Saturday May 28, 2022

PM does not have a narrative

In 2022, Imran Khan has a new story to tell — and he is a master storyteller

May 06, 2022

A political narrative is a story and the purpose of a story is to “shape fact and impact on understandings of reality.” A political story is usually an account of “imaginary people and events”. A political narrative provides a ‘value’. Yes, a political narrative has nothing to do with the truth.

In 2018, Imran Khan had a story to tell — and he is a master storyteller. Back then, his story was all about ‘corruption by politicians’. Imran Khan’s story was that corruption was the cause of all problems in Pakistan. And that Imran Khan will get rid of corruption, bring back $200 billion and Pakistanis will live happily thereafter. This was a political story of ‘imaginary people and events’. But this was a political narrative that provided ‘value’ to the audience — a ready-made solution to all of their problems. Remember, a political narrative has nothing to do with the truth.

In 2018, Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranked Pakistan at 117th out of 180 countries. In 2019, Pakistan’s ranking dropped to 120th. In 2020, Pakistan’s ranking dropped further to 124th. In 2021, Pakistan’s ranking worsened to a low of 140th. Deutsche Welle, the German state-owned international broadcaster, said, “The perception of corruption in Pakistan has worsened since Imran Khan came to power in 2018,” adding that “Before coming to power in 2018, Khan, a populist politician, regularly cited TI’s CPI as an ‘evidence’ to malign his political opponents, mainly former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.”

In 2022, Imran Khan has a new story to tell — and he is a master storyteller. The anti-corruption narrative is now on the back-burner. There’s no talk of the $200 billion that was to be brought back. There’s no talk about economic performance over 2018-2022. There’s no talk about the quality of governance over 2018-2022. The new narrative is the American conspiracy that brought down the PTI government. Remember, a political narrative has nothing to do with the truth. But this new story provides ‘value’ to the audience — America is the cause of all our problems and Imran Khan will get rid of America. The new story is that we need ‘independence from America’.

In 2018, our external debt was $95 billion. Over the past 4 years, the PTI government has added $40 billion worth of additional external debt and we now owe $135 billion to the IMF, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Paris Club and a whole host of commercial lenders. The fact is that the PTI government has made us a lot more dependent on America and its allied financial institutions than we were ever before. The fact is ‘increased dependence on America’ and the story is ‘independence from America’.

PM Shehbaz Sharif, on the other hand, has no story to tell. PM Shehbaz Sharif has no counter-narrative either. Yes, he is tireless, determined and competent. But he has no story to tell. Ex-PM Imran Khan has stories. PM Shehbaz Sharif has a hundred projects. Ex-PM Imran Khan is playing with the ‘mind’. PM Shehbaz Sharif thinks ‘matter’ will win. PM Shehbaz Sharif is putting up his set of administrative skills on display. Ex-PM Imran Khan is selling stories with no truth in them. Was it Mark Twain who said, “A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots?”


    Anonymous commented 3 weeks ago

    A thought-provoking article but don't agree with the last paragraph. Sharif and Team selling false claims through display of their administrative skills, third day of Eid is gone and now you will see the reality of false claim of 0% load shedding.

    14 9

    D commented 3 weeks ago

    With all due respect to the PM, expecting Mr. Sharif to fix all the mess in which his party played its part in creating is like expecting the sun to rise from the east. So his narrative can be: Guess who is back… (song)

    11 5

    Ajaz commented 3 weeks ago

    PM Shahbaz appears to be working like he is on a 5-year term but doesn’t open his plans for one year. Question? Does he have a plan?

    11 2

    Zahid commented 3 weeks ago

    One simply lies. The other is telling the truth. Eventually, truth prevails... or does it today?

    1 0

    Sheharyar Sohail commented 3 weeks ago

    And you sir are no less a storyteller yourself. I mean look at how you have tried to make shehbaz Shariff look like the oh so righteous and honest. IK should take a lesson or two from you. He is nowhere near your level of yellow graphs storytelling

    5 3

    Iftikhar commented 3 weeks ago

    Try to judge the stories if they are true or false. Then decide...

    1 0

    Asif commented 3 weeks ago

    So it is for the people to wake up, otherwise they will continue to be fooled by one another, or is it for the institutions to catch up??

    0 0