Imran Khan - Pakistan's last best hope?

I don’t normally go into politics on the interweb, but felt this was topical.

I interviewed Imran Khan over 20 years ago. He had already left cricket and was focused on finishing his hospital project. I found him aloof and haughty, not exactly friendly and likeable.

But what I did recognise even then was that the arrogance was born out of strong self-belief, as it should be in successful sportsperson. What came across was a man of steely determination who did not accept failure easily.

What also became apparent was a keen and hungry intellect (way beyond what I was expecting from a bat-and-ball guy). He asked us as almost as many questions as we asked him, and he didn’t debate our responses, trying to bully us into accepting his point of view. Instead he just listened and absorbed, potentially analysing what we said then quietly, internally, formulating his own opinion.

Our meeting was well before he got into politics, but just in the short interaction and time I spent with him, there was a hint that he was already contemplating greater goals and campaigns, beyond cricket, commentating and building charitable hospitals.

His mind wasn’t totally with us during the interview, perhaps flitting between the stereotypically plush Kensington bachelor pad we sat in (his then present reality) and far loftier thoughts (what would be his future self-reinvention). Imagine trying to interview a constantly distracted Tony Stark in the beginning of the second Iron Man movie – when he was still trying to accept his new identity.

Whether I liked him or not (I’m not a cricket-fan so his god-like status in that sphere, didn’t really mean anything to me at the time), I left there with a new respect for him, though not quite awe, not then anyway.

Whether he is an ego-maniac or a genuine philanthropist, may still be questionable, and something only time will reveal. What is evident is that he is determined, passionate, an achiever, and not someone I would associate with corruption, greed and malice.

I may be wrong, it may all be a bluff – but what other option has Pakistan got? A former failed Prime Minister who’s corruption and nepotism is legendary, or a kid with a very troubled upbringing and scant comprehension of the people or country he’s clearly being cajoled to represent?

Pakistan’s a mess right now, let’s be honest. Khan could make a difference.

Besides he’s definitely the underdog (an injured one at that) – and who doesn’t love an anti-establishment plucky underdog hero, upping the fight despite crippling injuries? Imagine him as Bruce Wayne in Dark Knight Rises trying to get out of that prison pit – you just know that if he didn’t Gotham would be lost.

I’m not a Pakistani citizen and can’t vote tomorrow. But if you are and can, you might wanna consider the above. Besides, it’s time to give someone and something new a go, right? Can’t get any worst can it? Can it?

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