PTI: Imran Khan's delicate stitch! I have often participated in heated ideological debates on the issue related to the foundational principles on which Pakistan was established and how it should be governed. But why is it when it comes to supporting PTI and its political slogan of 'Naya Pakistan' many of the very same people are seen standing side by side despite their inherently contradictory ideological orientations? What makes these ideological fissures - on which traditional political parties have time and again built their political strategies - appear to be secondary in importance if not disappear altogether? Will such a unity outlive Imran Khan's own life? Or will we see a repeat of post-Jinnah ideological debates where each group attempts to drag the focal personality to its own ideological block without realizing that such an attitude is only leading to increased polarization? Unfortunately, the answers are not simple. Every narrative has a life of its own. A certain narrative may continue to live if the competing narrative shares no commonality. There is little incentive for any person supporting these contrasting narratives to concede. Facts, evidences and observations offer little help. Two dots can be connected to form a straight line as well as any other possible shape one can conceive. What scientific yardstick is there to declare one better than the other? More often than not, the apparent internal contradictions in the 'facts, evidences and observations' allow every person to assign specific weights to these data/information points such that the end narrative for any person is always somewhat different from the other. Taking this understanding back to where I started, Khan has knowingly or unknowingly managed to craft an alternative narrative which maybe more suited to our time. By 'suited' I not only mean its desirability but more specifically its offering enough incentive to varying factions that they may put aside their old narratives for a better one. This hypothesis is at odds with a recent article which argues that the politics of ideology is dead such that today's politicised youth is 'non-ideological.' Since the author confines the term 'ideology' to merely indicating the right-left divide, the obvious fallout is the overemphasis of 'credibility, rhetoric and charm of top leaders' as the key driving factors. Had this been the case, what stopped Khan from generating mass appeal in the recent past? On the contrary, a movement which was largely concentrated to the youth at its initial stage is increasingly generating appeal across other age groups as well. Surely it is difficult to explain away this shift purely on the grounds of 'credibility, rhetoric and charm of top leader' and/or generational effect. It is difficult to concede that an ideological person will be attracted to something less than a better ideology. Ultimately the puzzle depends on how one define terminologies. If ideology is defined as a narrative worth exerting for then there is little difference between the movement led by Khan and the earlier ideologically driven movements. The only key difference is that Khan has somehow managed to detach the political narrative from that of left & right and linked it to governance/institutions. There is no better evidence for this than the appearance of both the liberals and the conservatives under the PTI umbrella. Take PTI out of the picture and everyone will return to where they were. In other words, minus the new narrative/ideological shift, a liberal will be a liberal and a conservative will be a conservative with little mutual harmony. Any improvement in the perceived credibility of the house of Sharifs and that of Bhuttos will still have little to no attraction for the liberals and the conservatives, respectively. The new political ideology is no longer that of left & right but of governance and institutional reforms. The idea of 'change' is no longer linked to the specific mode of governance but with solving peoples problems. The old guards selling the religious or secular mode of governance are increasingly finding fewer and fewer buyers. The complementary narrative of democracy & dictatorship is likewise failing to hold for long with the countrymen and women. Khan has raised the narrative to a level which runs counter to the incentives of the existing ruling elite. He is no longer selling democracy as an alternate to dictatorship but he is selling accountability, power and freedom. He is not selling reduced inflation, less crime and no bomb blast but he is selling institutional professionalism achieved through zero political interference. He is no longer selling the Shariah of the right and the Secularism of the left, rather he has taken the game to the desired objectives of any of these governing systems - equality, justice and freedom! He is selling the morality/values of the religious east and the equality/justice of the secular west. He is shaping himself as a focal point of national unity. In short, Khan is playing Jinnah! The more the people buy what Khan is selling, the more difficult it becomes for the ruling elite to compete. The public agitation has forced people to reconsider what they really want. Do they want what Khan is selling? or do they want to stick with the old basket of goods? Khan knows this. He has realised that it is not the resignation which should be the prime objective but rather it should be the selling of this new narrative to as many as possible. The more he convinces this nation that the existing exchange between the rulers and the ruled stands redundant, the more electoral capital he accumulates for the final assault. However, PTI must not forget that only the one sitting on a high wall risks a great fall. It is no less imperative to emphasise that this carefully knit alliance on the fault lines of old ideological contradictions is only held together by Imran Khan's delicate stitch of new ideological narrative. Any desire by one of the ideological blocks within the PTI to drag the movement towards their side will lead to a catastrophic implosion. The mystery of unity is always an intellectual puzzle with no precise answer. Treat it as holy and a one-off blessing from God, The Benevolent!