Monday, October 31, 2011

Why Imran Khan has already delivered for Pakistan

I saw three people at the office today who were trying to register to vote – just because they were inspired by Imran Khan’s rally last night.

I saw a 100,000+ people gather to hear Imran speak yesterday, and I’m ready to make a pretty big wager that at least half of them were attending their first ever political rally.

Whatever happens in the elections, Imran Khan has already delivered.

He has brought a whole new class of people into the political fold. He’s finally gotten the urban middle class interested. Even if these people go on to vote for someone else down the road, at least they are taking an interest in their country’s future instead of simply shrugging their shoulders.

Who knows how many of the young people in yesterday’s rally will go on to enter politics themselves ? Who knows how many of them will be inspired to become change agents instead of armchair critics ? Even if 10 bright young people do this out of the 100,000+ it will be a service to Pakistan.

This is what democracy should look like, with people genuinely excited about the choices they make – whatever choice they make.

Imran has single-handedly changed the shape of Pakistani politics. Suddenly the old clichés don’t apply any more.

No educated people will ever come to jalsas, or vote.

No new person can make a dent in the established parties.

There is no way to get into politics other than to join one of the big parties or the establishment.

We’ve all grown up thinking and feeling like this. And we’ve accepted these as the established truths for a long time. Unchanging.

But here’s the funny thing about change. The longer something remains unchanged, the closer it is to a change even though it seems like the reverse.

Because everything changes.

And Pakistan is changing. Bit by bit, one event at a time. What it changes into is up to all of us.

I don’t care who anyone votes for. I have no illusions that Imran will sweep the next polls. But he is the biggest catalyst of change we’ve seen for a while. And for that we should thank him. He has given fifteen years of his life to making this change, the least we can do is to say Thank you.

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