Sunday, May 22, 2011

Some Thoughts on Imran Khan's Dharna

I have been greatly amused by some of the speculation around the reasons for our blog being untended for the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately none of the speculation centred on us being part of OBL's support staff who could not update the blog because we were currently on the run. That would have really made my day. Sadly, the truth is not only out there, it is decidedly prosaic. Anyhow...


A view of the PTI dharna in Karachi (Photo: Nefer Sehgal / Express Tribune)


Today marked the first day of Imran Khan's grand show of farce force in Karachi. He had vowed a two-day dharna (sit-in) to block NATO supply routes from the Karachi port in protest against continuing American drone strikes in the tribal areas and, by God, he kept his word. Or at least that's what his party faithful will have you believe. Here's what I have been thinking after making a quick round of his dharna site:

1. This must be the first dharna in the world where chairs were provided for the angry revolutionaries. Under shamianas, erected no doubt to protect the angry revolutionaries from the scorching sun. You know, so that the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Imran Insaf (PTI) supporters 'garmi mein kharaab na ho jaayein.'

2. This also must be the first populist gathering where the awaam were divided into three sections, ostensibly in order of their importance. Or as a wag put it, into VIPs, IPs, and Ps.

3. It's rather convenient that the dharna is taking place over the weekend, in order to cause the least amount of inconvenience to not only the PTI's weekend warriors but also to the actual businesses operating from the port, most of which shut down on Sunday anyway. The transporters who actually run the supply trailers that carry the NATO containers announced their support for Immy bhai's mission by proclaiming a two-day suspension of their work over... you guessed it, the weekend.

4. It's also rather convenient that the organizers were able to negotiate with the city administration to stage their sit-in on a side road so as to not actually block any of the main thoroughfares or the Native Jetty bridge that actually are used to transport the goods.

5. In his delayed speech to the thronging seated crowds (estimates vary between a couple of thousand to around 7,000, including the Sunni Tehreek workers who had joined in, once the sun had set on Saturday), Immy bhai pleaded with the gathered faithful to not forget to "return again" on Sunday. Which of course adds another layer of uniqueness to this 'sit-in': the protestors can go home, sleep in their comfy beds (preferably with their ACs on), have a nice leisurely brunch and come back to resume their 'blockage.'

6. In his speech, Immy bhai - who was constantly being fed lines in his ear, in plain sight, by the PTI Secretary General Arif Alvi - once again castigated the President and Prime Minister for following a hypocritical policy on the American drone strikes. He called their private support for drone strikes - as detailed in WikiLeaks revelations from last year - while publicly condemning them, as evidence of their "match-fixing" (oh! those cricket metaphors never stop do they?) and "noora kushti" in connivance with the Americans. Fair enough. I don't know about anyone else but I think he could have said a word or two about some recent WikiLeaks revelations too. We know that he's read them since he was kind of forced to acknowledge them in a press conference a day ago. Oh, but wait, that would be just so inconvenient now, wouldn't it? Especially when you want to remain on the 'right side' in more ways than one.

7. I don't want to get into the question of who exactly the casualties of the drone strikes are but suffice it to say there is plenty of contradictory information / opinion on this point. Immy bhai may also want to back up his claims of "overwhelming" civilian casualties with some real facts, especially since his claims contradict what even Pakistan army generals believe. Of course it is easy to whip up emotionalism on this issue - and Heaven knows that's about the only thing that has happened so far - but if you're out to run a campaign based on claims of civilian casualties and not legality, one would hope you have the hard data to back it up.

As a final thought, you might want to read this recent piece by Herald editor Badar Alam on Immy bhai's politics. It's probably the best piece you will read about the man and what ails him.


51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yar what better choice do we have? I mean among PPP, PML-N, PML-Q, MQM, JUI and all other acronyms...at least "bhai" kuch to seedha bolta he :)

Anonymous said...

I hate people like you...hud to kuch karna nahin doosroon kay keeray nikaltay rahoo bas. smartass

Sheikh Chillis said...

Why are the self-styled "liberals" (mostly gora wannabees) so frightfully apprehensive and rigid in their blanket condemnation for Imran Khan ?. Why do they love to hate, the sole international icon/celebrity that Pakistan has produced ?.

A self-made man who has been honest, brave and steadfast in his public dealings. An educated man, who has had international exposure. A committed and motivated leader with a long history of accomplishments. A patriot, inside and out.

What is in this makeup that makes some of the elitist snobs, quake in their boots ?. It certainly can't be that he married a gori ?, that he was a bit of a philanderer in his youth ?. That should be a problem for folks like the Sunni Tehreek. Certainly not you.

