Hopes and Hurdles

If Imran Khan does not deliver on the nation’s hopes,
there is nobody else on the horizon.

By Imran Jan | March 2020

Steve Jobs in his 2007 commencement speech at Stanford said that getting fired from Apple, a company he had created, was the best thing that had ever happened to him. It had left him devastated at that moment but as time passed, he worked hard to start all over again. Jobs said that his pride of being the world’s top entrepreneur was replaced with the lightness of being a beginner again. Jobs pointed this out as a mindset of being “less sure about everything”. And that was the key to the future iconic success of his career.

Imran Khan’s promise and rhetoric gave people a hope unheard of in Pakistan in recent memory. However, ever since he came to power, the net result has been more difficulties for the poor than before. The struggle to make ends meet is a real one and it only became nightmarish under the PTI rule. The problem is that the PTI is still in campaign mode, while the rest of us have moved on. Words such as mafia and corrupt thugs are still heard even when the topic is the soaring prices of wheat and sugar.

The movie Shawshank Redemption has Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman arguing about having hope. Morgan argues that hope is a dangerous thing, while Robbins tells him how hope is the best of things. In my humble view, both the characters are right. Hope can ruin people as well as run them. PTI gave us a hope we had not seen in decades in Pakistan and some of the younger Pakistanis had not seen it in Pakistani politics at all. I was born in Pakistan during a dictatorship. Then came the magical chair styled democracy of the 90s, followed by another dictatorship. That is when I became eligible to vote but there was no real ballot in sight. Khan, running in 2018, was the first time for many in Pakistan with a real urge to cast their vote.

We all felt that we could make a difference and that we were no children of a lesser God. The hope rejuvenated us all and gave us a purpose to exercise an important element of our citizenship. It energized our patriotism. Sadly, however, the feelings of those days seem like a distant past. The disillusionment came in phases because we quickly bought the idea that the troubling times were an inheritance from the thieves of the past. Many of us rationalized every move that Imran Khan approved of, including the inclusion of Aamir Liaquat in the party. We remained quiet even when this despicable con artist was made a party member.

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The writer is a political analyst. He can be reached at
imran.jan@gmail.com. Twitter @Imran_Jan.

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