By Agha Iqrar Haroon
On October 27, as soon as the Islamabad High Court rejected the PTI Chairman’s bail in the cipher case, Imran Khan’s Twitter handle (now called X) posted the same old catchphrases that his life was in danger and the state plans to kill him.
He has again been on the same blame-game path that led to heavy losses to Pakistan, his party, his politics, and PTI followers. His irresponsible attitude of throwing unfounded blames on others continues and he has not learned anything from the past and is still serving his super-ego like any cult personality. Having a self-centered and obstinate attitude, Imran Khan is once again trying to instigate his followers to develop the May 9 kind of vandalism in the country.
His latest fundraising campaign is also a part of his new plans. The PTI has appealed to its followers to raise funds for legal fees for its Chairman Imran Khan and his workers who are facing charges for the May 9 mutiny.
This fundraising campaign is based on the same imaginary claims and blames “Imran Khan and party workers who are in jail and are under threat of physical purge” so funds are needed to raise this issue internationally and to bill cases against them in courts.
As always, all PTI communication is based on the assumption that the whole judicial system has collapsed because PTI is not receiving the extraordinary treatment that it used to get during former CJP Bandyal. If so then why PTI is raising funds for contesting cases in courts?
When asked a PTI insider about this new fundraising campaign, he shared information that Imran Khan had ordered this campaign. One can safely say that even sitting in jail, Imran Khan is determined to create further problems for his remaining workers because any such event like May 9, 2023, would be dealt with stricter response this time. It is understandable that this time Pakistan Army may not follow the policy of restraint. This campaign indicates that one thing is obvious Imran Khan is not a person who learned from his political and personal blunders and mistakes and destroyed the entire party for his false ego. It has caused serious damage to the country, leaving the workers and party leaders nowhere, but no lesson has been learned from all these things.
A fundraising appeal was published on October 24 on PTI’s Official Twitter (now X) and the appeal sent two important messages to PTI followers— the first message is that neither PTI nor the family of Imran Khan have funds and financial resources to fight legal cases and the second message is that party leader and his rich family cannot help followers who are in jails and they can only be provided relief when other PTI followers gather funds for their legal help. The first possibility is an impossibility because the foreign funding case confirmed that PTI has huge foreign funds. Moreover, PTI itself confirmed that it collected over 10 billion rupees from two telethons held in August and September 2022 for gathering funds for flood affectees but PTI had never shared records where these 10 billion had been spent so the money must have been in the official bank accounts of PTI or lying at the residence of its Chairman Imran Khan. Additionally, official data already available in media about the Niazi family shows that the family has been worth billions of rupees in the shape of huge properties, bank deposits, cash, and vehicles parked in Zaman Park Lahore and Banigala Islamabad.
So should we think that the fundraising campaign is as usual an attempt by Imran Khan to get more money through a begging spree? Almost everybody knows that Imran Khan does not want to spend a single penny from his pocket for anybody so his followers themselves should get together and help each other. It is pertinent to remember that the personality of Imran Khan and the politics of PTI has a long history of leaving and forgetting those who stood and helped this party and its Chairman in the past. However, there is another approach to this fundraiser campaign.
Social philosophers call such fundraising a tool to trigger the “Need to belong” when some social/political group faces losing popularity and starts gathering old guards again to help the group. This is the feeling of ‘we-ness’ and campaign donors can become ‘lifesavers’ for their old friends.
Another aspect of the PTI fundraising campaign to develop is creating “Identity fusion”. PTI wants to give a pulse to donors to ‘fuse’ their own identity with that of jailed Imran Khan.
The PTI fundraising campaign is part of a process in which it wants refraction from the reality of disastrous actions that were taken by its followers before and on May 9, 2023. The drawn-out process of campaigning would slowly but for making large-scale “mental maps” of the sociopolitical landscape. Such mappings may not directly follow immediately however, may well have important long-range effects. Taking this point in mind, one can say that such fundraising campaigns have the motive to keep followers engaged against state institutions, particularly the Pakistan Army because those PTI workers who are in jail are in jail because they were sent to jail for attacking the Pakistan Army, therefore, this campaign is another move to pitch public against the state.
In 1984, Bruce E. Gronbeck in his academic paper “Functional and Dramaturgical Theories of Presidential Campaigning” writes that human beings are social actors and they are purposive creatures who both reflect standards for action fostered by collectivities and follow prescribed forms or rituals when seeking to express particular ideas and motives. The PTI exploits this innate shortcoming of humans and offers them motives by creating a “collectivities” of its own choice that is surely against the state institutions.
Stephen Mather whose extensive work in the field of “High Control Groups” (HCG) philosophy provides a base document to understand the working of HCG—an academic byword for Cults, believes that Cult uses the “Discipline of Organizational Psychology” (DOP) that keeps engaging Cult followers 24/7 by designing something new every day to get their attention and to keep them engaging with the Group and that is what PTI does. A powerful motivator often used HCG for pitching fears as PTI always uses the “fear” component. Now “it is feared by the PTI that the arrested workers of PTI and Imran Khan would be persecuted and persecuted” so they need immediate help and the matter is “now or never” nature.
Stephen Mather believes that HCGs use positive motivators to get their followers to devote their time, energy, and material goods to a Group. This factor is also part of the PTI fundraising campaign because it is asking followers that fundraising is for the betterment of families who are jailed, therefore providing a sense of purpose and personal fulfillment.
Stephen Mather claims that many HCGs (Cults) are registered charities. For a normal charity, there is no need to manipulate or lie to an individual or person who has the desire to help someone or some cause but HCGs add fabricated information such as “help them otherwise they will be killed”, “Don’t be late in helping before A/B/C (subject) losses hopes”. Such manipulation and lies create hype for immediate action and this hype is usually used against someone and in PTI’s case—this someone is the Pakistan Army.
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.