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Quaid-i-Azam versus Imran Khan

Col Ikram Ullah Khan

The other day I saw a post drawing a comparison between Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Imran Khan which I am sure must have elicited disapproval from all and sundry. I believe it’s inappropriate to draw a comparison between the two.

Before drawing such a comparison, we would like to see Khan to exhibit certain qualities which could bring him nearer to the personality traits which Quaid-i-Azam possessed. We clearly see him lacking in many of such qualities yet his enthusiasts are adamant to draw a comparison between the two. 
A great leader never succumbs to emotionalism. He keeps his cool and exhibits maturity. He always rises above personal considerations and thinks in terms of national interest. Why we Pakistanis idolize Quaid-i-Azam and consider him as the benefactor of the Muslims of sub-continent and father of the nation? The answer is pretty simple. He was a man of principle, probity, integrity and moral uprightness. He had no personal ambitions. His only ambition was to give an identity to the Muslims of the sub-continent and transform them into a great nation that he ultimately succeeded to do. His language was polite, his disposition was temperate and humane, his dealing with the opponents was dignified and graceful and his conduct and behaviour was worthy of emulation. He very discreetly pleaded his case and got the Muslims freed from the shackles of British slavery, and in the process, never got into a head-on collision with the invincible power of the time. Khan sahib needs to take a leaf from Quaid-i-Azam’s book. 
It doesn’t behoove a former prime minister and head of a major political party with a massive political following to use expression while addressing public rallies which is not expected from even a leader of a low stature in the hierarchy of leadership let alone a national leader that heads a major political party, and the way he conducts himself in public doesn’t match with the status of a great leader. Sublimity of language, sobriety of tone and tenor and decency of gesture is what is expected from a national leader because in him the world sees an image of the nation he represents. 
His indiscreet and reckless advisors in whom he reposes blind trust despite being an exceedingly suspicious soul by nature, misguide him and incite him to act in a manner that lands him in hot waters. He can’t resist himself pass scathing remarks against his political rivals and also take a satirical jab at those who remained his ardent supporters throughout his turbulent period of rule and went out of the way to back him despite a chain of faux pas committed by him. If political history of Pakistan be any guide, Imran Khan needs to learn a lesson from the mistakes committed by his predecessors.
Khan sahib is fond of rambling which is amusingly digressive with satirical thrusts at those who have nothing to do with politics. Such inept outpourings, at times, make him face embarrassment. In a fit of oratory which he seems to wield mastery over, he says things which go against civility and decency and are extremely hard for his addressees to digest. 
It reminds me of a hilarious incident when Pir Pagara (late) was asked by a journalist during a press conference to proffer a single-phrase comment about Arbab Ghulam Rahim who was Chief Minister Sindh during Gen Musharraf’s regime, he said, “Us ko mounh ka julaab hai” (He is having a loose mouth). Arbab Ghulam Rahim is known for his excessive rambling and inept outpourings that would put him in embarrassing situation and land him in trouble thus causing him an irreparable damage politically. 
With due regard for Imran Khan, who is a national leader of a great stature, almost identical state of affairs could be seen in him too who most of the time is found with his tongue on the loose and utters such phrases which reflect poorly on him as a national leader because such loose expressions have backfired and made quite a dent in his reputation as a public figure and cost him very dearly. He needs to understand that blowing hot and cold is not a wise thing to do.  
It’s an established and proven fact that when you talk much you are liable to commit mistakes that could hurt you fatally and damage you beyond measures. There is a famous saying which goes, “Speak only when asked, repeat sparingly, be to the point and act discreetly”. But our Khan is not ready to pay heed to such aphorisms. By the way, his political opponents seem disinclined to call him Khan. Instead, they find solace in calling him Imran Niazi, perhaps to satisfy their false ego. To me, however, he is worthy of being called Khan despite the fact that he is not a pathaan by origin but an assumed pathaan. 
As for his dispositional composition, a streak of despotic trait is highly pronounced in his personality and he makes an impression of a too haughty and domineering person who behaves like a typical despot that makes both his friends and foes feel uncomfortable with him. He wants concentration of power in his own hands not to be shared with anyone outside his own self so that he could act like an absolute monarch. He believes in issuing “shahi farman” (monarchical commandments) from Bani Gala. 
Due to Khan’s rigidity and dictatorial demeanour, even his bosom friends have turned against him, yet he continues to persist with his obduracy without realizing how damaging it proves for his political future. His unrestrained ambition for an absolute power has brought him rolling down the stairs of political success which he had gained after a marathon political struggle spanning over almost a quarter century. A terrific guy otherwise, temperamentally, he is not a political material and finds himself misfit in the world of politics because politics is another name of compromise but Khan doesn’t believe in that. One needs to be accommodative and exude flexibility and humility banishing unwarranted rigidity and sense of self-righteousness in order to have a smooth sailing.  
Lastly, l have the cognizance that my candid musings may not be liked by those who have an unconditional and absolute liking for Khan and who like many others idolize him and see a saviour in him. Once upon a time, I too was a great admirer of Khan as a great cricketer but never as a politician. His followers and enthusiasts need to see reason, think dispassionately and come to grips with reality notwithstanding the fact that it is not an easy proposition to do so. Reality is always distasteful and is a bitter pill to swallow.
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