I can very well imagine the hope and euphoria that the citizens of our neighbour may be going through at this juncture. The situation can be likened to 1991 when a very raw, reluctant and innocent but extremely honest Rajiv Gandhi was taking over as the Prime Minister of India. To some extent, this hope and expectation was also kindled by Dr Manmohan Singh twice – once while taking over as Finance Minister and then as PM. I think this hope is common to any country and nationality whenever a person of eminence in a field other than hard core politics assumes a public office of such stature.
Having said so, the comparisons above is really not very pertinent as unlike Rajiv and Manmohan, who were pursuing their respective passions almost till the last moment before being dragged into the big bad world of politics forcibly due to prevalent circumstances, Imran nurtured these aspirations almost since he demitted the role of Pakistan cricket team captain after heady World Cup victory.
His PTI has been in the thick of the controversy and his victory is quagmired in the charges of rigging elections with all powerful Pakistani Army support. His main rival Nawaz Sharif was deprived of the level playing field as he was cooling his heals in the prison along with his daughter during the crucial pre polling canvassing period on charges of corruption. His personal life is also not too clean with a spate of marriages ( with one hardly lasting 11 months; this ex wife is not leaving any opportunity to malign Imran’s reputation and image) and the current also reportedly going through rough weather. His love child out of wedlock with Sita White is the stuff that adorns headlines of gossip magazines.
While India may not have any major reason to rejoice as he is not likely to go against the line being towed by hard liners, Pakistan should not lose hope to end her continuous tryst with miseries (power shortage, inflation, terrorism, law and order, international standing, debt burden etc) for the following reason:
(1) Imran is educated, suave, charming and has much broader outlook then any of his predecessors ever had, except may be the founding father Jinnah, who for all his hawkishness, was a liberal at heart.
(2) He is not a mere talker but a doer. Shaukat Khanum Cancer Research Institute, Karachi, promoted by him in memory of his late mother , who expired of cancer, is his great contribution to the citizenry of that country. As I understand, the hospital already has branches in Lahore and another city.
(3) He brings with him certain basic tenets of a sportsman- discipline, fitness, team spirit, camaraderie, temperament, patriotism- all the virtues that today’s Pakistan is badly in need of.
(4) Pakistan is almost on the verge of adoption of Islamic Law (Sharia), which may be just one Mullah away. Imran offers hope of liberalism, openness and modernism.
(5)’Lastly, unlike Musharraf and few others, who hated India in spite of undivided India being their birth place, Imran knows that India’s sport lovers adore his personality and attitude and this should be enough reason for him to use this goodwill to make a positive start.
All the best Imran!