mocking PTI for holding elections in the elections year.

    Here is a glimpse of Imran's gut feeling, if PTI comes in power:

    Tax to GDP ratio will be 18%

    One education system for all Pakistanis with an education emergency. Massive increment in education budget.

    Basic health facilities accessible to all Pakistanis.

    Grass root democracy in Pakistan with elected local governments.

    Also, I don't believe in a Messiah but I do believe in a leader. West can have numerous Obama's, Reagans, Clintons, Blairs, Thatchers but for a country like Pakistan with a broken education system, it takes ages to produce one solid leader.