Politics has its own rules, just as sports but one rule common to both is that of sportsmanship. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan appears to have forgotten all of that after joining politics. Not only did he refuse to act gracefully and face a no confidence motion – attempting extra-constitutional actions instead – but after being voted out of office, he has continued his sour grapes policy.
Khan aborted his Azadi March last minute but instead of admitting defeat he claims to have “called off his intended siege of the capital for the sake of maintaining national cohesion and avoiding bloodshed. The truth is the anticlimactic denouement of Mr Khan’s agitation campaign against the ‘imported government’ seems to have put him out of his depth as far as rationalising it to his supporters is concerned. He seems to be at pains to justify his abrupt change of heart, giving reasons that simply do not seem to gel with his ‘normal’ approach to politics. Is the ousted prime minister masking his hand, or has he been humbled enough to finally accept that a more measured approach to politics can still help attain objectives? His future strategy remains shrouded in mystery. He has confined himself, along with key PTI leaders, to Peshawar, but he cannot hope to mobilise the nation against the government (as he has threatened) if he remains holed up there. Is he waiting for something, or just avoiding the possibility of arrest?”
The Editorial asks whether Mr Khan has realized ‘that he cannot have expected anything different given that his own rhetoric had created so much animus between his supporters and the state. He himself had been referring to the marchers as his “attack force” and exhorting them to force their way through police ranks to get to Islamabad. If he now believes protests should remain nonviolent and non-confrontational, it is Mr Khan’s responsibility to strongly denounce and discourage the carrying of firearms by his supporters, as well as clarify and walk back the KP CM’s suggestion that in the event of a confrontation with the centre, the KP police force may be brought in. Every political party has a right to peaceful protest and lawful assembly but the exercise of this right should not be allowed to turn into a civil war-like situation. Mr Khan can expect no sympathy from the law or the people till he eschews violent confrontation with the state.”