Here’s what happens when the morality police lives in glass houses
Since the day PTI’s MNA Aeysha Gulalai has come out with the revelation of sexual harassment by the PTI Chairman through indecent text messages, the entire country is in the grip of a mud-slinging match.
The PTI Chairman, instead of straight away challenging the veracity of the allegations and proving his innocence by presenting his Blackberry for forensic evidence and checking of record by PTA to end the matter, chose to counter-attack the accuser by unleashing a filthy campaign of character assassination against her and her family members, particularly her sister through PTI women and MNAs. What has transpired during this wagging of the fingers is simply the most detestable spectacle that goes against the Islamic teachings and our social and cultural values, indicating the depths to which our morality has sunk as a society.
What a shame. There seems no end to it in sight. The rumpus created by PTI members in the assembly on Monday when Gulalai was allowed to express her thoughts by the Speaker, also sent wrong signals to the masses as well as the international community.
Whether the allegations leveled by Gulalai are correct or not cannot be said with certainty at this stage until a proper probe is held into the episode and the truth is ferreted out for which avenues are available. But it seems that PTI and its Chairman do not trust the parliamentary committee or the ethics committee proposed to the formed to deal with the issue and perhaps would like to drown the voice of Gulalai in the rattling noise that the party loyalists and supporter are making through the social media and other friendly forums of mass communications. Besides character assassination of Gulalai, the PTI Chairman as usual has come up with a bizarre allegation that she was doing it on behalf of the PML-N for which she has been paid handsome amount to malign him and his party. Reham Khan, former wife of Imran Khan has also been accused of having played her role in unfurling the campaign against PTI and its Chairman.
I think the strategy adopted by PTI is going to have a boomerang effect. This issue is not going to go away unresolved. The allegations have been leveled by a woman MNA. In a society like ours she has taken a big risk by coming out against male chauvinism because it is invariably the women who have to bear the brunt of the scandalous episodes and the stigma stays with them for life even if they have truly been the victim of the libido of their male counterparts.
The diehard supporter of PTI may and are dismissing the allegations as a conspiracy against Imran but the majority of the people tend to give credence to what Gulalai has said. It is said that an ill-reputed person is worse than the actual sinner. Imran Khan has a reputation of a play-boy and Sita White case – decided by a court in USA – strongly reinforces that impression. No matter how hard Imran Khan tries his past is going to haunt him forever. Therefore, while resorting to character assassination and mud-slinging of others, he must keep it in mind that he would not receive a bouquet in return.
Imran has been crying hoarse from every convenient roof-top demanding propriety and morality in politics saying that a public office holder and leader has to show higher moral character to deserve that place. Perhaps now is the opportunity for him as well to show his morality and facilitate unearthing of truth in this matter where he personally has been accused of sexual harassment.
But the portents are not very encouraging in this regard. Imran Khan perhaps wants to deal with it like the other political issues that he has dealt with during the last four years. It is pertinent to point out that during the Panama case he has been vociferous in claiming that it was the duty of the defendant to prove that he was not guilty and his duty as an opposition leader was only to level allegations. Now in this particular case he has reversed the logic as usual saying that it was Gulalai who had to prove that her allegations were true. I am afraid that does not portray him as an honest and upright leader that he tends to claim.
Nobody in his right mind can deny the fact that Imran was a political leader in his own right and had a considerable following in the country. He is aspiring to be the next Prime Minister of the country. How could he lay his claim on that august office without clearing himself of the charges of indecency and low morality? It is in his own interest to seek an end to this issue by adopting the right course if he honestly feels that he had been wronged for political reasons and there was no substance in the allegations raised by Gulalai. For that he does need a character assassination campaign against the accuser but to either let the parliamentary committee deal with the issue or adopt other legal courses available to him to set the record straight. Simply leveling counter allegations and trying to implicate his political opponents in the matter will not help to subdue the matter. This scandal could well be his political waterloo in the coming general elections marking the end of his political career. He should not take it lightly and adopt a right approach.
If he is able to prove the accuser wrong he would emerge as a stronger leader. In my estimation it is a make or break opportunity for him. In case he fails to clear the decks and the issue lingers on the way it is being tossed up now, the accuser could very well seek legal recourse under the Harassment of Women law already in vogue. If she does resort to legal action then Khan will have no option other than facing the investigations. It surely is a tricky situation. But if he thinks he is right and innocent then he should have no fear. The record of the Blackberry can be easily verified by PTA to corroborate the allegations or otherwise. It is an age of sophisticated technology and nothing can escape undetected.