Could it be that it bothers you that he has developed a conscience ?. That he cares for the downtrodden, which you wouldn't recognize if they landed on you ?. Or is it that he has found religion and says his prayers ?. Got to be one (or all) of the three.

Too bad, some who can read/write can't see, in this country.

man who left ! said...

I think let the natural process go on let the public get mature enough to test everbody ! This is the true essence of democracy which we were. Not given as of milatary martial laws ! Let it be public to decide what they want to be goats or ...?

Anonymous said...

Badar demolished Imran. or clean bowled is it?

Farrukh Ejaz said...

Shaking hands with MQM for this sit in is criminal enough. As said earlier Imran Khan is not the answer or leader

Shah Rukh said...

People like the writer here and Farrukh Ejaz would have us believe that Imran Khan is not the answer or the leader we need.

Clearly PPP,Q,N, and the rest are doing or have done great things for this country.....it definitely cant get any better..

Blogger said...

Attendance 7000 @cafepyala its time to recount http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/may2011-daily/22-05-2011/topst/m,1.gif

TLW said...

Imran Khan bhai is not "self made". If someone who went to Aitchison, or KGS can be called "self made".

And as for the article:

Chairs were provided for the angry revolutionaries. Under shamianas, erected no doubt to protect the angry revolutionaries from the scorching sun.

Welcome Back Cafe Pyala =)

Anonymous said...

Anyone with the slightest idea of pakistan's politics knows that ISI is behind the protest which contains members of Jamaat Islami, Jammat ud Dawa and other jihadi groups.

Poor khan sahib will be used by the agencies and then thrown away like a tissue paper.

Anonymous said...

To my satisfaction, Immy bhai remains faithful to the funding by George Soros.

Anonymous said...

off to puke after reading this....ciao

Anonymous said...

It's sort of disgusting the way you have written this article about Imran Khan. First of all, who woul you rather have? The current bunch (PPP), or maybe Nawaz, or how about the mullahs?
Bloody idiot! I call myself a liberal too, but a true liberal. I have self-respect and respect for my country, unlike you wanna white-boy (or girl for that matter I guess).

Anonymous said...

sad that one must ask this, but when one is talking about imran khan one must clarify: anon above, when you say "who would you rather have?", do you mean in the biblical sense?

Zain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Imran Khan is no khan - just another puppet being pulled from behind the scenes. He sounds like a broken record endlessly finding fault in others but offers no solutions or plans of his own. A man without vision, imagination or intelligence can never be the leader his supporters expect.

Anonymous said...

Well written but quite a short piece unlike othr Cpyala posts.DO Write more.
And, 'international celeb/icons' are unfortunately, heavily, morally, logically considered as misfit in the anarchic world of realpolitik.

Dost Mohammad said...

XYZ, trolls are out here in full force to kick your butt around. By way were you busy editing the Wikileaks Pakistan Papers or what...I certainly cant imagine you were on the OBLs runway team but that seems more plausible!

Mystry said...

What a baseless hilarious article!.... The very first point put me in ROFL State quoting "Under shamianas, erected no doubt to protect the angry revolutionaries from the scorching sun."..............Well in this way, there will be criticism on Jumma Prayers arrangement as well , there are shamianas and arrangement to avoid the heat, I wonder such writers would declare such Muslims to be Non-believers if they offer Jumma under shamianas..:P............What do u expect in Dharna, the participants should torture themselves to declare it a successful dharna :p there should be a headline two persons were killed to declare it a successful dharna?.............As I told , Dharna is peaceful not riot based,something New concept , isn't it?

DN said...

At least someone is coming out and expressing their opinion. Better than armchair activists who prefer to sit in their cozy confines sneering at the poeple who venture to bring a change.

Anonymous said...

@Mystry... clearly you have no sense of humor, or the immy brigade's prior history for that matter...

Anonymous said...

Even the protesting KESC workers sitting outside the press club for at least two weeks, night and day, have shown more grit and determination than this bunch of Facebook revolutionaries and their mullah hangers-on!

Adnan said...

I ask one question from those who are doing lap dance for Americans. If this is OUR war then why bitching in rooms rather than leading the nation? What I see, PeePeePee supporters are have tighten their pampers and busy in peeing in them. Could you guys stop peeing and lead the nation? Ask Zard-aari to lead the nation instead of peeing on the grave of BiBi.

And for Nadeem F* Paracha who is mad at all Pakistanis because he could not get Lennon award after the fall of USSR,Honey get out from your toilet and do something constructive rather than pooing all the time.

Anonymous said...

