Bani Gala

Wings of Hope

Imran Khan reminded us how we were not children of a lesser
God. He questioned the status quo. He ignited the fire in us to
defy and question. That is what his party stood for.

By Imran Jan | August 2020

For decades, Pakistanis were fed up with the hopeless politics of Pakistan. Post-Zia, we saw a musical chair style of democracy in which Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto took turns in ruining the country’s politics, institutions and, most importantly, the people’s hopes for the future. Then came Musharraf, followed by governments called true democracies.

In the background there was a man making all the right sounds. He said all the things we wanted to hear. He made us think the things we didn’t even know were kosher to think, given the mental shackles we were in. We already loved him for winning the Cricket World Cup for Pakistan and founding the impossible cancer hospital in the country, which gave free treatment to the poor. We had no doubt he was selfless and charming. His charisma and stardom were quoted even in the Indian film industry.

He reminded us how we were not children of a lesser God. He questioned the status quo. He ignited the fire in us to defy and question. That is what his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf stood for. I was once at a large departmental store in Islamabad. After I filled my cart and was about to pay, the credit card machine got into a glitch and my payment couldn’t be processed. But their main machine in the manager’s office was working.

They kept asking me to pay cash and I kept arguing how I wouldn’t put up with their laziness and will make them work harder and do what I want rather than what they found comfortable. My arguments eventually led the manager to use his machine to process my payment. The manager had an interesting question for me. He smiled and asked if I had come from abroad and whether I was a PTI supporter. I said yes to both.

That spoke volumes about the reality for us as a nation. Those people who had lived in Pakistan all their lives were used to accepting the status quo. Hope and development were foreign ideas to them. This was when belief in one’s importance, ability, existence and struggle were equated with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Such was the image and calibre of the PTI. Pakistanis learned to question and argue either after they had returned from abroad or if they had been listening to Imran Khan. PTI was a party of the brave new Pakistani nation, the one that was not lethargic and passive.

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