Imran Khan and his People: A Love Story

Sheema Mehkar in The Express Tribune: During a fundraising telethon for SKMCH, Imran Khan once said that when he started his campaign for building the charity cancer hospital and approached his Aitchison school friends and other wealthy buddies for donations, everyone refused, and no one gave a penny. Instead, it was the ordinary Pakistanis, the poor laborers, the school kids, the women, the street vendors, and the beggars who filled his pot with whatever little they had: from their daily wages to their pocket money to their jewellery. It was the ordinary Pakistanis who believed in Imran Khan and his dream.

Things changed; the cricketer and philanthropist decided to jump into politics, a decision driven by the desire to serve and not lust for power. A path that took him through battles he might not have anticipated but was strong enough to fight and triumph. Imran was an outcast, a misfit for a system that reeked of financial and moral corruption run by parasites, for parasites. He resolved to reform this system, sitting in a room of his newly founded party’s office with probably 10 supporters. He walked alone on a path rife with mockery, loss and suffering. But nothing could budge him from abandoning his dream.

It took him 22 years to live his dream, just briefly, as the dream ended soon with a nightmare to take over. A long, dreadful, unending nightmare that began on the cursed night of April 9, 2022. Today, his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, is battered. He is incarcerated. His companions are in jail. His workers are being abducted and killed. His party’s right to fair elections is stifled. The people are in continuous psychological trauma as the country is grappling with the worst fascism seen since the 1970 general elections.

The system couldn’t accept an outcast, it banished him because he wasn’t one of them, because he was above them, because he became a threat to their small, sycophantic, disingenuous existence. The system pushed him against the wall and narrowed the space around him. Once again, he became alone. Once again, everyone refused to help him. Once again, he went to where he belonged: his people. Once again, his people welcomed him, with their hearts as open as their pockets that filled his pot with donations. More here.

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