Known for his forthright and direct style that often juxtaposes with impulsiveness, once again, Imran Khan, Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), made headlines with a statement that he was ready to take back his words about a woman judge. In response to a show-cause notice issued to him by the Islamabad High Court (IHC), he pleaded his innocence stating that he misunderstood that Judge Zeba was not a judicial officer but an executive magistrate performing executive functions on the federal government’s directions. The remarks were passed in the wake of the arrest of his Chief Staff Officer Shahbaz Gill. However, the IHC was not satisfied with his explanation and asked him to come again with a proper reply after seven days during the contempt of court proceedings.
Khan is one of the most popular political leaders in Pakistan, and it cannot be stressed enough that his words reach and affect millions of people, especially the youth of Pakistan. It is therefore, imperative for a leader of Khan’s stature to pragmatically measure his words in a public setting, thus ensuring that no bombastic rhetoric is uttered, and his real message is not overwhelmed by the sensational ticker that his oft-uttered reckless words seem to become.
The PTI enjoys a great deal of popularity all across Pakistan, and its good work in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where it has been ruling for two consecutive terms speaks for itself. Quite lately, PTI-supported candidate Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi won the vote of confidence in the Punjab Assembly. With this achievement, the PTI has been provided with another opportunity to win the masses’ confidence through good governance, as there is every possibility that the people of Pakistan could be with the PTI in the 2023 elections. Moreover, the PTI chief should repose confidence in parliament, which is the right platform for the resolution of all issues democratically, instead of looking for help from some other institution and show distrust of the judiciary.
The best way to stand proud as a party in opposition is through the credibility of your work. And that is also the best way to win the confidence of the people to secure their vote in the next election. Constant threats/warnings of street agitation — albeit the cause is noble – are counterproductive in the long run, as people wish to see their elected leaders work in parliament and their constituencies, and not lead protests and rallies as a tool to pressurize the government to listen to its demands. If the PTI and Khan were to heed this advice, who is to say electoral results would not be in its favour in the upcoming general elections?
It would be in the best interest of the PTI if its principal leader stopped looking at his political career as a cricket match that must be won through a constant onslaught of bouncers and yorkers, and a flurry of fours and sixes. Politics is a serious business that affects the lives of millions of people. And those millions of people look up to their leaders for inspiration. The relentless volley of knee-jerk reactions, flippant comments, ad hominem attacks, aggressive stances and reckless statements is not what people wish to hear from their leaders. What they look for in their leaders is stability of narrative, conviction of farsightedness, grace after defeat, restraint under provocation, dignity in an argument, and composure when faced with aggression.