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Reham Khan: In Pakistan, a Maulana’s dharna is making Imran Khan the rock star sweat

Whether Maulana Fazlur Rehman is coming to Islamabad or not, we all know that ‘winter is coming’ for Imran Khan’s Pakistan.

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Bachna ae haseeno, lo main aa gaya – is probably how Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan thinks of himself. And why wouldn’t he? Most people think he lives a rock star’s life. But all he has been doing of late is donning Islamist robes.

If Khan’s transformation from hanging out in the posh clubs of London to counting the tasbih (prayer beads) as PM wasn’t enough, he has intentionally or unintentionally transformed Pakistan from a progressive state to an extreme-Right, nuclear weapon-brandishing Islamist state.

Now, cruelly, a Maulana and his Azadi March are threatening to disrupt Imran Khan’s ‘Naya Pakistan’. And Imran Khan knows this much –no one announces a dharna until they get the ‘Umpire ki ungli’.

Also read: Imran Khan’s party rose to power on dharnas. Now it is hilariously trying to stop Azadi March

Azadi march

Last year, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) taunted Maryam Nawaz Sharif by turning her fiery slogan of ‘Rok Sako Tu Rok Lo’ into a hip election song – ‘Rok Sako Tou Rok Lo Tabdeeli Aayi Re’.

Now that taunt is coming back to haunt PM Imran Khan and his party. Little did the Barelvi brigade know they were paving the way for a rather strict Deobandi brand of Islam to gain ground in Pakistan.

Now Maulana Fazlur Rehman and his Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) are ready for their mega ‘Azadi March’ to Islamabad against Khan’s government. From fake news to ministers warning of failure, nothing can deter the Maulana.

As dark November approaches, the country is chanting the new JUI-F tarana. It’s a clever Sharia spin on the Tabdeeli song: “Maulana aa raha hai, Maulana aa raha hai.

The Azadi March is scheduled to start 27 October.

Purana Pakistan

We have gone from being the first Muslim nation to twice elect the stunning Benazir Bhutto to having a First Lady who isn’t even seen receiving the British Royal couple or accompanying Imran Khan on foreign trips.

Within a year, Pakistan has regressed from a modern state ready to launch another strong female leader – Maryam Nawaz – to a country that would make Zia ul-Haq proud.

And the province of Punjab deserves a special mention. It has been badly hit by the lacklustre performance of chief minister Usman Buzdar. He replaced the dynamic Shehbaz ‘Speed’ Sharif, the younger brother of former PM Nawaz Sharif. Shehbaz Sharif had not only handled the dengue epidemic effectively and left Lahore sparkling clean, but had remarkably managed to bring in the women protection bill in a rather conservative province despite criticism from his own senior party members.

Also read: Ex-Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s suffers angina attack, health worsens


Now as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) slaps our wrist and gives us four months to clean up our act before reconsidering our grey list status, we see the most dreaded powerhouse in Pakistan, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, threatening the PM with a sea of hardy men marching into the capital. All the while torturing Immy with his signature, confident, menacing laugh.

Maulana also advised the head of the government negotiation committee, former CM of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak, to bring the PM’s resignation with him in his pocket.

As the talks continued into a second round late Friday evening, the atmosphere, according to Pervez Khattak, was cordial as Maulana was gracious, but a rather irate Imran was clearly frustrated with a dharna at his own doorstep.

Did Imran Khan make the connection that it is exactly one year into his government that he too faces a dharna like the one he staged against Nawaz Sharif back in 2014?

Perhaps he doesn’t have time to think much. He has too many issues to resolve. There is the economy, which needs a cash injection. Imran Khan’s meeting with billionaires like George Soros might go to waste if he can’t keep the ‘madrassa crowd’ off the streets of the capital.

The mediator role that Imran Khan volunteered to play between arch-rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia looks rather compromised if the skipper can’t keep his own house in order. The Election Commission of Pakistan has also chosen to look into the case of the suspected foreign funding of the PTI. The party also decided to walk off from the proceedings.

And if this was not enough to rouse sympathy for the Pakistani superstar, former PM Nawaz Sharif is feared to be battling death as his platelets plunged to a dangerously low level while he was in custody. If anything were to happen to the three-time PM, hailing from Pakistan’s largest province, all eyes would be on Imran Khan.

Also read: Imran Khan wants to forge Iran-Saudi peace — goal Pakistan has failed to achieve in 48 yrs

Winter is coming

All this at a time when the Maulana’s minimum demand is the immediate resignation of Imran Khan, followed by fresh elections. The dharna’s list of demands then goes on to seek assurances that religious laws will be protected under all circumstances. Maulana has been vocal about Imran Khan’s intention to recognise Israel, but the PM has denied it.

Imran Khan, on the other hand, is doing what he does best – panic, insult and not listen to reason when faced with a crisis. Not only did he snub the son of the late Maulana Sami ul-Haq when he was politely requested to adopt a moderate tone when talking about Maulana Fazlur Rehman, but he reportedly is also not on the best of terms with Pervez Khattak.