This is Anon....nth
I don't understand why we don't want to try Immy who is at least not corrupt, well, so far any way... Why try the tried and tested who have repeated failed us? I for one would vote for khan, this time. As for the guy who thinks his greatest sin is shaking hand with MQM, I again don't understand why the rest of the country is so anti-MQM. They are no different than the goons of the ppp and nawaz sharif.

Anonymous said...

your post is as useless and ridiculous as the one by Babar Alam that you have linked to. what a waste of cyber space!

Anonymous said...

Chipping in with *dharna* & *fasting* a la Chennai / Tamil nadu Style.
.
Here, there are politicians who go on a fasting from morning 10 to 1 PM & then again from 3 PM to 5 PM. How do you like that?
.
The *ahimsa* concept & it's illegit siblings like dharna, fasting, etc - those are all stupid & senseless pacifist entities. That slimy, filthy, ignoramus Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi & his White-ass-likcing friends used those entities to fool & continue to use it to swindle us Indians.
.
The next time you see a sit-in or a dharna or a road-roko or a bandh - remember Gandhi & his slimy bed-fellows. Not sane Indian believes or respects those; so, don't be fooled by them.
.
As for the internal politics of Imran Khan & Pakistan - unfortunately I'm from the nujus-kuffar-hindoooo-stan - and pledge my ignorance to my defense. This comment is to shed some sane light on dharna, road-roko, fasting, sit-in, bandh, and other such *ahimsa-vaadi* concepts - and nothing more.
.
Anon-4m-chennai.

Anonymous said...

From the article linked,
"Khan needs to realise that it is these latter groups of people and not armchair activists, which form the bulk of actual voters in Pakistan."
.
The truth can NOT be said in more precise terms than that. This is the case for most of us third-world, undeveloped & filthy countries - including my India.
.
Once again from Chennai - a very huge thumbs-up for the article & the thoughts expressed therein. There are many in India too (like the Jan Lok Pal bill proponents) who simply don't seem to get it. India (like many other dirty, filthy, smelly, noisy, third-world ghettos) lives in Villages. You can't force an urban hero on the majority poor & illiterate of the country - it simply won't work.
.
Anon-777

UZi said...

Awwww so many angry widdle PTI baybees in the comments thread. Tsk. No wonder Immy boi is doomed (despite solid Aabpara backing). Haey becharey bachey khwam wakha garmi meiN kharab huey. Tsk. :-P

Anonymous said...

Just because the rest of our politicians disgrace the lowest layer of scum, we should not lower our standards and expectations. I support the fundamental principles behind Imran Khan's movement, but I agree that he does need to sharpen his message and focus it more on what he proposes than what he opposes. In the spirit of pragmatism, let us not shut criticism and dissent because these are the elements that are essential to drive the system to correct itself. Otherwise we'll run ourselves into the danger of defining success as electing a Mr. 5% over someone twice as corrupt.

XYZ duffer said...

i used to like your pieces. but now i realise you are like any other newspaper, you just entertain and criticise! somebody takes a bold step and you criticise him too. The government does nothing, you critise them. Instead of giving us your 'thoughts' on Imran Khan why dont you give us your thoughts on what should be done.. Then it will be our turn to bash you, you arrogant all knowing junkie! I hope you can write a piece soon!

Anonymous said...

what a childish blog! so imran's peaceful dharna is being held against him? would the author have been full of praise if dharna was violent, burned buses, killed some people, like it is the case in other parties?

i am done with this website. there are better blogs worth 1 minute of my scan

Nezihe Hussain said...

i am not surprised the writer wrote under "XYZ" because he/she obviously doesn't t have the guts to write the truth.

we announced the Dharna to start at 4pm because it is extremely hot and 21st may was one of the hottest day in recorded history of Karachi. the shamiyans were only on the media enclosure and the sound system. not for the people but for the cameras and the expensive equipment that was there for 36 hours.

the seats were provided for elderly ladies and families, and if you noticed - which you would have if you had bothered to get up from behind your laptop in a nice cool room somewhere. the crowds of all parties - young boys, students children ladies were all over the place. right up til the stage. there was no sections.

the crowd was not 7000 - but 15,000 - 20,000, which of course the media will down play.

and lastly - this is the first time in the history of Pakistan in the past 30 years that a protest has been staged - starting in one city going into all the major cities en route the NATO supplies - which has gathered crowds of over 10,000 and still was peaceful, not one violent act or gesture was made,

Imran Khan and PTI managed to gather people from all religions in Sindh, we got people from Sindhi, Baluchi, Punjabi Pushtu and Urdu speaking backgrounds to sit together, rejoice together and bring hope to our people - as ONE NATION !!!!!

top that anyone who has the guts.

