KARACHI: “The educated class is awake. For the first time, Pakistan has risen,” declared Imran Khan while addressing smartly-dressed professionals at the launch of Insaf Professionals Forum (IPF) (Sindh) on Sunday.
The chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was on a visit to Karachi to launch the IPF which hopes to lure experts of different fields to work with the PTI for the ‘development of the country.’
Businessmen, bankers, corporate executives and others from the attended the event to see what Khan had to offer to them.
“Fifteen years ago when I would invite a businessmen to join me, they would shrug it off,” said the PTI chairman. “But now when corruption is directly they have realised that it is necessary to be politically active.” However, Khan didn’t refrain from blaming the educated class for the current state of the country. “We are responsible for it,” he said. “They could have stood up against the injustice but they remained silent because they were scared.”
After this, Khan moved on to bashing his opponents. He called Nawaz Sharif “A parrot sitting on my shoulder which copies everything I do.” Laughter erupted in the hall when Khan referred to a promotional film shown in the event about PTI. “Now he is distributing laptops to youngsters with Shahbaz Sharif’s face on them,” Khan continued. “But he should know that the youth will join PTI after they get the laptop!”
The president of Engro Corporation, Asad Umer, said that he had no intention of joining the IPF himself but encouraged others to join it because it was a “great initiative.”
Wearing the green t-shirt of the last year’s cricket World Cup, he quoted Plato and said that the educated people can make a difference by joining politics. “Stand up and be counted,” he said, as the crowd cheered for him. Earlier the educated elite always opted for military rule, said Umer. “All of us sitting here have had fabulous life at the expense of a vast majority of the nation,” he said as he glanced towards the room. Now they have a responsibility to speak against the unjust system and indulge in caused-based advocacy. “Appear on television, revolt against the unfair tax system,” he advised. However, Umer said that he was surprised that the PTI did not raise their voice against the tax system.
Businessman Jehangir Tareen, a key member of the PTI, informed the audience that he was heading a group to make policy matters on the country’s issues. “This month, we will present a proposal on how to improve the energy problem of the country,” he said, adding that he was working closely with think-tanks and experts.
The president of the IPF, Faisal Malik, said that the forum was created because the professionals were getting disheartened. “We wanted to unite experts and create a forum to discuss their issues, make them successful members of the political community.” Currently, they have 75 members but Malik hoped to surpass 1,000. The forum will be launched in other cities too.
The people who attended the event seemed to be thrilled. Salman Shad, the director of a pharmaceutical company, said that it was good that they were working with people who made a difference in the country. A banker, Sayem Ali, said that he joined the forum to get in touch with other professionals and deliberate on economical issues and problems.
Working women also hoped to bring about some change. Ameena Shahrukh, who works at a school for the hearing impaired, said, “Skilled people do need to come forward to save the country.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2012.