What on earth is Imran Khan doing? Blog By Yasir Naveed | Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
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What on earth is Imran Khan doing? With elections just around the corner and almost daily controversies about someone joining or leaving the party, PTI has become a roller coaster ride of emotions for its workers and supporters all around the world. The electables vs ideologists debate has reached a point where party’s internal matters have made it to mainstream media and consumed people’s attention much more than any other issue in Pakistan. A paradigm shift is required here. To make sense of the situation one must understand why PTI was established and how it plans to bring change in the society. Why did Khan establish PTI? Khan was already serving Pakistan through his Shaukat Khanam Cancer Hospital and many other initiatives before deciding to enter politics. He was positively impacting thousands of lives and inspiring millions already, but he quickly realized that there was a lack of political will to bring change in Pakistan. It was in favor of the ruling elite that Pakistan remains poor, unhealthy and illiterate so they could continue with their collusive dynasties. It was soon evident that treating and educating people for free was not enough to bring change in Pakistan. A democratic disruption was required in the political landscape to break the collusive dynasties and introduce sustainable systems of public welfare that worked without reliance on individuals.With this in mind, PTI was established to form a strong democratic government that could do more than social service and advocacy. At the centre of this paradigm is electability. PTI was faced with a chicken and egg paradox from its very early days. Should it wait for the majority of the nation to mature and bring PTI in power or should it get in power and then help the entire nation to mature? Weighing the pros and cons of both options, PTI chose the latter. It kept its doors open to all from the very beginning, the only difference was that no electable was coming in. Those who started their political journey with PTI worked tirelessly to advocate for the rights of Pakistanis and did a fantastic job. Without them, PTI would not be Pakistan’s largest political party today, but they must not lose sight of the original goal. PTI is not an advocacy group. It is a political party which can only bring its agenda into action after it is elected so it is necessary to get support from electables – at least for now. What is PTI’s philosophy of change? PTI believes in bringing top-down change in Pakistan because bottom-up change, as advocated for by some idealists, is not possible within this century let alone in the next general elections. This has been mentioned by Khan on several occasions and explains why having electables or “same old faces” in PTI does not threaten PTI’s ability to change Pakistan as long as the people on top remain true to the cause. This has been shown to work in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over past 4.5 years. Many PTI ministers in the current provincial assembly of KP carry heavy baggage and PTI was heavily criticized for giving them tickets in 2013. But in hindsight, the top-down approach has clearly worked and PTI has been able to bring reforms in KP that would never have been possible if PTI had only remained a party of idealists. All in all, PTI workers and supporters must not let current circumstances discourage them and welcome those who can get them more votes. The more the merrier. This article is written by Yasir Naveed who is President of PTI’s overseas chapter in Hong Kong. He can be reached at [email protected]

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