Some people think that Imran Khan’s biggest problem is that he can’t keep quiet. I don’t agree with it. He has kept quiet for years on the issue of terrorism and even when he lets his tongue loose on the issue, it is generally in terrorists’ favour. His reluctance to go all out in operation’s support, his demand to open an office for Taliban in KP, his chief minister’s request to the terrorists to think of KP as their own province, his apologia for the terrorists and his recent interview in which he declared holding PSL final in Lahore as madness are examples that need no elaboration.
So I don’t think that he has a problem with keeping quiet. The argument that he often issues statements out of sheer callousness actually gives him a kind of permission to say anything he wants to. Nawaz Sharif always got away with criticism on some of the most important political issues just because his opponents liked to call him ‘bhola’ (innocent). Now we’ve started calling Imran as a ‘nuisance’. But as George Carlin had so explicitly warned, never underestimate the power of foolish people in large groups.
Imran’s biggest problem, in my opinion, is that he has a problem with everything his opponents do. His concern about Pakistan Super League (PSL) final being played in Lahore is correct but not genuinely out of the fear for the safety of the foreign players and the common people. I haven’t claimed that I can read people’s minds but I do feel I can read the writing on the wall. Imran’s actions throughout this PSL have been those of a jealous person who just can’t get himself around the fact that the man who he had so passionately abused for last four years on something he later infamously declared as ‘political statement’ is actually doing something that deserves applause. Najam Sethi, with all his faults and ‘cons’, has actually been able to arrange a successful PSL and Imran just isn’t ready to admit this.
Let’s start from the start. PSL’s second edition began on February 9, 2017. On February 10, PCB suspended two players, Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif, over spot-fixing allegations. Imran Khan was quick to respond in a tweet that read: Joke: “Election fixer Sethi to eliminate cricket spot fixing! Latter only affects cricket; elec “fixing” greater crime threatening democracy”.
Joke: Election fixer Sethi to eliminate cricket spot fixing! Latter only affects cricket; elec “fixing” greater crime threatening democracy
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) February 11, 2017
Next, it was his press conference on February 21. Geo, the other day, played the video as a proof of Imran’s earlier support for holding the final in Lahore but looking at the video, you’ll realise that there was a kind of slur even in that statement. “This PCL… what is it? PSL? I haven’t watched a ball of it”, he had stated during that briefing as well. It was clearly a demonstration of his disapproval for the entire event.
Then he went on to term holding PSL final in Lahore as ‘madness’. Although his concern here is valid, the way his party has defended it is simply beyond the formal boundaries of ‘patwari-ism’ and ‘jiyala-ism’. Only the PTI members and supporters could have been so illogical in their support for their leadership that they even submitted a resolution in Punjab Assembly against holding the match at Gaddafi Stadium. The resolution then had to be withdrawn after central leadership declared it against the party policy.
Now despite the clarification that the party policy is not to criticise the event, and that the major concern was only the security of the players and common people, the second tier of the party leadership has been trying, and failing miserably, at mocking the event and its security arrangements. Imran Ismail, who’s been called out in the past as well for sharing a photo from Holland and declaring it PM’s security convoy, once again shared a photo on Twitter, mocking the security exercises for the PSL final. The photo is, again, fake. It is an old image from Bangladesh.
The idea here seems to be to discredit the entire event. It is not just the security concerns that Imran Khan has expressed here but also his concerns against the curbing of corruption in cricket. Instead of praising the board over taking a prompt action against the spot-fixing suspects, Imran chose to discredit the person taking the action. This coming from someone so vocal against corruption might have been a shock for some of us but in my opinion his aim was to discredit the event again when he said that he hadn’t seen a single game of the event and his aim was to discredit the event when he called it ‘madness’ and when his party members shared fake images from other countries.
They need to get over their frustration. If you have security concerns, there’s no point mocking the security arrangements.