Imran Khan Friday evening is believed to have slammed the phone down on Khattak saying that he had rejected the demands of Maulana. Don’t waste time talking to these people about their demands, the PM instructed Khattak. Instead, only venue options should be discussed.

That will be difficult because all major and minor roads leading to Islamabad will have container trucks and motorways will be sealed. It appears that the government itself will lock the capital down.

On the surface, Imran Khan keeps telling reporters in press conferences that he and the military are together. Whether Maulana Fazlur Rehman is coming to Islamabad or not, we all know in our bones that ‘winter is coming’.

Reham Khan is a journalist, child rights activist, and a single parent. She authored ‘Reham Khan’, an autobiography. Views are personal.

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  1. Like most Pakistani and Pakistani origin so-called celebrities, Reham Khan seems to be full of herself. She stays aloof and does not respond to any comments on her Facebook, and, as is obvious here, on her own articles. With such attitude, it is a waste of time to comment on her presentations. It is good that she has exposed the hypocrisies, lies, flaws, and contradictions of Imran Khan and PTI. However, lacking an adequate knowledge of political economy, philosophy, sociology, and mass psychology, she is unable to identify or discuss any effective alternative or solutions to all-pervasive crises, with which Pakistan is currently inflicted. She has been supporting the extremist capitalist-feudal leaderships of PML-N and PPP, ignoring or white-washing their immense corruptions and accumulation of wealth. Nawaz Sharif was elevated in politics by the worst military dictator in Pakistan’s history, Zia-ul-Haq, who, if I remember correctly, also restored the private ownership of his nationalized steel mills. Later, whenever he became PM, he stated cycles of privatizations of national assets, shifting their profits to private owners from expenditures on peoples’ needs. Has she forgotten that Asif Ali Zardari was known as Mr. Ten Percent and Benazir Bhutto was a thoroughly westernized and was acting as a puppet of US and Western imperialism, betraying the policies of her own father in that regard, who was the first leader in Pakistan, who made an effort to reduce the country’s dependence on US and western imperialism, and evolve a relatively independent foreign policy? As far as Maulana Fazlur Rahman is concerned, he has no concrete program or potentials to solve the vast and deep politico-economic problems of Pakistan, which cannot be solved without replacing capitalist and feudal political economy, with non-capitalist and non-feudal political economy. He is engaging in vast generalizations about democracy, freedom, peoples financial miseries, etc. To be sure, the country in dire need of getting rid of Imran Khan and PTI government, and it will be a great accomplishment of Maulana if he could do that, as there is no other political force at this time that can do that. The Left has become totally impotent and is disunited.

  2. Very cheap story. Full of blames. Reham has nothing to sell other than Imran’s name. This is the integrity of Imran that he has not spoken even a single word about Reham after divorce.

    But we think, in one way, its good as, at least, she can make some money by selling his name otherwise she is a so called intellectual(fake intellectual). As her ex husband said about her education in UK that she got any degree from anywhere in UK, which she was claiming before.

    A fake journalist!

  3. why indians are so concerned over pak internal politics. why pak discussed in their election rallies? can we talk about their democracy? state institutions? their mythological religion? their secularism? culture? practices? where will end? you ppl will find no place to hide if pak people started commenting on you life style. your rituals will bring a sham to you. be limited to india as you remained for thousands of years. you lack universal approach so comments will be limited as ur intellect is local for thousands of years. moreover, u just have seen 70 years of rule yet to learn manners of rule. what is happening in india happens when a low life community gets rule after being a mere 2nd class subject for centuries.

  4. The current multidimensional crisis in Pakistan is the compounded form of all the previous accumulated politico-economic, cultural, social, educational, mass psychological, and other problems, issues, and crises, since its independence in 1947 that were, and are, both the result of the objective structure of the feudal-capitalist-dependent politico-economic system, as well as of the wrong, incompetent, and corrupt leaderships, policies, and actions. Following is a section of my February 15, 2012 article, with the link below, on Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Imran Khan, the analysis of which has proven to be accurate. The only mistake in it was the statement, “Imran Khan himself seems to be an honest and courageous person.” As it has become abundantly self-evident he is is mostly a puppet of the all-powerful military establishment in Pakistan and has done mostly the opposite of he and PTI had promised to the people of Pakistan. The crisis under him and the PTI has worsened immensely.

    Feudal-Tribal-Capitalist-Military dominated “Democracy” was always a façade in Pakistan. Under PTI, it is becoming even more bizarre and hypocritical. It is a great delusion to think or speak of democracy in general, without considering its class nature and basis. One must never overlook the radical differences between capitalist and socialist democracies. Capitalist democracies everywhere, including those in the USA and Europe, are overflowing with all types of anti-democratic contradictions and problems, and are increasingly becoming decadent and advancing towards fascism.

    On Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI)

    As many Pakistanis are pinning their hopes on the PTI and its leader, Imran Khan, it would be useful to briefly examine its potentials, in relation to the above program.

