At the Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad, Imran Khan celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the founding of his party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI). To commemorate the twenty-three-year struggle of his party, which rose in popularity arguably due to a grassroots movement, the Prime Minister made a lengthy speech about his and the party’s personal efforts throughout the years, and on the one year that his party had heading the Federal Government.

One could argue that one year in Federal Government amasses more importance than twenty-two years as a minority political party. This speech by Imran Khan stands out being his first anniversary speech since taking the oath of the Prime Ministerial office. In that context, there ought to be a markedly different tone to it- this is no longer a commemorative speech by a minority leader highlighting the superiority of their party over the governing one. Rather, as an address of the Prime Minister at his party’s foundation day, the speech should have been one of triumph, yes, but also of statesmanship, of policy and of hope.

Unfortunately, old habits die hard, and Prime Minister Khan’s speech was not so different from his greatest hits from previous rallies. The Prime Minister recollected how he had everything a person can have but he gave it up to serve his country. Where Mr Khan appeared to touch on economics, the most pivotal factor in approval ratings of the country’s leadership, he opted for the unhelpful tactic of blaming the previous government, lambasting their corruption- a point which may be true but is reductive now. All in all, his speech was a crowd-pleaser as always to his supporters, but was not one of a statesman.

Yet there were some marked improvements. It is a hopeful indication that the Prime Minister acknowledged his mistake when he referred to Bilawal Bhutto as “sahiba”, an apology that was direly needed due to the misogynist nature of the insult. Secondly, he also confirmed more Chinese involvement in some economic programs, particularly the poverty alleviation program “Ehsas”. Ehsas is an ambitious social safety programme whereby a database would be set up under which the government will know about people’s income levels to better distribute economic help to those living under the poverty line.

Thus, while not entirely bereft of some helpful pointers of the government’s direction, the anniversary event of PTI, and Imran Khan’s speech, was a celebration rally of a party which still hasn’t come to terms with the fact that is in power, as neither have its leaders.