THE AMERICAN NOTEBOOK
By Asif Jamal
Skipper Imran Khan has ruled over the cricket world for as long as he remained on the grounds. His fans following are widespread in all continents even in those countries where cricket is not being played. Love, fame and money, he has seen them all to an extent that one may have dreamt of. It is the admirers who showered their affections on him with open arms, applauded him in the field and generously donated him for the cause.
Subsequently, the cricketer became a philanthropist and later he transformed into a politician. Soon he found his fans and well-wishers becoming his supporters who started to believe in him that he is the only hope of prosperity. He then began to prepare himself to be in the power so that he may eradicate the curse of corruption from Pakistan for good.
He is a born leader, he has proven his capabilities when he led the team and awarded the highest honor of the game and brought respect and pride to the country but dealing with a handful team of eleven in the ground and managing the state affairs on national and international levels are two different things. Nonetheless, he has seen them all, but he is missing one last element to complete the square of his fortune, and that is – the power, and this quest will continue, until he assumes the ultimate captainship.
I donâ€™t think anyone can ever question about Imran Khanâ€™s dignity and morality. He is a clean-slate, honest and a strong person with absolute leadership qualities but like I said earlier that politics is different than just managing a group of players.
The tumultuous situation in the country has helped him learn ever since he stepped into the notorious political arena. He has seen leaders changing stance for their benefits, he has challenged them but he also understood that he cannot change them so he started to educate the nation and commenced an awareness campaign of â€˜changeâ€™. As they say, charity begins from home; he trusted the rules of democracy and decided his party internal leadership to come through membersâ€™ vote. But, intra-party elections got him nothing but a bitter taste. This exercise, alone, has had him earned an on-hand experience about dealing with those who once vowed to be with him for anything is not easy. The results within the party elections were not broadly welcomed rather brought criticisms at large. Perhaps, this was the first time he may have realized that those close to him may be civilized but people in general are just the opposite and he has to have an effective policy to better deal with them.
Imran Khan initiated his political campaign when he showed the true mirror to the nation about the prevailing leadership in the country and raised a meaningful slogan of â€œchangeâ€ and thatâ€™s when he realized that nation really requires guidance and needs to be salvaged from the corrupt system. In return, people showed him the love, but it did not reach to its optimum point due to not having a plan of action that would have brought a real change in the country. He did launch some marches and organized jalsas where he addressed to a mammoth crowd as well and he really built the momentum but if you review his party strength now, it seems like it could not sustain the thrust. Does this mean if PTI is on the decline especially after the intra-party elections?
Support to his party activities primarily comes from overseas Pakistanis who have been very generous to Mr Khan, be it his hospital or political party but lately, aside from his philanthropic projects, people are seemingly reluctant to offer monetary support as munificently as they used to be for his political activities, does this mean if Imran is losing his stance of â€˜changeâ€™ he once introduced?
According to the format of this article, following are the comments on the subject by two distinguished individuals, letâ€™s hear them:
Mohammad Nasrullah Khan, MD by profession based in Dallas and founder of PTI USA, LLC, while commenting if PTI is on the decline especially after the intra-party elections, says: â€œIt appears that popularity graph went down a bit, however if you look at the participation in intra-party elections it is very clear that people are very enthusiastic. The 23rd March gathering at Minar e Pakistan will set the graph upward and it will lead to victory in the upcoming general elections in Pakistan. Media has highlighted much on intra-party elections problems but we are still getting very positive reviews and party will bounce back on 23rd March with real Tsunami in action.â€
Speaking on support from overseas Pakistani and if Imran is losing his stance, Nasrullah further comments: â€œThis is true that people trust Imran Khan with their money. But I disagree if people are reluctant to offer monetary support to the cause. Let me say here that just in October 2012 alone people gave record amount to Imran Khan and current fundraising tour of Mrs Fauzia Kasuri is doing very well. Overseas Pakistaniâ€™s support is very strong and it continues to grow as elections is coming close. The trend to support PTI is on the rise. Mrs Kasuri tour is fully booked and we have very strong presence from East to West Coast in all major cities. It is the largest party with members all across the USA and elsewhere and it is growing. Imranâ€™s Idea of â€˜changeâ€™ is still strong among Pakistaniâ€™s. He has promised 25% seats for youth and this is what will bring the â€˜changeâ€™. I am sure he will keep his promise of real â€˜changeâ€™.â€
Masood Haider, a senior journalist based in NY, says: â€œWell the decline in PTI started even before the intra-party elections so this is not the reason for sure. At one point of his political drive it felt that he was on his peak, may be if the national general elections were held at that time, his chances of winning the elections were very high. However, at this point when his membership drive has almost come to a stalemate, even some have left him and went back to other party. It seems a bit difficult for him to make up for his losses as it is but my good guess is he will still be able to get may be 20 to 25 seats the most. As of now it looks if Nawaz group will be the driving force during the upcoming elections since recent Quetta and Karachi incidents have put a big question mark on PPP – the current government.â€
Mr Haider further says: â€œImran Khan has always been popular among the people; first there was cricket then hospital. He got overwhelming support for his hospital; he has the trust so I donâ€™t think people are moving away from donating him. His stance is not changed, he is up for â€˜changeâ€™ but so are other parties.â€ â€œNonetheless, people want to give him a chance, only because he has not been tested yet but he has to compose himself and not claim to fix the prevailing haphazardness in the country in months, so he should be realistic in his promises to the nation,â€ he concluded.
The idol of a game is not necessarily equally virtuous in politics. He has to really understand what this nation needs and how to implement strategies that can bring a better tomorrow in the homeland. No matter what his advisers tell him but fixing the issues from the grassroots level and starting from zero to plus will never be easy. Only time will tell, if it is really about putting the missing block of power in the square of fortune or if he is really a messiah who will bring the â€˜changeâ€™ using his iron-hands.