    PTI is relatively far better than all the other major political parties, on various issues. However, the crucial question is whether it has any concrete program, specific goals, or potentials to turn things around, resolve the current devastating crisis, and create effective solutions to the complex problems that constitute this crisis. The answer to this question has to be in the negative. No, it does not have such a concrete program, specific goals, or potentials. If it comes to power, only some cosmetic changes and reforms should be expected.

    Imran Khan himself seems to be an honest and courageous person. However, he is surrounded by opportunist, corrupt, bureaucratic, and incompetent people, many of whom he has placed in key positions. Moreover, he is a relatively wealthy person and his intellectual, politico-economic, and philosophical perceptions and horizons are limited and mutilated by his upper class situation. Like all the other Pakistani politicians, he has no interest or ability to identify or address the fundamental causes of the immense problems of social justice, inequality, corruption, and other issues, which are rooted in the feudal-tribal-capitalist-dependent class structure and divisions of the Pakistani society and politico-economic system. In any case, important politico-economic and social changes do not result from personalities or cults of personalities. These result from concrete and well thought out objective programs and sincerity, integrity, and resolute struggle to implement them. Pakistani culture is still bogged down in the subjectivist cults of personalities, with which all kinds of crooks, including most politicians, mesmerize and fool the people constantly and repeatedly. This is a huge problem in the politico-economic, religious, and other affairs of the nation.

    If anyone imagines, believes, or claims that he can solve the colossal problems of corruption; poverty; unemployment; inequality; injustice; crime; foreign debt; terrorism and state terrorism; dependence, loss of sovereignty, and subservience to imperialism; and deep and violent religious, regional, and class divisions, without radical changes in the politico-economic system and institutions in Pakistan, he is either a hypocrite or ignoramus or drowned in delusions.

  5. Imran Khan is still favourite man of powers-that-be of Pakistan.But People of Pakistan are slowly showing dislike for him.Then,there will be turn of yours, Reham Khan certainly.


  6. It is about the Muslim world, from Indonesia to Morocco, lagging behind the rest of the world not by ten or twenty but five hundred years. They are there and we are here but we are still caught up in dogma and old things and the world of knowledge, the torch of learning, passes us by, firmly beyond our reach. AYAZ AMIR

  7. There are two faces of Pakistan – one represented by what we profess and proclaim, and the other by what we actually do, and we live happily with this split personality, oblivious to the fact that the resulting hypocrisy has become a national characteristic. Not only in relation to drinking but to so many other things, we say one thing and do something completely different, without this contradiction disturbing us unduly. Ayaz Amir, 30/12/16

  8. ”And Imran Khan knows this much –no one announces a dharna until they get the ‘Umpire ki ungli’.’
    The author says in her book, ” One of the things that amazed me was how and why our intelligence agencies did not expose this man, despite knowing the full extent of his lustful antics, drug abuse, and general immorality. ” Well , the umpire knew all along that Imran can be used at their will and hence they put him in the chair. Now the umpire wants someone else to sit in that chair and hence the ‘azadi march’.

  9. ”Imran Khan’s meeting with billionaires like George Soros” Last heard, Soros is a Jew.
    ”Imran made a point of extreme public rhetoric against the Americans and Zionism, while sharing close ties with those who had a clear interest in furthering Israel’s cause.” Reham Khan.
    Now we know why the author has made this remark in her book.

  10. Reham Khan is the ex wife of Imran Khan.There are many articles that shes has
    written on Imran Khan after he became Prime minister.Almost all are critical of him.
    Definitilely, Imran Khan is person of dubious integrity and is a hypocrite.Equally true
    that Ms Reham Khan is talented and accomplished journalist, but given the history between the
    two,wont it be prudent to refrain from commenting on Imran in view of conflict of interest?
    Even if she does make valid points, it may be dismissed as a case of sour grrapes.

    • Imran Khan did not take Reham to court in spite of making explosive comments againsthim which proves her points. ”I had caught my husband ‘admiring’ male genitalia through his impressive DVD collection several times. It was embarrassing to walk into the bedroom of a husband who was pleasuring himself to images of male bodies while his wife was busy cooking in the kitchen. Initially, he would cover it very well by saying that he was seriously thinking of having surgical enhancement as he felt he could do with another two inches. This was a recurring conversation. Apparently, he had also done some research on it. I didn’t quite know how to respond to such a delicate matter in diplomatic fashion. I was genuinely shocked at his obsession, particularly at his age, and dismissed it as silly nonsense. But his insecurities lay deep. I found it sad and depressing.” She had taken his pants off.

  11. I think the Big Boots are done with I Khan; the cheesy quaver of 3-year extension to Bajwa appears to have backfired. The 2-star generals are back to the old trick of dharna-route to regime change; same roads, same containers, same crowd that I Khan waded through. Moulana was otherwise almost consigned to history.
    The film industry isn’t doing well there in Pakistan, so not much source of entertainment for the public there, otherwise!

    PS: Not too sure why Reham fired it in italics this time though.

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