The last two days spent in the company of Imran Khan had been emotionally and spiritually rejuvenating. The feeling of being face to face with your leader, someone you idealised and followed all your life, a hero since childhood is barren of words. I have met Imran Khan on several occasions before but it was mostly as an admirer in public gatherings. The fundraiser in Slough and Khan’s address at Kings College London was an experience to be cherished. The huge success of the event was a testament of people’s belief in him. The overwhelming feeling of accomplishment in the ranks of PTI members and supporters was phenomenal.
The evening at Kings College was a testament to Khan’s strength, i.e. the young and enthusiastic Insafians. PTI UK was an invited guest by the Student body that arranged the evening. The discipline and enthusiasm of the attendees was exemplary. I must congratulate the organising student body for a great effort, as the program was arranged on short notice. When we entered the charged hall with Khan, the signature winning smirk was evident on Imran Khan’s face.
This made me think what is it that inspire us so much about this guy that our self-belief has become so strong that has made us all the flag bearers of much needed change in Pakistan. The answer was not far off. Khan sab began his formal address in a signature informal way that he does with his supporters. He speaks to his followers with a consummate familiarity and ownership that makes his followers re-ignite in his presence. His speech was that of a teacher, a father, a friend, a true leader. He was determined to instil the confidence that he exhibits, into his foot soldiers. “The Dervaish “, as we call Imran Khan, backed his words with unmatched analogies and examples from the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) life. The words of wisdom from great scholars of the past and present were inspirational in his speech. The crowd was silent yet interactive with him.
It was truly amazing the way he took the audience on board with him and gave the message of self-belief and fearlessness through being honest and supporting what is right. Referring to Muhammad (SAW) life, he referred to the liberation of souls from fear; the fear of being mocked, the fear of being ridiculed, and the fear of losing when you are standing up for what is right. He had a flight to catch within 2 hours of his address but he did not seem to be rushing through his interaction. The glare in his eyes when talking about the new Pakistan, the dream Pakistan, was evident through his body language as well. The way he was almost teaching the future breed of leaders and intellectuals of Pakistan was extra ordinary. True that he can be plain crude at times due to his overwhelming desire to accomplish the dream of new Pakistan, a better Pakistan but his intellect, his vision, his ability to handle pressure and respond positively and winning manner is unmatched by any present leader in Pakistan. The blunt questions from the attendees brought the best out of him. The freedom of disagreement that he allows his team is something that encourages confidence in us. It made me think that the other self-proclaimed leaders of Pakistan, if asked, the same questions with even quarter of intensity, the responses will be hilarious to say the least.
The interaction that we as a team had with Khan sab in the two days was nothing less than inspirational. Witnessed his respect for his followers, when he refused to waste time behind the stage in Slough fund raising event and said, I should not keep those people waiting who have come to see me, who have paid for our cause, you give respect to get respect, and shot straight into the packed hall.
It is not the huge number of followers, admirers and his control over them that makes him different from others; it is his sense of owning them and being responsible for them that makes him different from all others. There was a student who asked him a question in the hall; understandably the lad was frustrated to the brim with the current political mafia in Pakistan. Imran could have easily used those sentiments to further provoke him against them; instead he almost lectured him to convert this anger and frustration into votes. Imran could have easily used the sentiments and unsurpassed passion of hundreds of thousands of his supporters at the historic Lahore jalsa or the Karachi jalsa. He could have easily used the sentiments of the crowd on 13th August 2011 jalsa at D-Chowk Islamabad or the Waziristan march. But what made me respect and admire him most was his desire to train his followers and instil the self-confidence and self-belief that liberates them from their fears and bring them closer to the philosophy of “khudi” of Iqbal, a long lasting legacy that will ensure that the nation receives a breed of leaders for a long term prosperous future. I saw a true mentor in him in these two days. The analogy he drew from his personal experience to elaborate “never let public perception dictate your decision” was stimulating.
How to command respect rather than demanding respect is what Imran has practically demonstrated to his young breed of followers. People like us who just saw politics as the power game, gimmicks and filth have now got a purpose. This man has introduced us to goal oriented visionary politics; a sense of ownership and self-belief that will benefit generations to come. He did not fall short of setting example for us even right at the end. When we escorted him to his vehicle, none of us six could match his pace. The tireless lion made us 20 and 30 somethings feel like mere cubs. His drive and determination for the cause is the source of energy for him, the more his opponents and critics challenge and try to relegate him, the stronger he comes out. And that’s what he teaches the Insafians as well.
My forefathers believed in Quaid e Azam and put their faith in the Almighty for this beautiful homeland of ours. Millions sacrificed their lives, possessions and easy and lavish lives for the country we call Pakistan. Our forefathers believed in the Pakistan that we have been dreaming of for the last 4 decades. And trust me; we will clutch our beloved homeland back from these below average thugs that have affixed their claws at the very heart of Pakistan. This is the belief and determination that this man has given us. My father has been my mentor, inspiration and my guide in life and the sense of calm and approval on his face about my political ideology and association with Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf is something that reaffirms my trust in Khan sab. As someone said to me that we may not realise the impact but it’s our children and generations who will reap the rewards and realise what this man that we call our chairman, our leader, has done for us.
People say that he is not a politician; I think they are right, spot on in fact. He is not a politician indeed but he is a leader, a ‘True Leader’ that inculcates his qualities in his followers. Honest, visionary and fearless is the definition of Khan, ‘The Khan’, the leader of millions and millions of hearts.