“Imran Khan is the ultimate leader for our generation,” a friend of mine pronounced with finality at a small get together recently. She had heard him speak at a college lecture and had been converted in to a growing cult of Khan followers. “But why?” I asked. She told me he stood for youth and hope and was against corruption.
I was shocked to hear an educated young adult spout political clichés with unadulterated sincerity. I was even more shocked to see my other friends nod in agreement. How had Khan managed to get my friends riled up when they are generally the most politically apathetic bunch of people I know? Some of them did not even know the name of his party and certainly could not name any member besides Khan. But they defended Imran Khan tooth and nail when I said he could not be the next president of Pakistan.
“We are behind him. The youth is behind him.” “But why? Which of his policies do you support?” I asked. My friends were confused. “Do you think he is rightist or leftist?” Pin-drop silence. The idea that educated young adults could follow a leader with the same unquestioning zeal as PPP jiyalas without even understanding his party agenda was disturbing to say the least. Could they be brought to mass movement with a single tweet or sms alert? The reasons my friends gave for their support of Khan were depressing.
“At least he is not Zardari,” said one. Another pointed out that he had started a non-profit hospital for cancer patients. No one mentioned politics. I eventually convinced my friends to find out a little bit more about Imran Khan before blindly following him. I have nothing against Imran Khan as a person. Not only is he a good-looking Pakistani man of which there are few but he also won the World Cup a long time ago. But if I would not vote for Elvis Presley, Mick Jagger or Jamie Oliver based on sex appeal alone why would I vote for Imran Khan?