Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have been in the eye of almost every political storm to engulf the country in recent times. The Panama Papers, detailing offshore accounts and their beneficiaries, brought the party back onto the streets and in direct conflict with the ruling government in a dramatic – and anticlimactic – showdown. It is this state of constant agitation, among numerous other beguiling intricacies, that is forging a new identity for the PTI.
To find meaning in the ideology behind Khan’s enigmatic politics, the Heraldmet up with him at his residence in Bani Gala on a cool October day, as the PTI was preparing for its ‘lockdown’ of the federal capital — which later turned into a ‘celebration’. The following are excerpts from the conversation:
Herald. If seeking justice is the goal, why does the PTI still feel the need to bring its protest to the streets, when the Supreme Court has begun proceedings on the Panama leaks? Do you not think it will add to your image of having a lack of faith in the judiciary — or that of self-righteousness, where you speak highly of the courts if a decision is given in your favour and completely discredit it otherwise?
Imran Khan. Do people trust the democratic institutions in Pakistan? The answer is no. Nobody has faith in them. A recent survey at the World Economic Forum revealed that our state institutions have deteriorated further since the time of General Pervez Musharraf and, most alarmingly, that the independence of the judiciary has gone down. Imagine a military dictator having better functioning institutions than eight years of democracy under Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari.