By Agha Iqrar Haroon
The vandalism that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) followers manifested on the tragic day of May 9, 2023, needs academic research to understand their political, social, and emotional perspectives and preliminary data available for their profiling is showing alarming findings.
Available data collected through observing their behavior in confinement and through informal questioning indicated that the majority of them have anger management issues and due to uncontrollable anger cloudiness of sensations has been observed, moreover, none of them is an extensive reader of books or even newspapers. Their understanding of state and nationhood is blurred mainly because of the exposition of different kinds and forms of states available globally.
The simple questions of the international/ global blocs, diplomatic ties, and state alignments are all alien concepts to them. Their only understanding of a state is an illogical comparison between a developed state and a developing state; neither they have answers for why a country is a developed country nor do they have answers for why some countries are still in the process of their development. The idea of a “welfare state” is their self-described notion and the erosion of ground realities is quite visible in their idea of statehood.
Data collected from their neighborhood, workplaces, and previous educational institutions raised questions about their social patterns and emotional stability as the majority of them are either going through medication for emotional regulations or at least once in their lifetime they had abused a substance
Their relations to the state (which they claim needs to be reconstructed) are based on total exclusion. Many of them either had been living abroad or they had already applied for foreign citizenship or were in the process of applying for foreign citizenship. Their distress about the system and anger towards their own circumstances has put them into psychological trauma.
With a very heavy heart, I am quoting the facts that data collected from their neighborhood, workplaces, and previous educational institutions raised questions about their social patterns and emotional stability as the majority of them are either going through medication for emotional regulations or at least once in their lifetime they had abused a substance. Due to their emotional imbalance; their relations with their co-workers, employees, neighborhood, and age fellows had been turbulent and edgy.
Imran Khan sold dreams to these vulnerable young souls for better days. Dreaming is not a bad thing but dreams without necessary actions can never be fulfilled. Imran Khan never had an action plan for the fulfillment of the lucid dreams he was selling
It is a human phenomenon that if the surroundings are not as per desires then the human threshold puts the cognitive system in a denial mode, a constant state of denial becomes life-pattern; detaching the individual from existing realities. Detached minds always looking for a comfortable frame of mind to function on a daily basis, can easily become victims of a sharp-tongue charmer. Imran Khan instead of giving them a reality check detached them from reality. He cynically exploited the fragile emotional state of these young, angry, agitated individuals and first taught them to verbalize their anger and later pushed them to materialize their anger just because they were not happy and uncomfortable in their own state of mind.
Imran Khan sold dreams to these vulnerable young souls for better days. Dreaming is not a bad thing but dreams without necessary actions can never be fulfilled. Imran Khan never had an action plan for the fulfillment of the lucid dreams he was selling. He as per habit insensitively manipulated the idea of revolution and provoked the lost dreamers to act as revolutionaries.
Their demand and questions are unusual but can easily explain that they are suffering from “Cognitive Dizziness”
As I have written above preliminary data has shown that these individuals were spending their time in virtually controlled societies, contrived by prejudices and discriminations had never read any revolutionary history or the mechanism and cost of revolution. I was amazed to see their responses after their arrests such as “We could have created a new Pakistan but they raided our houses, our families are not safe” and so on and so forth. They did not have the fundamental idea of a revolution that it is never voluntary, revolution is always a fight against the oppressors; actual or assumed and the rights revolutionary are fighting for, they have to snatch them and snatching is a close combat fight which is ugly, bloody, painful and harsh. They made a mockery of revolution, neither they were revolutionaries nor the state treated them as revolutionaries. A trained soldier having a weapon on him could reciprocate revolution within no time but instead, they were dealt as a delusional lot. Now, after being arrested for acting against the state they are in prison but their revolutionary comedy has yet not stopped. They are asking for comfortable jail cells, clean mattresses, home-cooked hot meals, and private showers.
Their demand and questions are unusual but can easily explain that they are suffering from “Cognitive Dizziness”. Such people mostly live in self-created realities, a world of their own, and surely go through the phase of “Mental Blocking” that is also known as psychological clogging. Mental blocks usually occur when someone gets trapped by his/her thought processes and may feel so overwhelmed or anxious about the interpretation of life by thinking that he or she is being stopped from doing the work required for the interpretation of successful life. Their defense mechanism teaches them to put the responsibility for their negative acts and failures on others. For example, PTI arrested followers say that they are arrested without reason although they were found burning and attacking state buildings, private properties, vehicles, and policemen.
Cognitive dizziness is more dangerous having catastrophic proportions than mental blocking because cognitive dizziness destabilizes mood, and creates anxiety, provokes feelings of exceptionality, vulnerability, and alienation. It modifies our state of mind and changes our experience of reality. Such behavioral traits are best to become the victim of a cult. Cognitive dizziness blurs perspectives of life and beliefs. The person going through this state lost the balance of thoughts and fails in creating space and movement between established taxonomies and perceived oppositions.
Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard gives the best example to understand this state of mind while citing an example of a person standing on the edge of a tall building or cliff. When this person looks over the edge, he/she experiences the focused fear of falling, but at the same time, the person feels a terrifying impulse to throw himself intentionally off the edge. Kierkegaard defines this experience as anxiety, caused by our freedom to choose: to either throw oneself off or to stay put. The mere fact that one has the possibility and freedom to choose, and to decide for even the most self-destructive of possibilities – this freedom triggers feelings of anxiety.
Clinical psychologists believe that profiling of such patients can be documented through data collection about their educational qualification (schools/college/university –private or public), games they like in childhood, and what kind of toys they used to play with in childhood, what color they like to wear? size of family, (large family unit/small family unit, etc.), what kind of music they like? (western, traditional) and how many friends do they have (introvert/extrovert/ extended relations or ever-changing relations)?
The behavioral observation of PTI-arrested followers indicates that victims are in a trance-like state
Since cognitive dizziness disintegrates a person from realities around her/him so disrespect of standard norms, elders, and social and legal laws is one of the immediate reactions of such personalities. If they are confronted and asked about their behavior, their immediate response usually is “So what if we break standard rules because standard rules are incorrect”. This response was documented while talking to over 90 percent of PTI followers under arrest because they live in their own woven world and follow rules given by their cult leader (Imran Khan) who tells them not to respect anybody who comes on their way in Haqeeqi Azadi (real independence). When they were asked what Haqeeqi Azadi is? their immediate response was that our leader directed them to dismantle the existing social and administrative system as the first step and then he (their leader—Imran Khan) will guide them on what actually Haqeeqi Azadi is. The behavioral observation of PTI-arrested followers indicates that victims are in a trance-like state.
This is the duty of civil society to actively participate in the rehabilitation of this deserted flock. It is the responsibility of mature minds to help these young individuals to realize that dream selling and a road map for the fulfillment of dreams are two different things. Nothing can be achieved easily, by a shortcut and by hustling around.
The idea of a prosperous Pakistan is a cherishable idea but it cannot be achieved by burning Pakistan and by cursing Pakistanis. The road to success is long and requires a slow and painful journey. It is high time to make them realize that in order to change the world around them they need to change themselves.
The writer Agha Iqrar Haroon is an international award-winning journalist and author of books who has been in the field since 1988 and appears in national and international media as an analyst and political scientist.
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.