A skipper skipped
THIS has to be one of the more spectacular climb-downs by even Pakistani standards. Imran Khan, the messiah himself, has been reduced to pondering over a join-the-protest invitation sent across by Dr Tahirul Qadri. The reformer from Canada is running the show from his container in the ‘D’, eying the goal Mr Khan had set for himself before his slowdown. The switch from the slog out on the street to a party with power aspirations has had its ramifications. Imran Khan risks ending up as a non-playing captain as the PTI is threatened by a new set of system reformers. Like Mr Khan, the leader of these new reformers has been visible with his work in the social sector. As the PTI did on Oct 30, 2011, the Minhajul Quran people have shown that they, too, can fill up the grounds. Unlike the PTI, these reformers are already on the march under the ‘change’ slogan which the PTI failed to patent.
Imran Khan has been particularly slow in reading this Qadri googlie. He began by admitting his inability to understand the logic behind Dr Qadri’s call for a long march on Islamabad when an election was approaching. A few days later, among the protesters in Quetta, the PTI chief conceded that the doctor’s demands were not unjustified. Finally, it took the besieging of Islamabad by thousands of Minhajul Quran people for Mr Khan to react to the theft of his own saviour status. A distinguished individual and leader, he could only have come up with a march of his own — with no specific date, his associates, looking half-prepared, hastened to add. For effect he had to go for the president, which was in sync with his old stance. The desperation to remain relevant in the reformist camp was reflected elsewhere, in the doubts Mr Khan expressed about the election commission he had helped form.