Khan Needs To Stop Playing With Fire

Khan Needs To Stop Playing With Fire
Two of my Gordonian friends, Afzal Rizvi and Shahid Masud narrate an incident:

“It was November 1968.

The military dictator, the self-styled Field Marshal Ayub Khan was the sole helmsman of Pakistan. The students of the Polytechnic Institute Peshawar Road, Rawalpindi (now EME College) had taken out a procession. They had a scuffle with the police. The police opened fire, killing one of the students.

Then another incident. A group of students of Gordon College, had gone to Landi Kotal on a trip, and on their return, their goods were confiscated by the Customs at Attock. After that a Gordonian, Abdul Malik, was stabbed to death by unknown assailants. This incident took place behind the College.

Thus, we saw incidents, that had nothing to do with politics, spiralling into one.

We, a group of students, including Raja Anwar, Parvez Rashid, Rasheed Ahmad, Irfan Marwat and a few others protested in front of the Secretariat II (Ministry of Defence). Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) swiftly exploited these killings though he even did not know the victims’ names. He was able to mobilise the public sentiments against Ayub.

Protests broke out in every nook and cranny of the country that rocked his regime to its foundation. Eventually, he had to step down.”

Are not we watching the same frame again after 54 years with some added features?

The two students were not TV anchors or the so-called investigative reporters, Youtubers or social media activists like our friend Arshad Sharif. His death was reported by none except Nawai-e-Waqt (a paper known for raising voice against dictatorship).

On the other hand, Sharif was a powerful spokesman of the Pakistan Tehrik Insaf (PTI). He bent over backwards and burnt the midnight oil to defend the PTI and Imran Khan.

Arshad Sharif had told everybody including the Chief Justice of Pakistan that his life was in danger. He ran away from Pakistan and was killed in Kenya. His murder was widely reported here and abroad. Even his detractors mourned his death.

Arshad’s death was like a ‘no-ball’ to Imran Khan. The latter has left his wickets, come out of the crease thinking he will hit a big six. But considering his follies and impatience, it is expected that (like always) he will take a risky single and lose his wicket in ‘run-out’.

Khan thinks he is Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB). But he is not even a fraction of him. ZAB was fighting a dictator. Khan is bickering with his old masters that gave him the crutches with which he would walk in the prime minister house. He stumbled and fell when the crutches were called back and given to another needy candidate. His long march is a farce. The real long march was in the wake of the Lawyers’ Movement that started on March 9, 2007. Musharraf was in dire straits by the end of it on March 17 2009.

Today, no military dictator is at the helm. The long march has a design i.e. give me my crutches back! Let me appoint my own boy as the army chief.

Khan did not even have a popular mandate like the two-third majority that Nawaz Sharif always boasted about but which failed to protect them from military’s wrath.

Beside the crutches, Khan depended on Sheikh Rashid, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Aamir Liaquat, Faisal Vawda, Firdous Ashiq Awan and so on.

His followers, referred to as ‘youthias’ are his true followers who are good for nothing except assassinating others’ character with filthy language, slogans, tweets and doctored videos. The army can make an example of him any time but it has been keeping its cool so far. Khan should stop playing with fire or the flames will reduce him to ashes!

Mohammad Shehzad is based in Islamabad. He has been writing for national and foreign publications since 1992. He is the author of The State of Islamic Radicalism in Pakistan (Routledge Taylor & Francis) and Love and Fear: Poems Beyond Time ( He learns tabla and classical vocal music. He is a passionate cook and shares his recipes at Email: