Thursday, February 21, 2019 | ePaper

Challenges ahead of Imran

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Imran Rahman :
A sea of jubilation in Pakistan is surging with proverbial cricket icon Imran khan led Tehreek-e-Insaf emerging victorious in the recently concluded parliamentary election. If everything goes OK he is to head the government to be formed very shortly. This heart winning legend of billions proved it again no dream is left unreached to an indomitable spirit. I have never seen Mughal emperor Babur or king Suleiman. But I had the rare chance to see him in Dhaka stadium in the late 90th in a charity match against India. With mane hair, lion like body language and rhythmic run up Mr. Khan, one of the hallmark of fast bowling, the world has ever produced was the centerpiece of all attractions, the pulse-beat of women.
Under his matchless leadership, Pakistan cricket ushered in a new era with distinct height. The world had more than once seen him ruling the cricket stage single handedly either with willow or cherry. The swelling popularity, he gained from cricket has not yet faded an iota even after his retirement from cricket. An oxford graduate with playboy image, Khan repeatedly kept on hitting the headlines. Through a noble intention to set up a cancer hospital in Lahore in memory of his mother, who died of this inconspicuous disease, he reached his chivalry to a new level.  
I would not be at the least intent to write a single word on Pakistan politics. But this is again his enchanting allure and appeal for which I could not check the temptation to say something.
What would happen had he not been elected Prime Minister in Pakistan? Simply nothing. He had nothing to lose. Because the image he had achieved home and abroad through cricket already outshined the glamour of any political leader in Pakistan since its birth.
 Khan's victory in the new format of game 'politics' is nothing but the result of people's seeking emancipation from corrupted dynastic politics with the shade of military looming large on it.  Pakistan was badly in need of an emergence of a third political force in its power.  Can Imran khan lead his country, already plunged deep into quagmire of all sorts: social, economic and political in turning into Naya Pakistan merits precise debate and analysis?  
Since inception as an independent state in 1947, Pakistan has drawn widespread international notice not only for its geo-political stand, but also for its internal political crises. Most of the period after birth, it witnessed military dictatorship leading democracy failing to take root. Its politics was never free from military interventions. None of its Prime Ministers in its political history had either been able to complete full tenure or leave unhurt. Nawaz had to quit office following a verdict of the apex court in Pakistan over his family member's alleged involvement with financial scam released by Panama Papers. Nawaz's predecessors Parvez Musharraf and Yousuf Raja Gilani had to walk the same way to show respect to the Judiciary. Zulfiqer Ali Bhutto walked the gallows under military tribunal. Benazir Bhutto was shot to death soon after giving a speech in Rawalpindi. In the backdrop of all these unpleasant experiences, it is not illogic for the experts to raise questions about the future landscape of Pakistan under his leadership.
In the equation of foreign policy, Khan's main challenge will be undoubtedly India, against whom his legendary success   in cricket field not only won him the heart of Pakistan, but also veneration of many Indians. Pakistan under his valiant leadership defeated arch rival India, the home side in 1987 in both test and ODI series. The head to head cricket record between these rivals mostly went in Pakistan's favor during his time. So, the expectation of Pakistani people to him with regard to Indian affairs may be more specially in drawing an end to Indian hegemony in South Asia. This will psychologically influence them against their nuclear counterpart with him in the helm.  
The challenges Pakistan faces in the international realm are greater. The recent election holds additional significance with the country being on the verge of international isolation for a safe haven image to terrorists.
He has now no chance to remain complacent of evoking past memoirs only. Whole world now stares at him, how he addresses the bilateral ties with India, particularly in terms of Kashmir, which was behind three wars between India and Pakistan. Time will say whether he will be winner or loser in this match; repeat the fate of his predecessors or come out successfully.

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