SWAT: Emulating legendary US civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr, Pakistan’s popular cricketer-turned-politician delivered his own version of the ‘I have a dream’ speech on Sunday.
Addressing a gathering in Mingora, Imran Khan, who leads the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, told his supporters about how many of his dreams had come true.
In his most recent one, Imran said he dreamt of winning the upcoming elections. “Four months ago, I dreamt of a huge crowd carrying Pakistani flags in their hands,” an impassioned Imran said. “When I asked someone why the crowd had gathered, I was told that the PTI had swept the elections.”
But Imran’s dreams go way back to his childhood.
“At the age of nine, I dreamt that I was playing cricket for Pakistan,” he said. “When I was 18-years-old I played for the national team.”
He said that he dreamt of making Pakistan the world’s best cricket team. “It took us 10 years of hard work and we clinched the World Cup in 1992,” Imran said.
“I dreamt of establishing a great cancer hospital,” he said, adding that it materialised in the form of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital.
Imran’s visions did not limit themselves to the areas of sports and health. He went on to say that he dreamt of a
university like Oxford and in due course set up the Namal University. “Though this is just the beginning of the institution,” he said.
In the political sphere his dream was actualized in the form of a ‘tsunami’.
“When I joined politics, I dreamt of people rallying with me for a better Pakistan and on October 30, 2011 the ‘tsunami’ took over Pakistan,” Imran said.
During his speech, the PTI chief promised the people of Swat that after coming to power, his party would restore peace in the region. “The system of justice, which prevailed here before 1974, will be replicated,” he added.
He also promised sweeping reforms in all fields. “We will introduce reforms in the police system, where the public will be treated the same way as it is by the motorway police,” he said, adding that the police would not be deployed for the personal protection of VIPs.
The PTI chief criticised political parties for plundering public funds to satiate their greed.
“Previous governments made money in the centre, while others in the provinces,” Imran said, accusing mainstream political parties of corruption.
Imran said he envisions a new Pakistan, the one where the youth is empowered to bring a change.
To achieve this end, the PTI chief spoke about empowerment through education.
“The PTI believes in an equitable education system where there are no rich and no poor,” he said. “Educational budget will be increased by five times and the party will implement the same education course across the country,” he added.
Further stressing upon the importance of youth in the development of a nation, Imran said that 25 per cent party tickets in the upcoming elections would be given to those under the age of 35.
“We will issue party tickets purely on merit in which youth will be preferred,” he promised the young adults present in the gathering.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2013.