Of course this is about Imran Khan. For the first time, in a very long time I actually felt that I missed out on something by not attending the rally yesterday. Yes, I probably got to hear the speech better sitting at home in front of the television. But wow, I missed out on the energy, the buzz, and the excitement that was in the air. It is absolutely beautiful to experience such times when you see the nation really come together for a cause. When people from different social and economic strata unify as one. The last time that happened was the World Cup-the India vs Pak match. Yesterday it was for Imran Khan.
The hype for the rally had been building up slowly over the past week/ ten days. And I'm not just talking about the streamers, and the banners lined along the roads. It was something greater, and far better- what marketing execs yearn for when promoting any brand ; conversation. I personally witnessed it. Whether I was at work, the gym, home or at a friends- people were talking about it. This might not be that great an achievement, considering that politics is a big part of this country's conversation. You just need to go through our three hundred news channels and 4 million political talk shows and that obnoxious woman being payed in gold for laughing in that annoying way that she does on Hasb-e-haal to know that. But what was different this time simply, is that the conversation was positive. Most drawing room discussions about politics ( our 4 million talk shows included) are full of criticism, cynicism and frankly speaking, bitching. 'Hopeless' is a word , that has been used far too much for this country and its politicians. The conversation surrounding this rally was hopeful, positive and passionate-and I think that is a great achievement in itself.
Just the sheer amount of people that showed up in support of Imran Khan, and in a sense- a better Pakistan was historic. Its hard to get people off of their asses for politics in this country, but Imran Khan was more than successful in that regard.Interestingly a lot of these people were not strangers with no names , but people I know. People who have never been interested in politics before other than -again- the usual criticism , yet on this day they decided be a part of the change.They wanted to be a part of the change. Just the fact that Imran Khan is able to get people , especially the youth off their asses is a big, big deal. But to also make them believe, genuinely, in the heart of their hearts that their actions will amount to something that is bigger than themselves , or anything they have ever been a part of is just plain magical. Its hard to not be reminded of Obama and his 'change', back in 2008. Kinda feels like a political Deja-Vu. Both good looking, young, leaders - mobilizing the youth of the nation on the premises of a better tomorrow. You know what I mean?
So coming to the speech. First things first. He is just too darn cute. You know back , again in 2008- when Hillary Clinton was a democratic hopeful for the presidential election... I thought that if she becomes president of the United States, Imran Khan should definitely become our PM. She wouldn't be able to refuse him anything.No woman in the world would. Maybe Michelle Bachmann should be elected president in 2012 for the same reason. We'd have a much better negotiating position you know? Or Sarah Palin. She seems easy.
Secondly, I really liked the Lazy Lahoris bit. It was a nice touch. Felt like he was talking to me directly. Felt strangely embarrassed.
The speech had some great moments, I loved his little jabs at the Sharif borthers- they deserve it.He managed to keep the speech very relevant. He didn't ramble on- or unnecessarily try to manipulate people's emotions. He stuck to the facts, yes a little drama was added- but in order to be a good orator you need to be a good performer. He spoke about key issues, showed where he stood on them. You know while listening to the speech, I really wished that in Pakistan we had presidential debates like the US; I think its a great exercise-you really find out where the candidates stand. But again, whose to say that the stands polticians will take wont change when they are successfully elected. As we have seen numerous times, there is nothing holding a politician to his word after he has been elected. Which brings me to my next great thing about Imran Khan- he has taken specific stands which he is strongly sticking to.Back in 2009, Khan wrote an open letter to Obama, after he was elected. The issues mentioned in the letter are the same that Khan fights for today. In fact, I really like his stand on the United States. What he is saying is true. This country is paying for someone else's battle with its own blood. Yes, the United States is a bully, one that you can't really refuse- but it needs to be told/ and taught that their operations haven't made the world a safer place. In fact its become a more dangerous place due to their aggression. We have tried the American way- and we are the ones paying for its failure. What Khan suggests is something far more simpler and infinitely more logical- a dialogue with the so-called 'insurgents'. Try and meet them half way. Stop this madness.If the American way hasn't worked in ten years, its not going to start now. You don't need to be a politician to see that.Oh, oh also, I thoroughly enjoyed the somber background music that started playing when Khan started talking about terrorism,drone attacks and their victims. If it was anyone else I would've thought 'cheap tactic', but because it was him I loved that he did it.Well played. Looks like he's really getting a hang of the game.While hearing the speech with the music- I was kinda moved. And that's just what it is all about.The right emotions at the right time.
The other interesting thing in yesterday's speech was the call for a 'civil disobedience' movement if the the high ranking politicians etc did not declare their assets in a few months time. I liked that he kept the deadline deliberately vague. Not following through a deadline is very discouraging for supporters and Imran Khan can't afford to lose momentum. So his solution for corruption: declaration of assets- seems like a very simple solution. Far too simple. Some might even view it as too 'idealistic'. I know when I first heard it, I thought 'really? that's it?' But then I remembered what I had recently come across in this book I just finished. The law of parsimony,- which is a sort of theory suggesting that the simplest solution is usually the correct one. I know- long shot.No connection whatsoever. But it really made me think. The only reason I can't accept a simple solution for corruption is because I believe that corruption itself is a complex problem. But is the actual problem/ act complex or does the complexity lie in the web like network it has weaved in bureaucratic/ government institutions.? Corruption itself - is just the illegal acquisition of funds.Nothing complicated about that. So why can't the solution be simple as well you know? The declaration of assets is just starting point, the tip of the iceberg- I doubt its supposed to encompass everything. But, its a start and I think its a great start. Think about it,how can we know how much somebody has cheated the country out of, if we don't know how much they had in the first place ?
Lastly, I'm glad he brought up Baluchistan, and he intends to treat Baluchistan as a part of this country, which its is- not a colony, which we treat it as. I thought that was a great mention. We're going to make another Bangladesh out of Baluchistan if things keep going this way, and we simply cannot afford that anymore.
Okay I'm going to stop now because this post has already become much longer than I initially wanted it to be. But oh well. Here's to a great yesterday and hoping that this just the start of it all.
I don't know If I believe that we are heading towards a change, but I sure as hell believe in Imran Khan.
Him I'll follow anywhere.