Imran’s revolutionary road — II

If Imran Khan ever become­s PM of Pakist­an, his ‘person­al life’ will be front page fodder for intern­ationa­l press.

Mahreen Khan November 05, 2010

I first interviewed Imran Khan when I was an undergraduate student. What was published in the Cambridge University newspaper was a doe-eyed, reverential piece, oozing admiration, nay, adoration that I and so many millions of young Pakistanis felt for our national hero, the legendary Imran Khan of the 1990s. Imran could do no wrong back then. It was as if he had been born blessed by the firmament itself — with ‘A list’ good looks, world- cup- winning captaincy on the field, a glamourous profile off the field, a classy Oxbridge education and accent to match, blinding charisma and so much cricketing talent it made you gasp in awe. No other Pakistani, or Asian, had such celebrity or star appeal on the international stage. He was, and always will be, the ‘Great Khan’ for Pakistanis and cricket lovers the world over.

But that adulation and admiration for his cricketing achievement and philanthropic prowess must not preclude an objective analysis of his political ideology and credentials. Even young, modern, English-medium educated Imran fans seem intolerant of any critical examination or analysis of their hero. “Imran Khan is a legend blessed with enormous talent, honesty and patriotism who will save Pakistan” — a PTV style homage is what his supporters wish to see written about their leader, judging from reactions to the first part of this piece on Imran’s political promise. Anyone daring to excavate Khan’s ideological underpinnings, question his past or reveal flaws that portend future scandal is subjected to an emotional ‘Imran cyber-brigade’ attack, replete with ‘Bush-ist’ accusations of being ‘against Imran’ or an agent of ‘the other side’.

Imran’s supporters need to face reality and employ reasoned arguments rather than puerile statements about Khan’s ‘personal life’ being irrelevant. If Imran Khan ever does become prime minister of the Islamic Republic, as his supporters wish, his ‘personal life’ will be front page fodder for the international press. They will excoriate Khan’s untenable situation of having an illegitimate daughter, Tyrian White, whilst advocating ‘Islamic values’, where adultery is a capital offence. Imran Khan’s past will be exhumed in gory, ghastly detail with comment a lot less respectful than that by domestic observers.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf strategists also need to address glaring inadequacies in their party’s policy prescriptions on key issues. The 31-page manifesto does not even once mention, let alone tackle, the menace of ‘suicide bombings’ or ‘extremism’. ‘Terrorism’ is referred to just once, on page 30, almost as an afterthought, that too as a criticism of current government policy. Having interviewed Khan on several occasions, Imran, the politician, has seemed unsteady on how to balance his populist opinions with political reality, especially his opposition to American influence. In politics, every policy is subject to rigorous scrutiny and the vicissitudes of the political landscape. Sincerity, sporting success and philanthropic service cannot compensate for an inchoate, inconsistent and immature political agenda, especially when facing grave multiple challenges of terrorism, corruption and economic meltdown.

Perhaps we have become desperate as a nation, willing to grab on to anyone who offers a glimmer of hope. When so many pages are filled with the brazen corruption, incompetence and hypocrisy of the government and its opponents, our cry for change is understandable. But decisions borne of desperation always end in disillusionment. I do not wish to see the ‘Great Khan’, a national icon, demoted and discredited as yet another political failure. I refuse to join those who adoringly paint him as a messiah, as our political saviour, despite his lack of credentials for revolution. Imran may be more honest than other politicians, just as Obama is far more enlightened than Bush, but unreasonably lofty expectations will be Imran’s demise just as Obama’s over-promise has been his. It is Imran’s personality, more than his political ideology, which attracts media attention and popular support. He has the potential to bring meaningful social reform and to inspire young people, to an extent, but it is criminal to place Imran Khan on the towering pedestal of grand, national salvation — for when he falls from such a height, the legend of the ‘Great Khan’ may tumble too and that would truly be a very painful loss indeed.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2010.


Rustam Ali(Gold medalist) | 12 years ago | Reply the people of pakistan are divede into two parts. one is libral and other religous groups. many people including me donot support the religous groups. I agree with many of you that govt. unable to deliver but at the same time I think if govt. fall than what is our alternative. this is the question which force me to support govt. Because we donnot want any pro taliban leader to take over govt. our nation faces many suicide attacks and terroristic activities and now we need a better pakistan, and we need a greater pakistan. for this purpose we need peace and this can be achived only by crushing those forces who kill our innocent people. we have no alternative to save our country accept stop those forces and their supporters. I like Imran as cricketer but his policy and his view against those people who destablize Pakistan hurts me. I only say to Imran that first he must talk with those people who lost their lowers, what is their view and than follow their advices. I think that you get my point. otherwise please donnot play the emotions of people.
Hassan | 12 years ago | Reply @ Syed Karar Sahab, you feel my choice is wrong and ill repect your views what is your choice you have told us!!!! 1- He is too aggressive - true.... and we love that about him we hate timid subservient leaders. 2- He is involved in blame game - False....Calling a spade a spade isnt a blame game its being honest and forthright 3- he is not having a team - False he does have a team,office bearers, experts on all facets of Pakistan's issues. All information available on website attaching link for your reference. 4- He is inclined to religious forces - False.... imran is guided by the vision of Quaid e Azam and Iqbal he has said this time and time again. His work with JI in APDM was based on a common purpose of removing a dictator and restoring the judciary. 5- His past & personal life are not presentable - False....He isnt being considered for a rishta is he? you should worry less about what people think if you knew how little they did!!!!! 6- He boycotted the last election - True and did so on principle of not fighting an election under emergency rule of the commando. All parties were boycotting but once the PP and PML N cut a deal they decided to contest so i applaud him for his principled stance. 7- He didnt attend the All parties conference on terrorism - True....that briefing was in the national assembly where Imran could not have spoken as per the rules of the assembly he would have been sitting in the visitors gallery, in addition PTI offered to send another representative which as declined by the goverment. As for what took place in the session is known to all the deal with US over the Drone Attacks was not discussed or revealed, the permission to let the US use our airbases was also not dicussed and no consensus or policy was developed post that session. Imran has time and again spoken against terrorism and has denounced violence as ameans of resolving issues. His point of view is crystal clear, as for being scared i think its a jopke he doesnt move around in bullet proof vehicles or have hundreds of gun totting guards around him. Karar saab he is indeed too hot to handle!!!!!!
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