After weeks of successful rallies and seeing their stock rise in the media, PTI finds itself on the back foot this week after increasing allegations about how close the party is with the establishment. While these allegations remain largely based on speculation, PTI supporters might want to think about why people find their party’s ties to agencies so easy to believe.
Dr Awab Alvi, son of PTI General Secretary Dr Arif Alvi, wrote on his blog the other day that he is “getting tired of hearing people accusing PTI of being supported by the establishment”. Dr Awab strongly defends his political party as a party of change that is being attacked unfairly.
Ironically, on that very same day, a news article in The Sunday Times reported that “[Imran Khan] was recently introduced to Cameron Munter, the American ambassador, in the presence of General Shuja Pasha, the ISI chief”.
PTI denied the Sunday Times report, and are considering a lawsuit against the British newspaper. At the same time, ISPR issued a strongly worded statement denying the meeting causing some to wonder if both PTI and the agency weren’t being more defensive than necessary.
This was followed by Omar Cheema being grilled by Sana Bucha about why Imran Khan named Husain Haqqani as involved in the memogate scandal at his 30th October rally when he had not been identified by that time. The obvious insinuation was that Imran Khan had been tipped off by his contacts in the establishment. Again, PTI was quick to respond that while it is true that Haqqani had not been identified, Imran “put two and two together”. I’m not sure if it’s a good excuse for someone who wants to be trusted with the responsibilities of PM to admit that he makes public accusations against people based merely on his assumption, but in this case his assumption turned out to be right so this too will pass without much comment.
What is interesting to note in each case is not whether or not it is proof that PTI is an establishment party. On their own, these two incidents are easily excused. What is more interesting, though, is why it was so easy for so many people to believe that it was the proof in the pudding that PTI was forced to put out strongly worded statements, and in the case of Sunday Times, even contemplate a lawsuit.
Actually, I hope Dr saheb is right and that PTI is not being used as a tool of the establishment. But I also hope that the events of this week make them stop for a moment to ask why it’s so easy for people to believe they are…