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Opinion

June 20, 2017

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A tale of two leaders

A tale of two leaders

The protracted tug of war for political supremacy between PM Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan has led to political instability in the country. Though both men follow different agendas and use different tricks, it is hard to find much difference between their politics, ambitions, integrity etc. Both seem to be two sides of the same coin, both rely on the same old people and both run their political shops for vested interests.

Both claim to speak for the poor, but in reality they are both chasing their own interests. One lives like a king in the luxurious palace of Raiwind while the other enjoys the life of a prince in his palace in Bani Gala and in the KP House in Nathiagali.

Nawaz Sharif wants to preserve his authority while Imran Khan wants to replace him and become the prime minister. The former is ready to sacrifice everything for it: dignity, trusted friends and even state institutions. The latter is also ready to give up democratic values and norms – and even appeal to the umpire.

The former is no doubt honest – but only with his family and personal interests. The rest are nothing more than pawns on the chessboard of politics. The latter too is sincere – but only with his own self, and doesn’t bother his relatives or even trusted friends. Friends and loyalties change for these two men with the changing circumstances.

Theoretically, both men stand for democracy and claim to be its true champions. But in reality, Nawaz Sharif believes in family despotism and Imran Khan stands for personal autocracy. Both have transformed their parties into their family franchises which they run under strict control. No one in their parties can dare oppose them. Those who do quickly face the music and are kicked out. Ghous Ali Shah of the PML-N and Ziaullah Afridi of the PTI are just two of the prominent victims of the despotism and autocracy in the PML-N and PTI.

Nawaz and Imran are known for their history of betrayal and dishonesty. Both have disgraced, disrespected and even stabbed their loyal friends, well-wishers and mentors. Nawaz Sharif betrayed his political mentors, General Ziaul Haq and Farooq Leghari; Imran Khan did the same with Majid Khan, Hafeezullah Niazi, General Musharraf and General Kayani.

Both men are also good actors – Nawaz Sharif by clothing his cleverness under an air of innocence, humbleness and simplicity and Imran by blanketing his under the impression of being an honest and straight-forward person. History, though, is a true witness of their sharpness.

For instance, Nawaz Sharif used his business to come closer to army generals. Then he used the generals to achieve political power. Once in power, he tried to use his authority to tame the generals. No one has ever escaped the wrath of the general. But, unlike Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif managed to fly out safely and then he managed to return into power as well through the help of Saudi Arabia and the US.

In the same manner, Imran Khan successfully used Pakistan’s victory in the 1992 cricket World Cup as his personal achievement. He then used it to get married to a daughter of a billionaire. Then he used his overall popularity to put up a hospital, and now he’s using the hospital for his politics. Being an opportunist, Imran knows the tremendous influence the army has on domestic politics. And so he started courting the army, first befriending General Musharraf and then his successors. His sharp politics never let him confront any power that could harm his political career or his person – whether it be the army or the Taliban. He tried to be on good terms with every serving general and even recommended setting up political offices for the Taliban. However, once the generals retired and the Taliban were weakened, he started criticising them just to establish credibility.

Both these leaders have disappointed and humiliated their party workers in one way or the other. Nawaz Sharif has made them submissive to his family and a few blue-eyed bureaucrats, while Imran Khan made them subservient to business tycoons and landlords like Jahangir Khan Tareen, Mustafa Khar and Pervez Khattak.

Although both Nawaz and Imran claim to want to strengthen institutions, in reality they have both played havoc with state institutions. Both want a personality-based, guided and controlled system in which their words reign supreme. What Nawaz Sharif is doing with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and what Imran Khan did to his own Accountability Commission is an open secret. The former attacked the Supreme Court in 1997 and the latter used the Supreme Court’s walls as a laundry line during his dharna; the latter even attacked PTV offices.

Some people believe that Imran Khan is different from Nawaz in financial matters. However, the latest developments proved this assumption wrong. Nawaz Sharif has property in London and regularly visits the city. Imran Khan also visits London to visit his family – with whom his financial matters are directly linked.

The former has no money trail of his property in the UK while the latter has no money trail of his property in Pakistan. One has brought forward a letter from a Qatari prince, the other talks about a similar letter from a Pakistani prince – Rashid Khan.

Due to the involvement of the judiciary, Nawaz Sharif’s fate hangs on the testimony of a Qatari prince. Imran, on the other hand, is looking towards Jemima Goldsmith to rescue him. Both men produce perplexing evidence which ends up creating further confusion. However, one thing has become crystal clear: both also seem to be travelling on the same boat.

There are still some people like Daniyal Aziz and Talal Chaudhry who consider Nawaz Sharif innocent. Likewise, Imran has his own share of supporters – like Aleem Khan and Fawad Chaudhry – who think him faultless. However, being the remnants of the Musharraf regime, their own credibility is hard to take at face value.

Unlike the PPP, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan involved the judiciary in this personal and political affair. The judiciary seems trapped and faces a tough challenge in this personal fight. Both the leaders have just one option: either pressurise the judiciary – which they do in way or the other – or let the law find its course and convict them.

In short, being over-ambitious and over-sensitive about their personal glory, both these leaders pursue their vested interests through different tricks. But their personal flight for political supremacy has proven to be a tough challenge for the judiciary as well as the country’s political stability.

 

The writer works for Geo TV.

Email: [email protected]

 

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