While growing up I have always been intrigued by Imran Khan’s charisma. I was not in this world when Imran Khan brought the World Cup home back in 1992. But the legends of that glorious victory still echo in my home, which I believe are enough to quench my thirst to know about the first and the only triumph of Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup.
All the stories I heard about Imran Khan etched a very perfect image of him in my mind. Stories about his hard work, resilience, and perseverance have really affected my life and decisions. I have always thought of Imran Khan as someone who is way ahead of his time, who never really cares what others say about him, and is always gliding in his own thoughts, goals, and ambitions. These are some characteristics I have really wanted to develop in myself. I do not know whether I have been able to achieve that feat but one thing I know for sure is that these characteristics are the ones that push you towards achieving your goals.
Besides achieving goals for himself, Khan has put an equal effort in helping and lifting others up to live a proper life. His work for the establishment of Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital and Namal University is unprecedented. Looking at him and his work while being surrounded by blood-sucking leeches really gave a feeling,
‘Chalo is mushkil waqt mein koi to apna hai’
It was during October 2011, when I saw Imran Khan turning into massive political force. Still remember the eye-opening visuals from Minar e Pakistan when the Minto Park was throbbing with people from every caste and creed. The loud and definite slogans, soul-warming songs and their tempo syncing with the beat of the heart really changed the political atmosphere of Pakistan. It really felt as if the true ‘Leader of the Youth’ has emerged in Pakistan. As far as I can recall, I do not think I have seen such a massive ‘Jalsa’ in 18 years of my lifetime. The political image was completely changed now. A new chapter had begun.
There is a huge difference between 2019’s Imran Khan and 2011’s Imran Khan. As we say it in Urdu,
‘Yar aik baat thi Imran Khan mein’ back in 2011 Imran Khan raised up those issues which never really came under the spotlight. He talked about health, education, and entrepreneurship when others were busy dragging their opponents naked on the road.
When Nawaz Sharif was saying,
‘Zardari ko sarak par na ghaseeta to mera naam bhi Nawaz Sharif Nahi.’
Imran Khan talked about malnutrition. He talked about creating jobs and not just taking political revenge from his rivals. Imran Khan gave Pakistanis a hope and path to achieve the goals he talked about. Past me was all in for Imran Khan and his policies. Imran Khan was not a politician for me; he was a statesman but most importantly he was a leader. His politics were different. Imran Khan never agreed upon forming alliance with these alligators against whom he once raised his voice.
In short, Imran Khan talked about Pakistan and that was the very reason why I blasted PTI’s songs on the election day in 2013. Even though I was unable to vote but I left no stone unturned in supporting my leader. Converting my teacher from a PML-N supporter to a PTI supporter testifies the fact that I supported Imran Khan to a great extent.
To my disappointment, all the efforts went in vain when Khan lost the elections. And 2013 marked to be a turning point for Imran Khan’s politics I believe.
Imran Khan changed! to say the least, PTI changed. The faces who once advocated for Naya Pakistan withered away like flower petals in a spanking breeze, and new parlous faces joined in. The new faces talked about power and not Naya Pakistan. They talked about ‘Kursi’ and not reforms. The word of Naya Pakistan felt like a distant thought now. But Imran Khan, despite all this negativity and change of plans kept the spirit of Naya Pakistan alive.
Therefore, the pinnacle of Imran Khan’s political career came when he became the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. A person who once became the captain of Pakistan’s Cricket Team, led the team towards winning the World Cup had now become a Head of the State.
‘Kya Kismet Paye Hai.’ But more importantly, it was his hard work. And no one can deny this fact.
In the race of becoming the Prime Minister, we lost our way towards ‘Naya Pakistan.’ Khan added ‘politicians’ instead of ‘visionaries’ into his cabinet. My heart bleeds when I see Firdous Ashiq Awan defending him on Television. Firdous Ashiq Awan, once used to shamelessly defend Asif Ali Zardari and his corrupt policies. My heart bleeds when I see members of MQM, a political party who Khan claims is responsible for hundreds of murders in Karachi, in Imran Khan’s cabinet. My heart bleeds when these PTI politicians recklessly use the protocol and waste tax payer’s money, which once Khan said that he will stop. My heart bleeds when I see thousands of people leaving jobs and Ministers making fun of austerity scheme. My heart bleeds when I see all the promises being left unfulfilled.
Nothing has remained the same. But to this date, I believe in Imran Khan’s intentions. He is still all in for Pakistan and no one can raise a finger at his honesty, however, I do not think that honesty is what it all takes to run a country. There are many other factors involved. He is doing the hard work but that hard work is nowhere to be seen in this foggy situation. It is time Imran Khan must start identifying the snakes in his party. It is time Khan must revisit his roots as to why he started Pakistan Tehrik e Insaaf and laid the foundation of Naya Pakistan. He must re-think why gained the support of millions of youngsters overnight and why is he losing that support. Naya Pakistan was nowhere similar to what we see today.
‘Dukh hota hai jab apna bhi paraya ho jaye’ I still get inspired by Imran Khan and his actions. His struggles, hard work, and stories motivate me to date. He is the only political leader for whom I cried when he lost the elections. But now things have changed, I disagree with him on various policies but that is constructive criticism, and that is something people should do. Reality must stand and the reality is that Pakistan is literraly going through its darkest phase. There is still time to improvise. Because as they say, ‘Kabhi aagay janay ke liye aik qadam peechay bhi ana parta hai.’