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Can Imran Khan now really recall why he entered politics in the first place?

My maiden blog coincides with what seems to be an overwhelming victory for Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the General Election, 2018. On this occasion, besides, congratulating the whole nation for choosing a leader, whom they firmly believe in and who is committed to work for the cause of the people at the lower strata of the society. Besides, I sincerely commiserate with the supporters of other political parties whose candidates could not make it to the assemblies.

In this blog post, I navigate through the political journey of PTI and the challenges faced by the party to govern the country effectively

The political journey of PTI

The political saga of PTI set out in the late 90s. I was a student at the university, those days. Having no peculiar penchant for politics, I closely followed the sequence of events unfolding in the aftermath. After a long-drawn-out struggle, hurdles, humiliations and sacrifices, the party finally emerged as the most popular party in the country, delivering an incredible lesson of tenacity, self-belief and commitment to the cause. This is, indeed, the result of twenty-two years of conviction, strenuous efforts, fortitude and not giving up against all odds, at any cost, at any moment during the period. This is, in fact, a quixotic account of a genuine struggle, resistance and determination. Despite the fact, that he might have committed some awful gaffes on the way but Khan’s extraordinary leadership qualities, the unbelievable capacity to persist and unflinching faith in himself has become a fabulous motivational anecdote for every one of us fighting for our own cause in our private life.

Challenges faced by Imran Khan

But this is not the end of it. The most toilsome phase of this journey lies ahead.  Expectations are high from the PTI’s new leadership. However, the challenges are intricate, multifaceted and flooding out. Mismanagement, bad governance, terrorism, abject poverty, rampant corruption, financial mismanagement, dwindling foreign investment, mounting trade & budgetary deficits, chronic unemployment, energy crisis, illiteracy and looming currency crisis are few of the grievous problems, the country is facing at the moment. Is Khan amply prepared to surmount these challenges? Time will tell.

Bringing peace to the country, devastated, essentially by terrorism and militancy, is an uphill task. To take the country out of the war on terror, will be one of his greatest contributions. Another most splendid of his feats would be his positive and pragmatic approach to facilitate the 2.5 million Afghan refugees return to their homeland with honour and dignity. He is cognizant of the fact that peace in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will come through Afghanistan and in Baluchistan, though India. Besides he has to take all key stakeholders as well as visible as well as invisible forces on the political landscape of the country all along otherwise it will not be a free sailing for him and his political party to rule the country effectively. 

Is Khan a credible winner?

In what seems to be a wholesale victory for PTI, many globally-acclaimed writers, intellectuals and scholars envisage that it all happened due to only one man and who has the potential to turn around the fate of the country. The people solemnly believe that it is he who can lead the country to peace, progress and prosperity. He could lift the country out of the doldrums and turn it into an efficient, prosperous and well-run state, capable of realizing its fabulous potential. He is the ray of hope and undoubtedly if anybody can turn Pakistan into a creative force on the world stage, it is Khan and a lot is expected of him to give Pakistan a new identity. PTI’s thumping victory is hailed as the dawn of a new age, symbolizing the end of politics-as-usual and the perceived elitism, cronyism and corruption associated with political dynasties and powerful elites. Khan promised a fresh start, yet he will have to deliver that he is a worthy, honest and credible winner.

Lessons learnt

Few lessons brought home by the people’s verdict. Hard work, persistence and commitment always pay-off. PTI has established itself, at the grass root level, in all the four provinces. Inroads have also been made in loads of new areas considered as the stronghold of political rivals. PTI also emerged as the single largest political party in the country and the polls have made it one of the new major political forces in the country to reckon with. Results in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa unveiled some interesting dynamics. In the province, the PTI has swept both the provincial as well as the national assembly seats, a trend never ever seen before. The PTI has come forth as the first party to have won consecutive elections in the province. The people have posed their trust and confidence in the leadership with a thumping majority although there are no two opinions that the PTI government could not perform and deliver 100% in the province for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, PTI has not only learnt the science of elections but also the art of governance by remaining in power in a province and in opposition in the center. The party shall be in a splendid position to complete their leftover schemes and initiate new projects. This time, much of the onus for developmental work lies solely on the government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as it cannot blame the federal government for not cooperating.

Deliver or perish

This is, in fact, a defining moment in the history of Pakistan. In the 70 years history of the country, successive governments flunked to deliver. Ultimately, the social, economic and political problems in the country multiplied. The gap between the rich and the poor widened and the nation fermented into a large crowd, fissured along ethnic and religious lines. Hence, such parties vanished from the political scene, no matter how visionary was their leadership, how pragmatic was their agenda or how revolutionary was their manifesto. This time PTI has to live up to its commitments, otherwise, it will have to bite the dust.

By watching his victory speech, by going through the party’s manifesto and economic, social and education policies of PTI, it is not hard to understand in which direction the new government shall be moving. Nevertheless, in the midst of all these celebrations, joy and excitement the challenge for Imran Khan, in the words of his ex-wife Jamima, is to remember why he embarked upon the politics in the first place.

Besides, Khan must engage with all key stakeholders, including both visible and hidden forces, within the political landscape of the country. Without their support, it will be challenging for him and his political party to govern effectively.