Coward can’t be a leader, Tarique Rahman needs to learn from Imran Khan


On February 8, Pakistan conducted a national election amid a series of crises. Notably, ex-primer Imran Khan and his party, which are being disqualified at the behest of Pakistan’s mighty military establishment, resulted in Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) remaining absent from directly joining the electoral race. The election was striving to fill 265 seats with 128 million eligible voters, but encountered a setback as one seat was postponed due to the unfortunate death of a candidate. Pakistan’s military has long held influence on the political landscape, and has intensified in recent years. Despite facing various challenges, including the imprisonment, the former primer, Imran Khan urged his supporters to exercise their voting rights. He also expressed unwavering commitment to his stance. As the nation navigates toward a potentially fragile coalition government, the resilience of democracy prevails in Pakistan.

While Khan retains widespread popular support in Pakistan, the military-led establishments have persistently cracked down on Imran Khan and his party leaders, barring them from participating in elections. The PTI was deprived of the right to use its cricket bat symbol, and every conceivable method has been employed to sever ties with their voter base. Despite these challenges, Khan and his leaders have not left the political battlefield, and Khan’s political acumen has yielded dividends. Similarly, in Bangladesh, the de facto leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Tarique Rahman, and his leaders committed a serious political blunder by abstaining from participation in the last 12th national parliamentary election.

In terms of military interference in different institutions, Bangladesh appears to be in a better position than Pakistan. Tarique Rahman’s decision to keep the BNP away from the electoral process reflects a lack of commitment to his party members and fellow countrymen as well as his inefficiency of leading such a large political party. The electoral system serves as only means to show up his/her participation in the democratic system. But, in no way it is acceptable, when Tarique Rahman infused violent measures to obstruct voters from engaging in the democratic process. Imran Khan, facing accusations and incarceration, but he knows his innocence, and he is exhibiting moral courage to confront any perceived hurdles. In contrast, Mr. Rahman lacks the same moral fortitude as Khan to confront the accusations leveled against him.

PTI’s top leaders faced imprisonment, and the party’s candidates confronted various challenges in their process to join the election. Concurrently, there was a widespread perception that Nawaz Sharif had gained favor from the generals and was on track to win the majority of seats in the polls. Ultimately, in a democracy, it is the voters who hold the decisive sway over the fate of rulers. In contrast, BNP and its leader, Mr. Rahman, appear to lack confidence in both their leaders and the voters. Tarique Rahman’s current political misstep is likely to have substantial consequences for his future leadership. Notably, even PTI’s candidates resorted to running as independents, using a mishmash of symbols on the ballot papers.

In the election, although PTI secured more seats than its rivals, it was unable to attain the sufficient number required to form a government. Furthermore, in Pakistan’s complex election system, independent members alone cannot constitute a government and political parties will have the reserved seats allocated based on their victories. It is crucial for Pakistan’s democracy that Imran Khan’s popularity will continue to play a significant role in the political landscape.

In Bangladesh, BNP is relatively better positioned compared to PTI in Pakistan. In the last general election, an unprecedented 63 independent candidates emerged victorious, with voters in those constituencies notably casting their ballots against the ruling Awami League. As a political analyst, I believe the 12th national election could have been more competitive and democratic if BNP had participated. The grassroots supporters of BNP could have mobilized, bringing any perceived partiality or unethical irregularities by the incumbent government to the global stage. However, with BNP boycotting the election, a substantial number of supporters remained silent and uncommitted. This lack of commitment not only undermined the party’s structure but also inflicted damage upon the country’s democratic system.

At the same time – on part of Awami League, now possibly is the best possible time to initiate an investigation into the allegations of BNP’s link with Al Qaeda, as such allegations can lead to BNP being considered as a terrorist organization by every nation – including the United States. To my utter surprise, Awami League leaders are not touching this topic while it is the weakest and most vulnerable issue for BNP and Tarique Rahman. Once BNP’s connections with Al Qaeda is proved – Britain shall also not take any risk of hosting him any further and may extradite him or at least deport.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here