Moment of truth


The prayer for Pakistan is no different than a prayer for Imran Khan

Sitting in a rural constituency, on the outskirts of Sheikhupura, I am writing this on the night before the election morning. By the time you read this, on Sunday, the votes would have been cast, the results would have been tabulated, the analysis would have concluded, and Pakistan would have woken up to a new Parliamentary term. The question, that everyone is asking, on this rainy and windy night, is whether the morning of the 12th will bring with it a new promise for a brighter future, or will it (God forbid) deepen the decadence of our society.

I am going to resist making a predictions; for two reasons: 1) because too many predictions, from people far more expert at making such speculations than I am, have been made, and 2) because it would make no sense to predict anything to a reader who already knows the results at the time of reading this paper.

I am instead going to write about what I wish would happen. I hope, and pray, that the 12th May, 2013 is the dawn of ‘Naya Pakistan’.

Let me start by confessing that, despite being a supporter of PTI, in the past, I have written as a critic of the party. As a fan of Imran Khan, and his passion, I have been disappointed with some of the choices that his party has made in terms of their members and leadership, recycling corrupt politicians of the past into fresh packaging. I was disillusioned by some of the stances that PTI has taken in terms of participation in the Pakistan Defence Council summit, and comments about certain religious sects. I have been disenchanted by way the party members and its razakaars have shied away from questioning or challenging the leadership.

My disappointment perhaps stems from the underlying ethos of idealism, which can never truly be achieved. Be that as it may. But let us not deny the fact that Imran Khan, and his party (reminiscent of the fact that at the World Cup 1992 final, Pakistan was referred to as “Imran and your team”) has done a tremendous job over the last year and half. Rising from near oblivion, over the past seventeen years, countless party leaders and supporters had mocked the ideas and rigidity of Imran’s politics. They had made fun of his obstinate banter about how all the other parties are corrupt. Some two years back, most of the leaders, donning the PTI cloak today, would have dismissed (summarily) the idea of joining its ranks. Today, most politicians, even those who are disillusioned for not having been given a ticket to contest on PTI’s platform, would kill for an opportunity to be afforded such a chance.

In a world of decadent politics and cynical outlooks, Imran Khan has produced a miracle. One that we have all still not fully accepted or appreciated.

The brave Khan, having had an unfortunate accidental fall at a political rally just days before the election-day, has turned his handicap (of not being able to get off the hospital bed) into his electoral strength.

How? By speaking the truth.

An emotional Khan, just hours after this fall, and with 16 stitches at the back of his head, spoke from the heart in telling people that even while he is unable to move, he is passing the baton of the electoral campaign into the hands of the nation. That he had done all that he could, and that it was now the responsibility of the nation to carry his (and their collective) dream past the end-line. And just two days later, he made an equally passionate appeal to several thousand supporters gathered in D-Chowk, Islamabad, via a video speech that spoke more about him as a person than about the credentials of his party. But it all appealed to, and struck, a certain sensitive cord with the audience and viewers. It was not a political speech. It was a statement of truth. An appeal from an honest man. The manifesto of a dream.

In the hours to follow, I have received phone calls from friends from all over Pakistan – Peshawar to Karachi – expressing one sentiment, and one sentiment alone: we are going to vote for this man. Irrespective of the name on the ballot-paper, regardless of the particular candidate in their respective constituency wearing the PTI flag, the vote, from these passionate supporters, is being cast for the man at the helm. And to produce this sort of passion, in a nation of cynics, is less an achievement and more a miracle.

By the time you read this, the die would have been cast, and so there is no point highlighting Imran Khan’s program in these pages, in order to persuade your vote. I pray that, in the choice between Zardari’s People’s Party, Nawaz Sharif’s PML and Imran Khan’s PTI… there is little need for anyone to argue the better choice (or at least the least worst choice).

In this windy night, in a rural village, just hours before the election process commences, I cannot help but look up at the heavens and pray for Pakistan. And for this one election (at least), deep inside me, I find that the prayer for Pakistan is no different than a prayer for Imran Khan.

I pray, that you are all reading this in Naya Pakistan.

The writer is a lawyer based in Lahore. He has a Masters in Constitutional Law from Harvard Law School. He can be reached at: [email protected]


  1. Saad, PTI hasnt lost but has gained a wonderful opportunity to tackle & transform one of our most beloved provinces. The people of KPK have given PTI a chance & while Im disappointed as a Punjabi that we wont be welcoming the great Khan here in Lahore, atleast we can witness as PTI gets to work & turns around KPK into one of the most prosperous & peaceful places in Pakistan & indeed the world.

    The real work for PTI begins now.

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