Imran Khan's narrative still galvanises people

Imran Khan's narrative still galvanises people


Imran Khan’s narrative still galvanises people

By Salman Khan

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lynchpin Imran Khan has given the call for ‘Jail Bharo’ movement and a large number of party supporters and workers, led by stalwarts and local leaders, have honoured the call and thronged Lahore’s Mall Road to court arrest.

The massive public response to Mr Khan’s call for movement – which critics see as yet another ploy to stay politically relevant in these trying times – indicates that his narrative and persuasive power still hold appeal and resonance. The PTI’s social media handlers also go into overdrive to motivate people and put Imran Khan’s message across to the masses. Not surprisingly, a number of people including families have ‘volunteered’ for courting arrest.

The enthusiastic workers have also announced that they will convert the launch of the jail-cramping campaign into quite an event. Many consider party leader Imran Khan’s power of narrative a magnet which draws them towards his cause. “Fill up the prisons and break the idols of fear,” is what Mr Khan has said in the latest message to the party loyalists.

“Such a message and appeal do convince people to come out of their comfort zones and contribute to a cause. One may disagree with some policies of the PTI but Imran Khan’s overall narrative has an appeal of its own,” says a supporter.

“It is the PTI battle cry that helps it retain the magnetic pull after so many changes the party has undergone in the last few years,” he says. Imran Khan, he says, is a symbol of hope for a better tomorrow.

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The party supporters are equally mesmerised by slogans such as “Haqeeqi Azadi” (real freedom) and “do or die fight”. Not for nothing do they call Imran Khan “our red line”.

Although Imran Khan has long been enjoying public following due to his charismatic personality, he catapulted to fame on political firmament in Oct 30, 2011 public gathering and later at another event in which the PTI presented its resolution and reaffirmed its pledge to ‘reclaim Pakistan’ and lay the foundation of a new one. It was the leader’s narrative back then which struck a chord with droves of people.

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“This is not a flood, this is a tsunami. Anyone up against it will be swept away,” an emotional Imran told the crowd at Minar-i-Pakistan on the cool evening in 2011. And the participants responded with a joyous eruption and a heart-warming flutter of flags.