Noted Columnist Thomas L Friedman recently wrote a piece in New York Times where he advocated why Michael Bloomberg (the current Mayor of New York) should run for US elections. Not for winning, not for fame but to give a fresh perspective to an election debate which is hijacked by corporate agenda and doesn’t give an ear to the problems of the masses. This is how I have come to see Imran Khan through the ages.
He does not need to sweep the elections to convey his view point, neither his tsunami needs to wash away all that is bad in Pakistan. He has delivered even before the date of new elections is announced.
As per the estimates of Economic Survey of Pakistan 2010-11, approximately 37% of Pakistani population consists of youth falling in the age bracket of 15 to 35. And all of them remember growing up in the ninety’s where although ‘Bhutto’ was still ‘alive’ in the slogans, the urban youth could not relate to political figures; where the rise of new political parties like MQM upsetting the equilibrium was associated with armed student organizations and target killings.ssd
We witnessed the separation of educated people from the main stream politics and the separation of youth within many different educational systems i.e. madressahs, government schools and private education.
Imran Khan has not corrected any of them. But he has brought these in the main stream political debate. Instead of just writing books and appearing in media talk shows to propose solutions, he decided to step in the practical field. And in doing so he bridged the gap between ‘facebook youth’ and active political workers. The Karachi jalsa by PTI was not actually a test of his political might but a test of how much the urban educated youth has changed over the past two to three years. We could not have imagined the youth which has been blessed with all basic amenities in a country like ours to actually take interest in the political conundrums of Pakistan.
His rise to the current heights is still not maligned with armed politics… an accusation which still haunts the rise of MQM till now.
His new born party may still be too young to translate dreams to reality, populist slogans to practical solutions, but he has done what many people of my age group never witnessed before… a popular political movement on ground. A clean shaved former playboy has convinced the masses to come out. But, we can’t accept easily what we have not seen before. May be that’s why, we even started calling him and his followers modern ‘talibans’ or ‘liberal Jamat-e-Islami’.
But the worst of accusations still levied on his followers are that of being ‘whiners’ for not getting enough media coverage. This seems pretty innocent when compared to the hideous crimes we accuse the workers of other political parties. To his credit, we have a non violent breed of young whiney followers, nothing worse so far.
And now, he has just added one more milestone in his still fresh political movement. The Quetta jalsa! For the first time in a long time, we felt that Quetta is still part of Pakistan and people who live there still have respect of the flag in white and green.
And after all this, somewhere in my heart, I don’t want his party to clean sweep the elections. He represents an ideal solution, which might not just be enough to sweep the elections. And, we might see the weak alliance as a result getting hijacked by same old political considerations we are familiar with.
It’s like reading Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist, where a shop owner spends his entire life saving money to go to Mecca for Hajj and when the boy asks “Well, why don’t you go to Mecca now?” and he replies “Because it’s the thought of Mecca that keeps me alive. That’s what helps me face these days that are all the same, these mute crystals on the shelves, and lunch and dinner at that sam horrible café. I’m afraid that if my dream is realized, I’ll have no reason to go on living.”
It’s the dream of Imran Khan correcting the system that needs to live, not the practical failure we might see when he wins the elections.