Anonymous said...

What A nonsense writeup... This blogger is just delusional..

Canuck said...

The author seems to be pleading for his/her five minutes of fame! Please someone look and clap. What a bad piece, waste of time. Get a life!

pindiwal said...

Whoever wrote this (poorly written) article needs to understand; if you can write in english does not mean you are making good points.

Senseless article.

Khan said...

Please someone find the guy who wrote this a job. Buhut farigh time hai salay kay pass. Go do something useful!

Anonymous said...

i would pay good money to see a flame war between et trolls and pti trolls. just imagine, imran khan says 'woh jhoot boltay hain, sub jhoot boltay hain' and then omar quraishi would pop up and say 'actually imran, it is only speculation that we all lie, also it has been statistically proven that we are neck and neck with dawn when we do, so you should get a better researcher'. then imran khan would say 'sub amrika kay ghulam hain' and then orq would say 'you can't even spell america right, you need a speller as well as a researcher haha' and then some random pti troll would say 'you should be ashamed of yourself for criticizing the only man in pakistan who will stand up against drone strikes and oil drilling', and then some random et troll would say 'yeah well he stands up for spellers and researchers too' and then the pti troll would tell the et troll to get a job, and the et troll would tell the pti troll to get a life, and then cafe pyala would make fun of both of them, and then the et trolls and the pti trolls would stage a joint dharna against cafe pyala, in which they would organize a tent with lazyboys and sheesha to block the entrance to azad on zamzama, a romance would blossom between two from opposite camps, and their offspring would one day go on to inherit the country. any country. possibly iran.

NOIDA, India said...

Writing from India.

The best way to understand Imran is to look at Rajiv Gandhi circa 1985. Fresh faced, well meaning and naive. Taken for a ride by everyone.

There is no doubt in my mind that Imran is being propped up by your "deep state" as a poster child for the middle-class and urban youth. He speaks well, dresses well, was a fantastic sportsman - what more does the middle class want.

Can he deliver... I think not. I have yet to see evidence of a single policy announcement he has made which promises to deliver fauj-free democracy.

The PTI support base seems like the typical upper middle class youth, who, like in India, will only join a rally if it is convinient and does not clash with their parlour appointments, movie dates, dinner at Nirulas etc.

I hope he does get elected... Maybe, like Rajiv, he'll learn. And maybe, unlike Rajiv, he'll live to fight another day.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is a good thing or bad but, judging from the responses to this post, Imran Khan's fans seem to be avid readers of Cafe Pyala.

If only they could devote just half as much time and energy as they do in defending their Great Leader to getting 'garmi mein kharab' occasionally, we might even have our very own revolution soon.

Must admit to feeling a bit smug when their latest dharna in Karachi was rudely upstaged by their friends attacking their other friends at PNS Mehran that very night, sending their supporters and mullah friends scurrying off into the night, only to be relegated to the back pages of most newspapers the next day.

Anonymous said...

very poor write up. writer can be biased but at least not indulge in juvenile sound bites like "garmi mein kharab".

Faiza Awan said...

This is a very cynical write-up to say the least. The purpose of the dharna is not to create a chaoas of 'angry' protestors, it is to 'record' a protest for an issue that affects us all. Imran Khan is raising his voice on an issue that is and will continue to have repurcussions for Pakistan for many years to come. Although i understand that these dharna's might not be able to achieve much in terms of stopping the drone attacks, but they are useful in garnering public opinion on an important issue, and it brings people from many different ethnicities and religious background together. Imran Khan might be doing this for political point scoring aswell, but the point is that as a leader, he has the potential to unite people, which is something Pakistan needs desperately. He can give this country direction. In addition, he is a person who has the moral authority to raise questions against the corrupt politicians, which sadly NO other leader in Pakistan has.
If his dharna was arranged, or covered to protect ppl from the heat, or if he came late, or went home to sleep at night, that should not be the criteria to judge the work he is doing and the voice he is raising for our own countrymen by doing something practical. Moreover, our cynicism shouldnt get the better of us, so we end up questioning even the good things that happen in our country. We need more people like Imran Khan in this country.

Ali said...

While the issue of drone attacks is very low on the list of issues to rally Pakistanis around...


This piece is unfair in that it nitpicks on minor issues (chairs, tents, seriously?).

In many ways, CPYALA's POST and this DHARNA are the same. Lots of noise about nothing, really.

Faiza Awan said...

its an issue about pakistans sovereignty and the fact that it kills our own people..i wonder how it becomes an issue of less importance...would people have the same response if the drones were happening in lahore or karachi, or any other big city of pakistan?

