The Diaspora, Its Hero And The Pakistani State

The PTI has very successfully managed to recruit an army of social media warriors and launched a vicious campaign against the military

The Diaspora, Its Hero And The Pakistani State

We are not witnessing the first campaign launched by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against Pakistan Army and surely not the last one. In fact, the Pakistan Army has been under fire since Imran Khan was voted out from office and anybody who can access social, electronic and print media understands that the foremost target of PTI is now Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Asim Munir. The hate-mongering against Pakistan Army eventually resulted in the horrific incidents of 9 May 2023, because PTI Chairman Imran Khan continues to engage in a campaign against the military in an attempt to put pressure on the General Headquarters (GHQ) for his way back into power. This continues even after failure in a methodically planned attack on state symbols.

According to information received from PTI circles, a series of interviews of Imran Khan has been arranged by lobbying groups for putting pressure on – or at least creating a justification – for the US Department of State, the Congress and the Biden Administration to talk about Khan’s situation in Pakistan and to raise more funds for families of arrested persons – as well as for further advertisement in Europe and North America targeting the Pakistan Army. PTI is also working for arranging money for visits of foreign journalists to Pakistan, who then would produce reports in favour of Imran Khan. The party has very successfully managed to recruit an army of social media warriors and launched a vicious campaign against the military. In fact, social media experts in the US and the UK are now waging a relentless media war against the Pakistani military and all those who dare to oppose Imran Khan in Pakistan. The social media soldiers of the PTI are more loyal to the throne than the king himself. 

Take the example of Mr Sajjad Burki, the chief proponent and focal person of Imran Khan in the USA. Since the last few months, he has been hurling vitriol and accusations against state agencies – and all his allegations are without any proof or evidence. In July he had appealed to Greg Casar, an American Congressman, to table a resolution in the Congress against the alleged human rights violations and the crackdown on the PTI. Burki and another PTI supporter claimed that they have the support of 86 US Congressmen, and that they will shortly condemn the Pakistani government’s action against the perpetrators of the 9 May attack on state institutions. 

Another stalwart, Dr Asif of Pakistan, appeared before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke bitterly against the government of Pakistan and asked for the help of the US government to get Imran Khan released. PTI activists organized a conference in Washington DC and during this conference, the US Government was asked why a lifeline of 3 billion dollars was given to Pakistan – referring to the IMF standby agreement signed by Pakistan. Ironically now the PTI supporters are asking the US government to help Imran Khan, when their hero had blamed the US for hatching a conspiracy to kick him out of the PM office. Who can forget his dramatic and theatrical act of waving a piece of paper in a public meeting as proof of a US conspiracy? 

Across the Atlantic, in the UK, is another volcano of venom headed by an ex-army officer called Major Adil Raja, who continues to fire volleys of baseless and false allegations against the Pakistan Army and its leadership. In this vicious and ugly campaign, Adil Raja is very faithfully assisted by some other Youtubers such as Haider Mehdi, Wajahat Saeed Khan, Shaheen Sehbai, Sabir Shakir and Moeed Peerzada. They continue their hate campaign with full vigour, without any qualms and without thinking about the damage they are doing to their own country just to promote their political hero and his political agenda. 

The Pakistani diaspora is scattered all over the world and they have every right to support ant political party in Pakistan, but they should also realise that the damage being done by the fanatical followers of Imran Khan is a malignant phenomenon that is doing immense harm to the image of Pakistan. The virus of political polarisation has seeped deep into associations of overseas Pakistanis such as the Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America (APPNA), where it seems that PTI activists have taken control.

During his stint in politics, Mr Khan has inculcated some very seriously damaging trends among his fanatic followers. Foremost, he has managed to introduce a culture of intolerance. The ability to appreciate another person’s thoughts and perspectives, even when they differ from our own, is what it means to be tolerant. A tolerant individual patiently hears other people’s viewpoints and makes an effort to comprehend them. They simultaneously communicate their thoughts or viewpoints without arguing bitterly. Accepting everyone’s viewpoints without stirring needless controversy is what tolerance entails. 

It is necessary that the Pakistani diaspora all over the world should realise the full scope of their responsibilities. Educated and affluent overseas Pakistanis should not allow any narrowminded vested interests to spew venom and spread lies against their home country. The present cult of the PTI believes that if they are not in power Pakistan does not deserve to live and this is a very dangerous way of thinking, which must be opposed. Imran Khan's political campaigns have always placed an emphasis on reaching out to Pakistanis living outside of the country. Many times, through his speeches, he has given the diaspora a sense of importance for being the sole hope for a crumbling Pakistan.

One hopes that they can find more productive ways of engaging with their original home country and its politics.