When Imran Khan’s PTI lost the general election in 2014, the collective hearts of Pakistan’s youth sank in despair. More than half a decade ago, Imran Khan represented change, dynamism and a future worth fighting for. By the time the 2018 general elections rolled around, Khan’s image had already been tarnished – by playing the never ending blame game and his questionable political alliances.
In 2018, Khan defeated the political duo of Nawaz and Sharif, coming into power, a time when the youth had blind faith in his leadership and turned a deaf ear to whoever dared to criticise the ‘Naya Pakistan’ movement; Khan didn’t only represent an improved and better Pakistan, he also stood for a ‘Naye Soch’. But as time went on, the politics of power took front and centre, with radical changes being pushed further and further into the periphery until they disappeared completely.
Somehow, when Khan came to power, the conversation on what construed as ‘Naya Pakistan’ completely changed – instead of empowering the youth, freedom of speech, improved visibility of minorities and a freer way of thinking, the entire narrative shifted to corruption and how terrible the economy was. Then started a widespread campaign of bashing previous political parties for their ways, trapping Pakistan’s narrative once again in the past.
Fighting corruption was supposed to be a part of the ‘Naya Pakistan’ but it wasn’t supposed to be the entirety of it. With the nth amount of u-turns taken by Khan’s government, the ‘Naye Soch’ stopped being so new and so radical; every new policy showed a disconnect with the youth and every u-turn made the glimmer of hope die down a bit more.
The people sitting in government bodies have no idea what the youth wants and what their grievances are, which is a novel idea considering the Pakistani youth’s political impact: from Bhutto to Khan, the youth has crowned Prime Ministers, by rallying to the streets and flocking to voting stations.
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