Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is no Ertugrul Ghazi


Turkish TV series “Resurrection Ertugrul” these days is a household craze in Pakistan and among the Muslim world around the globe. Recently Pakistani Prime Minter Imran Khan directed the state-run Pakistan Television aka PTV to televise the series with dubbing in Urdu. Once the series was televised it became an instant hit in Pakistan. The Turkish actor Engin Altan Düzyatan starring in the title role as Ertugrul and the female actress Esra Bilgiç playing as Halima Hatun became an instant hit in Pakistan. Other supporting characters like Cengiz Coşkun playing the role of Turgut and Didem Balçın playing as Selçan Hatun also gained a ton of admiration and love from Pakistani fans. So immense is the following that these actors were able to win lucrative modeling contracts for Pakistani products like designer fabrics and brands.

The Theme of the Story

The TV series Ertugrul brings into reality the past accomplishments of Muslim Turkish Rulers and conquerors from the 13th century, who through their belief in Allah and teachings of prophet Muhammad PBUH were able to win impossible battles against their enemies. Rising from the life of poor nomads, Ertugrul was able to inspire a simple nomadic Kayi nation into the generation of a strong and mighty empire known as the Ottoman Empire. Erugrul had three sons and the youngest named Osman became the forefather of the Turkish Ottoman empire whose offspring Sultan Mehmed the second conquered the great invincible city of Constantinople, the Eastern Roman Capital.

The entire TV series is highly motivating for Muslim youngsters living in third-world countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India or the diaspora around the globe. The TV series highlights the importance of being brave and believing in hard work and self-belief and leaving the rest to Allah Almighty. The significance of being a leader and making the masses believe in the final destiny or goals is another major inspirational lesson that could be extracted from this historical Muslim character or story.

The Motive

Now let’s get to the current day’s affairs in Pakistani politics. The question to be asked is why Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted the nation to watch this TV series and what lessons he wanted the nation to learn from Ertugrul’s character. He wants the nation to be steadfast and rally behind his vision for Pakistan or for that matter the promises that he has made to his supporters before coming into power.

Economic Progress

The last two and half years of PM Imran’s government has been more or less a failure if we look at it from the social and economic indicators. The very high inflation and the unemployment rate have brought the citizens to embrace poverty, food insecurity, and hardship. The economic growth is disappointing and the businesses are not investing. Some of it can also be attributed to economic stagnancy due to the COVID-19 pandemic however much of it is due to the inability of Imran Khan’s government to inspire the foreign businesses and investors including the Pakistan Diaspora to invest in Pakistan.

Social & Welfare Progress

On the social and welfare side as well there have not been significant improvements. The education budget was further reduced during the 2019-20 and 2021 budget years. Pakistani military establishment continues to dominate a major portion of the Pakistani budget (approx $7.2 Billion in 2020) and hence there is no room for investing in human development or improving public health services where the budget was limited to $148 Million.

Recently Pakistani Prime Minister acknowledged his failure to be prepared for the job before coming to power and hence it explains why Imran Khan was not able to bring the slightest of positive change in the fortunes of this country even after two and half years in power.

Social Justice

Imran Khan has also failed to improve the Pakistani justice system. On one hand, he has used the National Accountability Bureau aka NAB as a tool to suppress the political opponents however none of the actual perpetrators of corruption have received actual punishment. The former PM Nawaz Sharif was allowed to slip away from punishment on medical grounds. Imran Khan’s government under pressure from the courts and establishment allowed Nawaz Sharif to leave the country.

Besides, the NAB cases against the political opponent like former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former Finance minister Miftah Ismail were proved to be fabricated and could not last long in the court of law. His allies like Jehangir Tarin, the billionaire industrialist from Punjab, was allowed to escape the country when allegations against him for the sugar scandal gained heat and pressure in media and public. Multiple transfers of IGs in Punjab also disappointed his followers who expected PM Khan to stick to his words and bring about reforms in the Police however continuous interference from the executive has resulted in a disappointing state of affairs in that area of governance as well.

Governance Devoid of Principles

Overall these have been disappointing two and half years of Imran Khan’s government and while he continues to try and give hope to his supporters through his speeches and by televising the Ertugrul series through state Television, his actions have been disappointing.

He is of no comparison to the great historical character Ertugrul who was a man of words and principles. What we have learned from Ertugrul that he believed in certain values and always stuck to them no matter how hard the path was to the destination. So far PM khan has changed his path so many times on multiple issues that now he is taunted by his detractors as “Mr. U-Turn”. His followers are confused that whether he believes in the values given by founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah or in the values of the dictator Ayub Khan (former Pakistan Military ruler dictator from 1958- 1968) or whether he believes in a democracy when he gives an example of Europe and Noway or autocracy when he admires China or General Ayub Khan.

Final Verdict

While he was a great and successful Cricket captain for Pakistan in the eighties and nineties, it is yet to be seen if he can bring the same luck to the Pakistani people as a prime minter of the country. What we have seen so far he is no Ertugrul Ghazi who could change the fortunes of his nation by sticking to the values and principles he believed in. For now, he is just sticking on to hold the power by changing directions as needed. Two and half years have passed or about to complete and the other half will be a lot harder as the final count down to his five years term will begin.