Nasser Khan Turi said...

Faiza Awan: There can be other arguments against the drone attacks but both of the contentions you make for your argument are contentious. 1) How is Pakistan's sovereignty ensured by allowing Arabs, Chechens, Uzbeks, Afghans, Indonesians and other assorted jihadis to roam around unchecked in our tribal areas, especially if they are using the area to launch attacks on Pakistan and other neighboring states? Why is it only that drone attacks that are clearly backed by the Pakistan government and military are considered to be violating our sovereignty? 2) As the poster pointed out (although I do think he or she should have gone into some detail on this), what do you base saying that the attacks are killing "our own" people? Where is the data that supports the theory that most of those killed are innocent civilians? I am willing to accept it if someone gives me proof. By the way, I am not willing to accept the claims that most of those killed are militants without proof either. But its also true that like bin Laden, most of the Arab militants have been arrested from Pakistani soil. I'm sorry but I don't see Arabs and Uzbek jihadis as 'our own' people. And neither do I think of Baitullah Mehsud and his TTP ilk as 'our own' either - they certainly don't think of average Pakistanis as their own. In contrast to how Imran Khan tries to portray the strikes, most people in the tribal areas who don't want to live under the savagery of the Al Qaeda / TTP types, think of the strikes as a necessary evil.

Faiza Awan said...

I think that your response is entirely based on conjectures and news that you chose to believe. How can you be sure than uzbeks, chechens, indonesians etc and the fact that they 'roam' around unchecked in our country? Has anybody seen them? Isnt this the rhetoric that is being fed to us to justify drone attacks? And even if there are jihadis sitting in FATA and other areas, it is the job and the responsibility of the Pakistani state to take them out. It is not the responsibility of the US, it has no right to conducts strikes in Pakistan.
And coming to your second point, there is credible information that the drone strikes kill innocent civilians, whereas there is no credible information who the 'suspected' militants are.Yesterday i read an article in Dawn about a man who has gone mad and seeking help in rawalpindi because his whole family including his kids was wiped off by a drone strike in his area. And Do you remember the drone strike that killed 45 people the day after raymond davis was released, more than half were ordinary tribal elders. Moreover, Imran Khan has actually travelled to these areas to talk to people on the ground about the outcomes of drone strikes.
My point is that drone strikes are counterproductive. They are not the solution to getting rid of extremism in this country rather they will increase it. Any kind of attacks against your own people will create more enemies.

Anonymous said...

Id like to point out that people taking part in the dharna are not 'angry revolutionaries'. Pakistan is not at a point where angry revolutionaries would come out and overthrow the government and thats because at the end of the day the majority in the country has food before bed. Angry revolutionaries come out when they have nothing to lose. In Pakistan people who have nothing to lose join terrorist groups(since its a small no.). The people attending the dharna are mostly people from well off educated families and just average people who want a change. A change before they have to turn into angry revolutionaries. These are people who have no responsibilty towards anything but the org. they work in but as patriotic, sincere Pakistanis, they are playing their part. So basically they need chairs. They have food at home and kids and AC. They worry about those who dont. Dharna is more a smbolic thing than anything else. It is better than killing flies.

fruitforbidden said...

solutions anyone? @Adnan - LOL! :P
I'm somebody who hasn't made up her mind yet to side with any "Party", but I really don't like this "Nitpicking" approach. A pedantic account was all it seemed to be.

fruitforbidden said...

By the way, Pyala people should be thankful for the dharna to have happened cause' a farcical account of it sure has raised the "HITS" bar for the blog!

Imran Khan said...

This writer XYZ is not a Muslim. Because any good Muslim cannot criticize Imran log .. Akhir mai ne aap ke liye Shamianay lagwayay takay garmi mai kharab na hojao and look at the positive points: while Strings was singing a National Song on the dharna a girl was dancing in a quite sexy manner, really it gave me an orgasm. Don't think I'm not capable of an orgasm anymore. Ah, reminds me of Jemima. Man she was awesome, and what the hell is she doing with Hugh Grant these days?? No idea !! and Ali Azmat was there, and Zaid Hamid was also crouching under my seat somewhere and look we made Sunni Tehreek guys dance on a groovy number .. Waah !! maza agaya .. Next target: Lahore dHA cinema ke bahar dharna !!

Irfan said...

http://ghairatbrigade.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Totally pathetic nonsense article! people who critisize the legend Imran plz get the hell out of Pakistan and make your own country where you can spread your hatred.you losers have nothing better to do!
shame on you!