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Imran Khan Victory Speech

Imran ‘a breath of fresh air’ in dynastic politics: US expert

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  • Post category:Pakistan / Politics
  • Post last modified:02/08/2018
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NEW YORK: An American expert on South Asia has called Imran Khan, the prime minister-in-waiting, as “a breath of fresh air” for Pakistani people who have become way years of politics, as usual, notably the rule of dynastic families.
Writing in Foreign Policy, a prestigious US magazine, Michael Kugelman, Asia Programme, deputy director and senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, traced Imran Khan’s meteoric rise from a global cricket star to Pakistan’s top position, and said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief is like no previous Pakistani leader.
“He (Imran) is charismatic, relatively clean, and unencumbered by any entanglements in dynastic families,” he wrote, as Khan is working to put together his government following PTI’s massive victory in the July 25 national elections.
“He is, if nothing else, a breath of fresh air for a populace suffocated by many years of politics as usual,” Kugelman added.
Kugelman opens his article with Pakistan’s “greatest moments in its history” on March 25, 1992:
“Playing before a crowd of nearly 90,000 people on a pitch in Australia, Pakistan’s national cricket team defeated England to win the sports world cup,” he wrote. “For the first time in its 45-year existence, cricket-mad Pakistan was the champion of the world. Back home, euphoric Pakistanis poured out of their homes to celebrate. It was, in the words of cricket writer Mohammad Ramis, ‘the jubilation of their lives’.
“Pakistan’s squad was led by 40-year-old team captain Imran Khan, a star batter, and bowler than in the twilight of an illustrious career.
“Fast-forward to today. Khan, now a star politician, is poised to become Pakistan’s next prime minister…
“Khan has now pulled off an exceedingly rare feat. He has achieved the highest possible level of success as both an athlete and a politician. Many top (and mediocre) sportspersons have gone into politics, but precious few have gone on to lead governments. As the New York Times has noted, the best analog to Khan is George Weah: a Liberian soccer star in the 1990s who was elected president in 2017. A more surprising example is Ted Heath, who won the Sydney-Hobart yacht race thought to be one of the most challenging races of its kind in 1969, just a year before becoming the British prime minister.
“But Khan attributes his successful transition to politics to his ability to make a clean break with his athletic career and to focus entirely on his political objectives, even while leveraging his win-at-all-costs mentality from his playing days to motivate himself in the political arena. To be sure, Khan’s household name status from his cricket days also gave him an initial boost when he was first launching his political career.”
The described Imran Khan as “extraordinarily dedicated and determined, and stubbornly committed to taking up singular causes from combating corruption to opposing U.S. drone strikes.”
Kugelman referred to Khan’s days in the West as a cricket great, and said, “Today, Khan has burnished his own image as an incorruptible reformer intent on expunging the rot from a corrupt system dominated by political dynasties such as the Sharif and Bhutto families, which control Pakistan’s two longest-lasting political parties. And yet the PTI includes several top leaders who once belonged to those very parties.”
He said Khan’s anti-corruption message has resonated among many, particularly young, urban, conservative, middle-class voters in Punjab Pakistan’s most populous province and top electoral prize. “His younger fans, some of whom were alive for his cricket heroics in 1992, revere the charismatic Khan and defend him vigorously and sometimes aggressively on social media.”
“But Khan has plenty of critics, too, especially Pakistani liberals and members of the country’s more progressive political parties, as well as the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which ran the previous government and constantly sparred with the PTI,” the article said.
Referring to challenges ahead, Kugelman said that Khan is already confronting a brewing economic crisis, an aggrieved political opposition and clear and present extremist threats that resulted in a recent spate of attacks on electoral candidates including the single deadliest terror strike in Pakistan since 2014. “He also must confront the challenge of Pakistan’s growing debt to China, not to mention an Indian rival nervous about his nationalistic rhetoric…”
“Neither Khan nor the PTI has ever led a national government before, and he will be operating in one of the most polarized political environments in Pakistan in recent memory,” Kugelman wrote.
“But then again, Imran Khan has defied the odds before. Twenty-six years ago, he led a squad hampered by injury and poor performance to the pinnacle of the cricket world. In an inspiring speech before the match, according to some accounts, he implored his team to ‘fight like cornered tigers, he said.
“To be sure, Khan faces bigger challenges now than he ever did on the cricket pitch,” Kugelman added.










Sania Jamali

Sania Jamali, who studied Media in UAE, is associated with since its inception (2015) mostly reporting International Politics.