The other day travelling back from work, I happened to pop in to my local Pakistani take–away. This one advertised Peri-Peri chicken and ‘hot’ wings (which I love). Plus the manager loves to talk about nature, and the way in which Allah ordains the times of every living thing, and cares for them. Amazing that, an ordinary grass roots Pakistani/British citizen who inspite of all the corruption his aging eyes have seen still believes in God. It was a miracle I got served, given who was on the television, none other than the Chairman of PTI, Imran Khan. A former Pakistani cricketer making a speech in front of a thousand strong audience in Pakistan about corruption in politics.
PTI calls itself a centrist party advocating for an egalitarian model of an Islamic democratic welfare state. And it is the fastest growing political party in Pakistan; with over 10 million members in Pakistan and abroad. It received the second largest popular vote in the country, with a little over 7.5 million people voting for it on election day.Following massive allegations of rigging in the 2013 general election, Imran Khan‘s political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) demanded a probe into electoral rigging in 4 constituencies as a litmus test for the rest of the election process. Government inaction in this regard led the PTI to organise several jalsas (lit. protest demonstrations) throughout Punjab, which is prime minister Nawaz Sharif‘s political stronghold.
In August 2014, Imran Khan stated that for 14 months, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had tried to bring those who were responsible for rigging to justice, all in a legal manner through state institutions. The PTI produced a 2100-page white paper showing evidence of rigging. Despite this, no action was taken. Imran Khan argued that, normally, in any democracy, the Supreme Court of that nation would have nullified the results and called for fresh elections. Even after the evidence was presented and revelations by Afzal Khan, former additional secretary of the election commission, the Supreme Court also took no action.
The average British citizen might ask what this has to do with British politics; the answer is very, simple. Imran Khan and his party have taken up the anti-corruption cause and the people of Pakistan are flocking to him in their thousands. Because quite simply if the people on top can get away with being very, very, greedy, then the rest of society is travelling to hell in a hand basket.
Witness the likes of the Croydon Conservative Council Leader who quietly applied for a raise to his £100,000 salary, at a time when Croydon Council is being forced to consider cutting 500 jobs for lesser salaried employees. The erstwhile Rotherham PCC who spent fourteen years enjoying one lucrative pay cheque after another (whilst failing to do his job). Now the man is fighting tooth and nail to hold onto a job in which he’s no longer wanted. Would he be fighting quite so hard if the salary were £8,500 and not £85,000?
To take on Nawaz Sharif and his secreted millions and the politically powerful elite he’s part of is a very brave move. But then if the PTI weren’t that brave there’d be little point in believing in a beneficent Allah and the mosques of Pakistan would very likely be empty.