Tackling your opponents is a skill that starts with profiling your opponents. I am banker by profession and had to deal with a lot of delinquent clients in my career. The starting point in dealing with them was to profile them and adopt appropriate posturing and strategy for each client.
In order to profile our clients, we profile the key decision makers and how they would react to the situation? In one case, we had to deal with a client whose owner was a goalkeeper in a club football team. What goal keepers do? They defend goals dive left & right, jump catch the ball, punch and kick to defend. So, it was given that he will try to do everything to save his company and defend his actions that brought the company down. How we got him on our side? We told him that we are not here to bring his business down but to help it resurrect. He listened and cooperated. Eventually we made him agree on what we thought will help him get out of the difficulty and reached an agreement with him. Had we adopted a strategy of hitting hard on the owner, he would have, following his natural instinct of a goal keeper, either defended or deflected our moves.
Now let’s profile PTI. It is a party that has emerged and a third largest party by Imran Khan’s effort over 18 years. He is the sole decision maker, although he has core committee, which is a consultative body that decides. Now let’s profile Imran Khan. He was a fast bowler all his life. What are natural instincts of a fast bowler?
- He wants to bowl at you as fast as he can with a new ball.
- He does not mind hurting you physically by bowling bouncers etc
- He wants to get a wicket as soon as possible
- Once he gets one wicket, he bowls faster and more furiously to get more wickets (general bowlers instinct as well)
- When the ball gets older, he uses reverse swings, yorkers, slower, faster deliveries to deceive the batsman
- Go after the umpires by giving them dirty looks and blaming them for not giving out
- He never gives up. When tired, he takes rest and then bowl at you again.
In a nutshell, Imran Khan has displayed all these traits of a fast bowler. He started with 4 seats, then re-count of all seats and now resignation of the Prime Minister. He has constantly barraged people with new stuff. He keeps coming back and uses every technique to get the prized wicket of Nawaz Sharif. He has blamed umpires and the whole management for not giving him wickets and forcing a defeat on his team.
How good batsmen deal with such bowlers?
- They leave deliveries not attacking the stumps to tire them up.
- Defend the good ones
- Keep hitting the loose ones.
- Don’t throw their wickets away on bad deliveries
How did Nawaz Sharif deal with it?
He started well by not giving into Imran Kahn’s demand to investigate the four seats. He directed Imran Khan to go to the election tribunal with his grievances, because they are the competent authority to deal with election complaints.
- Imran Khan, started the blame game and said everybody involved in the rigging. Nawaz Sharif did well to ignore these accusations. In cricketing terms, left the wide deliveries.
- Imran Khan then started bowling threatening deliveries to hurt Nawaz Sharif, long march sit ins etc. He held rallies and threatened with a million march. In other words he started to bowl new type of deliveries. Imran Khan became more aggressive by bringing in TUQ, “WOH” and started the long march.
- This rattled Nawaz Sharif and he gave the first chance by to Imran Khan by agreeing to investigation on 4 seats and setting up a judicial commission under Supreme Court to investigate election rigging. Nawaz Sharif should have never that given that chance. Imran Khan, sensing that he could get Nawaz Sharif out, became more aggressive.
- After the long march, Nawaz Sharif started playing defensive by involving the third umpire to mediate on Imran Khan’s and Tahir ul Qadri’s appeals.
- He then gave five more chances by agreeing to talk with PTI and give on 5 more points. Imran Khan got five wickets. He sensed that he can get more and started bowling aggressively ( A natural bowler’s instinct)
- Sensing that he could get the prize wicket not by legitimate deliveries, Imran Khan started blaming the playing conditions, the biased umpires, neutrality issues and demanding voluntary retirement of Nawaz Sharif (his resignation).
What should Nawaz Sharif can do now?
- Completely reject Imran Khan’s rigging allegations. Play aggressively
- Retract from earlier agreements and stop negotiating with PTI. He should send Imran Khan back to the election tribunal to review individual complaints as he had done it in the past.
- Take a more aggressive stance (play on the front foot) against Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri and:
- Get a resolution passed in the parliament to use force against Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri to get them out of Islamabad.
- Get the parliament to pass a law with 2/3rd majority banning all protests, dharnas in the capital city beyond one day.
- Mobilize police, law enforcement agencies to crackdown on Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri,
- Give three warnings to people to vacate the city. Provide transportation to the people who want to go home under police protection. If they do not leave, then crack down on them. Enough is enough.
- Arrest Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri for creating law and order situation. Proceed with the cases against them in the courts under the terrorist act,
- Carry out the reforms through the Election Reform Committee.
- Not allow any in subordination of the government institution.
What should Imran Khan do?
- His dharna has become counterproductive. He should call it off and claim victory, which it is, because he has got 5 out of six demands met.
- He should go back to doing good work in KPK Province and damage control in Punjab & other Provinces
- Get back to sitting with the main stream political parties and friends to get them on their side
- Withdraw resignations of MNAs and work in the parliament.
- Try and remove the perception that he is against the military operations in North Waziristan.
- Play positive politics and work with government on development projects that are good for the country.
- Disassociate completely from Tahir ul Qadri.
- Re-organize PTI and prepare for the next elections, which are three and half years from now. I believe that Imran Khan still have his followers and he should not lose them because of immature politics. His supporters are getting disgruntled.