Getting hold of Imran Khan wasn’t too much of a task prior to the PTI chairman’s advent on the political stage at the Minar-i-Pakistan rally in Lahore. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) members were easily approachable on their personal cell phones or via e-mail and after the right amount of SMS’, a short rendezvous or a quote from the former cricketing legend was, more often than not, a given.
But it seems, now, that Imran’s promised “change” has arrived a little too early for some. While PTI’s members continue to remain responsive to the press; arranging a meeting with Imran is slightly more taxing now.
For instance, unlike previous engagements with the PTI chairman, the man is now heavily guarded by armed men. Moreover, now that Imran has successfully recruited some big guns from the political sphere, such as Shah Mehmood Qureshi, he is always flanked by his entourage during meetings with the press.
Unless you’ve caught him on a good day or vice versa, Imran seems almost lost in his own world, almost uninterested. He prefers to let other members of the party tackle the media’s questions, for instance, the party’s strategy for Sindh. Imran seemed dismissive of most of the questions directed at him, even when he was asked if Marvi Memon was going to join PTI ranks soon, he seemed indifferent, but informed that she had been invited to the rally on December 25.
Nevertheless, Imran’s preoccupation is perhaps a by-product of how serious a player he has become in Pakistan’s political sphere and the race to grab a piece of the pie in next year’s elections. When asked about the government’s current predicaments and actions, Imran became reinvigorated and snapped back into his usual self with scathing attacks on Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s criticism of the armed forces.
“What will the world think? Imran said, almost in disbelief that Gilani could have even uttered such statements in the assembly.
However, the evident change in Imran, for the media and all alike, is the clout he has now, than when he was last in Karachi. Even next to a seasoned politician like Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Imran looked impressive and his body language exuded the confidence he had inherited from his Lahore rally.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2011.
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@Salman Ghumman: So discussing strategies for Sindh is triviality? Do you even have an idea how grave Sindh's issues are? I think it's bad that IK is giving the task of Sindh to his workers(he should) but first he should address (at least) the Sindh's problems at least once if he wishes to get any support from Sindh. It seems he is taking the easy way out in Sindh.
With all due respect writer, whats the big deal about it.. Dont tell me that you still expect, IK to personally handle and tackle all the issues and talk to the press.. The party has grown, people are coming and Khan knows that its time for some team building and creating a strong second line.. This is nothing to whine about.. Its just a phase..
I am glad that the writer, a former Imran supporter, is growing up. You ain't seen nothin' yet---agay agay dekhiye hota hai kiya---aap ka Imran Khan sirf PM bannay ke khwab dekh raha hai and the same politicians he kept criticising he will willingly take as long as they support him for PM.
@Umair Tarrar : PTI use to mean Physical Training Incharge, Its was because of the Journalists that the PTI came to be recognized as a mainstream Political Party. If the PTI wants to win the match now (as for the Politico-Cricket analogies are concerned) they need to respect the Journalist because they are At You! and the moment they catch you ball tempering, you'll be banned! Stealing Chairs will not get you anyway!
@Umair Tarrar I am a PTI supporter and I think it's time we stop trolling on journalists.
@Writer, Yes he is pre occupied and has less time to spend with the media for the obvious reasons, and there is nothing wrong about it. I remember that Imran Khan was begging for media coverage 5 months for his dharnas, did you try to interview him at that time? Imran tries to use his daily press conferences to effectively communicate with the Media, that's more than enough.
so basically you are crying because IK denied your request for an interview ? lame !
What a bizaare article. What do you expect a national leader to be doing? Running the errands too?
@Umair Tarrar: That's funny. PTI supporters could be considered flawed know-it-alls. Imran Khan is the answer to everything. The only question they don't have an answer for is "how?"
This is one of the few first hand observations I have heard. I think PTI has reached a phase, where this is expected. If IK still tries to handle everything by himself, that would be a problem. Organizational structuring, leadership development, and devolution of responsibilities is the next phase that PTI should be preparing for.
"...and the race to grab a piece of the pie in next year’s elections."
I love when two-bit journalists become political experts and opininators, try harder.
We are like nagging wives...never happy....he is too easy to talk to..oh..he is too hard to talk to... he is micro managing...oh..he doesn't care about his people.. he is a one man show...oh...he is getting all these big used guns....geeez...give me a break for crying out loud!
Terrific insight! Its not strange for IK to have distanced himself from the trivialities. He started of micro-managing many a things within the party, but with every passing day he will be more concerned with executing his vision in the most uncompromising & ruthless fashion possible. Inevitably this attitude of his will prove to be the greatest litmus test for the opportunist in the party.