PTI-Manifesto - 2013
Though we have been very crucial in scrutinizing the manifestos of the PPP and the PML N, which was majorly because the former two parties have been in power many times before, and we had major reference points from which checks could be made; PTI, on the other hand, definitely has a benefit of doubt, for it has never been in power before, and even though a lot is brought up against Imran Khan, yet he does hold a certain value of integrity in his person that allows him to win the confidence of the masses. Nevertheless, we must not forget that the major leaders of the other popular parties may also have enjoyed equivalent popularity when they had first appeared in politics, and that our leaders, in a democratic system, do not deserve our appraisal as much as they deserve our strict surveillance all along.
We must note that Imran Khan’s slogan, ‘Justice; Humanity; Self-esteem’, is in itself a slight shift from the Quaid’s ‘Unity; Faith; Discipline’; wherein Faith seems to have been taken out again from the forefront. Although one could say that ‘Humanity’ is the sphere Islam aims to encompass, but again, are we to lead Humanity with our Faith or be led by Humanity into any fashion it has evolved to? Nevertheless, we should take Imran Khan’s word upon his Faith and upon his promise of making Pakistan an Islamic Welfare State, until he has been tried through the test of time.
The manifesto of PTI, unlike those of the other two parties, starts with a verse of the Quran:
“Indeed Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (13:11) (interpretation)
And it says in the preamble, ‘A Naya Pakistan built on Iqbal’s dream and Jinnah’s vision encapsulated in an Islamic welfare state’, and it also reiterates its stance upon not compromising the sovereignty of the country in compliance with any superpower or international entity. Apart from this, the PTI manifesto also presents solutions that are more down to the practical level and easier to judge for the public. Still we need to keep in mind the revolutionary changes from the top-level to the grass root level required for the fruiting of the high vista, PTI is setting its voters upon, who will have to face the opposition of a huge power-class entrenched wide and deep throughout the country, in the institutions as well as in the socio-political spheres.
We must also be alarmed by the fact that apart from the ritualistic mentioning of Islam in the Manifesto, there is no practical plan to ensure that it is intended to convert the society, not only into an Islamic welfare economy, but also an Islamic welfare society, such that it would be executing the high morals envisioned by Islam. Apart from Imran Khan’s personal resolves of being a true Muslim and believing solemnly in Allah and His Book, if we try to explore the diction being used in scripting the PTI Manifesto, it is very similar to the Liberal diction used by the other two parties.
The manifesto states, ‘Pakistan’s tragedy has been that it has been unable to evolve a Pakistan’s national indigenous narrative which would have allowed it to focus on realizing its national potential and being on the road to attaining credible self-reliance and security. In the absence of a national narrative it has been vulnerable to external exigencies, exploitation and intrusion.’ By this narrative, perhaps, PTI means to build a sense of cohesion among the people of the nation, which has been uprooted owing to the sense of deprivation in different sections of the society, which has followed after widespread corruption, exploitation, foreign diktat and terrorism. It must be taken into account that a National narrative is taken as the vision of any Nation; it describes the aspirations, aims and objectives of a Nation based on the National purpose, National interests and National Identity. Pakistan has had a National Identity of an Islamic State based on Islamic principles with an Islamic outlook, to present a progressive Islamic state model.
It is true that a National Narrative is indeed the need of the hour, but it should be noted that society has crashed on other grounds too; the double standards of taking a liberal approach on the one hand and believing in conservative morals on the other have lead the youth more and more into a delusional state; the lines between right and wrong have deliberately been smudged, rendering it impossible for good people to stand upon any defined good. The national narrative, as described above, was very strong in the nation, and has been weakened by Secular slogans and the confusions created by the same. So does PTI ensure the re-building of the national narrative in this sense too?
A national narrative cannot be built merely on economic terms, technological advancement and the availability of resources on the doorstep; though all this would certainly raise the standard of living, but human nature simply demands more! History teaches us that an extra-universal narrative is where humanity eventually finds peace, and where alone it is ready to lay down its weapon. Therefore, a national narrative may seem to PTI as virtually enough to set the nation onto the road of progress and stability, but even if so, that will only prove to be a short phase of change and not a permanent one.
PTI strictly condemns the Drone policy, and demands a foreign policy based on equality, respect of sovereignty and not based on aid and polarization towards any one superpower, yet it does seek a greater role for the UN, ; is it not a fact that the UN is a veto-power organization, itself inclined towards the US and its allies? For a manifesto that is repeatedly saying that their ideas have been extracted from those of Allama Iqbal and the Quaid, to give a priority to the Organizations of the West and only a second priority to the community of Islamic nations, is a double standard in itself. Suiting to the worldview of the Pakistani nation, PTI should have laid down a mechanism for Pakistan to play an effective role in organizing the OIC from scratch, and how Pakistan can ensure the active participation of OIC in international Politics, thereby also becoming an effective force that can stress the UN towards a positive role based on equality and justice, equally for the world’s Muslim community, as it does the Christian world.
By emphasizing only on negotiations and internal measures, the PTI manifesto presents an incomprehensive National Security Policy outline. Perhaps PTI has set aside the necessity for a balanced use of soft and hard power to root out the radicalized sectors, and a permanent resolution of ‘conflict’ rather than relying on the paradigm of ‘peace’ only. As per PTI’s show of having an elaborate team of advisors on every vital field, it would have been desirable that a comprehensive National Security Policy layout was given.
Therefore, our reservations regarding PTI need to be ideological; for those, who are considering PTI as their symbol of hope and change, must understand that in the modern democracy-system, we are trapped in today’s time; it is not a system wherein we dictate our vision and will into a person and present him as our representative; instead, we are given the choice of selection from within a select few, who have had the advantages of exposure and sponsorship, and they are not necessarily our thinkers or our ideological mentors. Therefore, in this system, it remains upon the civilized part of society, who have the true essence of the ‘will’ their people have submitted to, to become a relentless force, correcting the faults of ideology that our representatives are supposed to present, and impressing upon them that what we really wanted all along.
In our view, the manifestos of any of our political parties, among the three we have analyzed, are incomplete and need the input and constant correction from institutions and personalities that we deem closer to our ideology and worldview, and we need to become a force that can become a bridge between our will and our resources. Giving a vote to someone should not mean that we have pledged our belief system to that one person, it should be a contract of trust, wherein the one person needs to understand us better and represent us to the earnest as he learns more of us.
Therefore, on the whole, PTI has presented a balanced, workable, progressive plan, promising to secure the Faith of the people of Pakistan; but what needs to be seen is, that there should not be hidden a purely Socialist Liberal under the cloak of a Muslim Imran Khan, or a Secular beneath a Humanitarian Imran.
For the nation, it is not a time to lay down their sense of defense, ; mere slogans are not enough, we have been bitten too many times; the more the slogans, the more critical we need to be, and the more Imran Khan would need to be transparent and accountable, if he gets our votes. And the nation should be ready for a 5-year long surveillance and criticism, for anyone who has the slightest of honor.