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Is Imran Khan overconfident or will be a trendsetter?

The News report by Mumtaz Alvi

Imran Khan of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) exudes immense confidence these days about his party getting into the corridors of power after a few weeks, so do those around him. Is it optimism or pragmatism?


The tone, tenor and the body language of the trend-setter in the hitherto stinking and corruption-infested political arena was not different during his latest interaction with the media at a local hotel on Tuesday afternoon.


Imran Khan was invited to speak on the launching of party manifesto, in the manner of the future prime minister. It may be recalled that in the party’s recent public meeting at Mingora, Imran himself claimed that PTI will form government within next few weeks.


Imran has in fact introduced, among some other new things, two revolutionary approaches i.e. fund-raising to finance election campaign of those, who cannot afford it and the launch of ‘change volunteers’, who will apprise people of PTI’s vision during their house-to-house visits. How far does he succeed in this is yet to be seen. However, this has to a certain extent shaken the deep-rooted political dynasties: one based in Larkana and the other in Raiwind.


But to many, his most remarkable achievement has been the intra-party election that other political parties have never dared to hold. The exercise consumed PTI’s eleven months.


Every second sentence Imran speaks is about bringing about a real change. But those sitting on the stage beside him are often known faces such as Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Javed Hashmi and Jehangir Tareen, who have been part of the previous regimes one way or the other.


Quite surprisingly, he has struck a deal to support the veteran from Rawalpindi, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, who has been minister in PML-N as well as PML-Q governments under Nawaz Sharif and Pervez Musharraf.


Ostensibly, Imran’s flight is high, his intentions clear and his past record impeccable. But one wonders if he has found a team to help him translate into reality what he has been saying in his largely-attended public meetings and then in the party manifesto, unveiled Tuesday in full media glare.


Irrespective of PTI’s performance in the May 11 general elections, a mystery still shrouds the attitude of those who will not get party tickets. No one can say with certitude whether those left out would still support Imran.


Needless to say, PPP and PML-N leadership is also faced with same dilemma this time. But there is more focus on PTI, as Imran has given so much confidence to his supporters and has repeatedly announced to form next government. It is surprising for many as to how he would be able to do so without allying with any other party.


His unique experiment of awarding at least 25 per cent party tickets to youth is also debatable though a bold decision. Imran needs 172 out of 342 MNAs on his side to form a PTI government. Can he make the apparently impossible, possible?


“We plan to kick off an innovative massive election campaign after the ECP announces the final list of candidates that will leave others far behind. Imran will address a string of huge public meetings,” claimed PTI Information Secretary Shafqat Mehmood while talking to The News.


Shafqat, a former senator, said that the wind of change was already started blowing across for Imran had given hope to the nation through his actions and words. “You would not find any contradiction in what he says and what he does, which the leaderships of other two major parties lack,” he charged.


For instance, Imran abhors what he calls family limited parties and he has discouraged it by keeping his cousins and other relatives at bay.

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