Rise of Khan

Many of our elders have either lived through or grew up listening to stories of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his electrifying rallies and speeches as he spearheaded the first grassroots political movement in the country’s history. Imran Khan’s started revolutionary politics, if one goes by what he said/done in Lahore on October 30, as he wanted a change in the prevailing status quo. And while some people in the blogosphere and on Twitter/Facebook were already wondering whether another Bhutto has been born, no one can deny that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader has quite substantially shaken the country’s political landscape with his massive rally in Lahore. A 2 week later, the hoopla over his rally in Lahore, which had over a around 250,000 people in attendance, has not died down.

At that point I would like to add you can’t compare Imran Khan Struggle with any political figure since 1947. As far as Zulfiqar A Bhutto is concerned he was an old political player in politics, as his family was in politics since ages. Also, before Zulfiqar A Bhutto started his own solo flight he was in 60’s backed by General Ayub Khan as he was foreign minister in his cabinet. Nawaz Sharif is also no exception at all; he was backed by General Zia ul Haq in his initial political career. However, the big question is whether Imran Khan is backed by establishment or in crud terms Army? The answer is NO ! How can a person spend more than 15 years in opposition with no favors? In addition, I have certain other reasons for that, firstly establishment can’t make you a popular leader. Indeed due to the efforts of an establishment a person could become a minter or even prime minter but can’t become a popular leader (as quoted by a very senior journalist Hassan Nisar). Imran Khan who was offered Prime minister ship in 1988 and in 2002, rejected the offers, why should he now chooses the shortcut? Any rational person could not accept these presumptions. Indeed, there are chances that now establishment is baking but who cares!

Imran Khan and his party vision able to attract those who are normally not associated with the political process, those who have become disaffected with the mainstream parties and are tiring of what they see as elected governments whose leaders enrich only themselves and provide no semblance of good governance.

Khan’s appeal is not surprising. He is best known as the captain who brought back the Cricket World Cup to Pakistan in 1992. Pakistanis also appreciate his philanthropic instincts as in 1994, he founded the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Center, which offers free care for cancer patients. As such, Khan is a departure from leaders who hail from political dynasties, such as the Bhuttos or the Sharifs, and boast immense rural landholding.

Whatever disagreements one may have with Imran Khan’s ideology or views, one can no longer dismiss Khan and his party as something of an irritant on the national political scene. From now on till the next election is held, he will have to be taken seriously and his party’s electoral fortunes will most probably be far better than they have been in the past — the best being when Mr Khan himself won a seat to the National Assembly from Mianwali in the 2002 elections. If any party thinks that he is safe in his glass palace then time will tell, as Imran Khan will definitely hit everyone’s vote bank including PML-N, PML-Q, PPP and ANP.

Khan stance on the Taliban’s and military operations is very clear since 2004, although not rising to the level of outright support(from liberals), is nonetheless very dangerous in some people. He pledged never to use the army to carry out military operations against its own peple, and that tribal elders would be able to eliminate the scourge of terrorism if the problem is left to them to deal with. In my personal view, his stand is absolutely correct, rational and genuine, as military operation is not the key to success. One can view what is happening in Afghanistan, Kashmir and Palestine. Military is not the solution, the only solution is dialog and to win the heart and minds of the people.


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