There is no doubt that Pakistani youth of the 80’s & 90’s grew up in a Pakistan where Imran Khan was nearly everyone’s ideal. Pakistan winning the 1992 cricket world cup under his captaincy gave him the status of a national hero. In addition, he had become a household name and if I say that each family wanted an Imran Khan in their family then it won’t be wrong. Arguably he was Pakistan’s most successful cricketing captain with 3807 runs and 362 wickets in test cricket, he is one of eight world cricketers to have achieved an ‘All-rounder’s Triple’ in Test matches. His induction in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame on 14 July 2010 is a proof of his great cricketing past. Also, opening of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital in 1994 placed him on a pedestal and he was looked upon by many as a new age messiah. Like many other Pakistanis, I as well gave him donations from my pocket money when he visited my school during his campaign shortly after the magical cricket world cup win of Pakistan. Although, Khan was the man behind the idea of constructing a cancer hospital where poor are treated for free but it was due to the donations of Pakistani’s in and outside Pakistan whose contribution made his dream a reality. Many might not know that the current Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Nawaz Shareef allotted land for this hospital. After the successful opening of the hospital Imran Khan could have easily opted to carry on the path of being a social worker. Following the example of Mr. Abdul Sattar Edhi or Mother Threasa. However, he decided to be go into politics and used his cricketing career and Shaukat Khamun as leverage and formed Pakistan Threek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 1996.
Unlike his cricketing career his political career was not smooth – To begin with, he lost his 1st election terribly. However, in the era of Former President of Pakistan and Ex COAS Gen (Rtd.) Pervez Musharraf era he gained some mileage after extending his support him in presidential referendum. In 2002 elections he bagged 1 seat in the National Assembly of Pakistan from Mianwali, his home town. His political immaturity exposed him as a man with many contradictions. His flamboyant past to his conservative and sometime extremist views. However, his contradictions were largely in covers because of the limited support his party and he had. From 2008(election boycott) till 2012 he jumped on different bandwagons and left no stone unturned to find populous support but he couldn’t find the winning formula. Finally, it was the Lahore jalsa of October 2012, which set him, sail for a success in 2013 general elections. His party was able to emerge as a third largest political party of Pakistan. Although his assumption of sweeping the elections proved wrong.
An interesting thing to notice is that after realizing that he won’t be able to form a government or even become an opposition leader he still opted to keep his NA (National Assembly) seat. If he was a visionary leader, he would have contested bi-elections on a PP seat from KPK and secured it to become a Chief Minister in KPK. He could have then developed KPK during his term to set an example of a Naya KPK. However, his arrogance, ego and self-centered personality made him chose the NA seat of Rawalpindi.
As mentioned earlier, he changed his views so drastically that many like me are left to believe that to win elections he went after popular sentiments. After securing significant seats in elections 2013 he changed his stance and went on supporting extremist ideology of TTP. He went so far ahead with it that he suggested that they should be allowed to open offices in Pakistan to operate from. It was due to these reasons most of the founding members like Admiral (Retd) Javed Iqbal etc. have distanced themselves from PTI and him. His stance on national issues raises many questions on his credibility, as his pro- Taliban stance is eye opener for many including workers of his own party. His ignorance against co-workers is also one of the many reasons of disturbance within party folds and there have also been reports of at least a couple of forward blocks in PTI.
In my humble opinion, I will suggest Imran Khan and PTI that if they want to keep the momentum going for the prosperity of Pakistan then they need to focus more on the constituencies they won. Their transformation will be a setting stone in the emergence of PTI as the party of masses rather than a party of extremist. It is always easy to blame others and staging protests but it doesn’t solve the issues of people of Pakistan.
Almighty Allah May Protect Pakistan from all evils and turn it to be better place to live. Ameen. Pakistan First!