IMRAN KHAN HOPE FOR PAKISTAN

Sumayya Khalid

IMRAN KHAN HOPE FOR PAKISTAN

Former Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan, who in 1992 led the country to a World Cup victory, after a great effort of 22 years, has taken oath as 22nd prime minister of nuclear-armed Islamic Republic of Pakistan on Saturday, August 18, 2018. Khan rose to power with a pledge of liability against corruption and equivalent action for all in Pakistan where VIP custom is considered a norm. Current PM, Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi was born to Ikramullah Khan Niazi and Shaukat Khanam in an upper-middle-class Pashtun family on November 5, 1952, in Lahore. He completed his schooling from English medium Aitchison College, Lahore, and went to Royal Grammar School Worcester, England, to get the higher education. He graduated in economics, politics and, philosophy from Keble College, University of Oxford, in 1975.

Belonging to a cricketing family, he started cricket at the age of 13, playing firstly for his college in Pakistan and also continued in England. Khan at the age of 18, made his test debut English series during 1971 at Edgbaston, Birmingham but could not perform so good. In 1974, he debuted in One Day International (ODI) in the Prudential Trophy and was chosen in the national team after graduating from Oxford. After making home debut for Pakistan in 1976, he played until 1992. His splendid performance against Australia and New Zealand during 1976-77 made him a well-known fast bowler in the country during the 1980s. In 1982, he was selected as the captain of Pakistan cricket team and till 1992 he served as captain. Pakistan, under his captaincy, won 14 out of 48 test matches, losing out on 8 and 26 resulting in a draw. In the ODI version, he played 139 matches, with 77 wins, 57 losses, and one tie. He kept himself away from cricket for 2 years due to fracture in his shin. In 1987, after his return, he gave the country its 1st ever Test series victory against India followed by Test series win in England. He retired in 1987, but upon Pakistan President Gen. Zia-ul-Haq’s request, in 1988 he returned. He won a Test series against West Indies and for his 23-wicket haul in 3 tests, he was declared Man of the Series. He is one of 8 world cricketers to achieve an ‘All-rounder’s Triple’ in Test matches by making 3,807 runs and took 362 wickets. As the most successful players of the country Khan retired from cricket in 1992.

In 1991, he raised 25 million dollars by a fundraising campaign and in memory of his mother set up a Shaukat Khanum Memorial cancer hospital and research center in Lahore in 1994.  Later in 2015, he established the 2nd hospital in Peshawar.

On May 6, 1995, at the age of 43, he married in a traditional Islamic ceremony in Paris to 21 years old Jemima Goldsmith, who converted to Islam prior to wedding ceremony. After 1 month, in a civil ceremony in Richmond, they re-married. They have 2 sons, Sulaiman (1996) and Qasim (1999). In June 2004, because of difficulties faced by Jemima in adapting Pakistani life, the beautiful couple ended their 9 years old marriage. He married Reham Khan, a British-Pakistani divorcee In January 2015, despite his family objections. This marriage was ended in October in the same year. In February 2018, he married for the 3rd time to his spiritual advisor Bushra Manika, a mother of five children.

He entered politics in 1997 and founded his own political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, as an initiative to eliminate corruption and mismanagement in the country. In October 2002 elections, he was elected as a Member Parliament from Mianwali. Khan served as the chancellor of Bradford University between 2005 and 2014. He founded Namal College, an associate college of the University of Bradford and established Imran Khan Foundation in 2008. In 2012, he was the recipient of an honorary fellowship by the Royal College of Physician. His views on cricket have been published in different Asian and British newspapers and Indian publications, including Guardian, Telegraph, Outlook, and Independent. He is keenly involved with commentary on cricket matches for different sports networks, like TEN Sports, BBC Urdu, and Star TV. By Asia Society, he was stated as Person of the Year 2012 and listed at number three in the top 9 leaders of the world by Global Post. During the 2013 election campaign, he started with the slogan of change and New Pakistan posing a threat to the major opponent PML-N. 4 days prior to 2013 elections, during a campaign rally, he injured his back and head upon tumbling from a stage and continued to appeal for the vote from the hospital but the party lost to Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N). However, his party rose as the 2nd largest in Pakistan by popular vote. PTI also led an alliance government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Due to his campaign in opposition to corruption, previous PM Nawaz Sharif was disqualified in 2017 and is now behind bars, sentenced to imprisonment of ten years by an anti-corruption court. His slogan of “Naya Pakistan” and “change” played a role to stimulate the society, including educated youth and the urban middle class, who had formerly seen corrupted politics. Now in the general elections of 2018, his party won the largest number of seats 116 out of 270 and brought PTI into federal government for the 1st time. Khan became the 1st person in general elections of Pakistan’s history who contested and won in all 5 constituencies, surpassing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who in 1970 contested in 4 but won in 3 constituencies.

In a Victory claiming speech, IK promised to change the country  according to the dream of leader Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, where the less fortunate flourish, youth have jobs promising 10 million new jobs, the poor are taken care of (promising to build 4-5 million houses for poor), women have proper healthcare and children have schools to go to. Assuring liability PM said he will be subjected to answerability 1st, then his ministers and so on. He refused to reside in PM house and decided to convert it into an educational institution or something of the sort. The Prime Minister faces a huge number of major problems that will need to be addressed without delay. Country’s economy is in bad form. Its trade deficit is running into tens of billions of dollars and there is the threat of a coming up fiscal crisis.

On foreign policy, Imran Khan said he will make stronger relations with countries like China, Afghanistan, US, and India. Khan stated neighboring country Afghanistan needs peace. If there is peace in Afghanistan, there will be peace in Pakistan. He promised to make every effort to attain peace there. Also, he said we want a mutually beneficial and balanced relationship with the US. He also promised to strengthen relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia and improve ties with China.

To have a poverty-free Pakistan there must be trade ties and good relations with India. He said he is among one of those Pakistanis who want good relations with India. Also, it’s a time to end the blame game and resolve the core issue of Kashmir through dialogue with India. Imran Khan as PM of Pakistan can benefit India by bringing peace and increasing trade volume between both countries. Currently, both countries’ trade volume is between 2 to 3 billion dollars. According to Ajay Bisaria, an Indian envoy, the trade potential between both countries is nearly 30 billion dollars. And it is reflected through history pages that increased trade volume between opponent states help to dispense tensions. Thus, If Imran Khan works to boost the trade volume between Pakistan and India, at least $15bn and stabilize Pakistan in security viewpoint. His tenure would give an advantage to India in dual terms i.e security and economic. Khan now has a chance to bring what he has demanded from others over the past 22 years and he has 5 years to show that he can deliver.

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