It has become fashionable amongst the enlightened moderate crowd in Pakistan to criticize Imran Khan. He is supposedly the right wing nut that if came in power would lock the women in boxes, ban our daughters and our sisters from going to school, organize Friday beheadings in public square and ban all arts & music from the society. His life and the manner in which he has carried himself to this day testify to the contrary but thatâ€™s irrelevant. If you think that extremist, unreasonable, rigid mindsets exists just on the right then in the context of Pakistan you would be sadly mistaken.
For a rabid cricket fanatic who grew up in Karachi in late 80â€™s early 90â€™s, itâ€™s doubly hard for someone like me to admire Imran and itâ€™s almost a reflex action to despise him because of the rivalry he had with my childhood hero Miandad. We should all strive however to grow out of our teen prejudices and judge matters on merit.
After all the rhetoric here are the facts. Imran succeeded to establish a state of the Art Cancer Research facility in a 3rd world country. 70% of the patients of Shaukat Khanam Hospital donâ€™t pay a penny for a 1st world Cancer treatment that would cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars elsewhere. Till recently he was the biggest donor to Shaukat Khanam, his yearly contributions usually exceeding 10 million rupees a year. There is no other hospital in the world that provides this level of service free of cost to the patients that canâ€™t afford it.
He recently established a private University in a down-trodden, backward and impoverished region of Mianwali. Namal University is accredited by Bradford University in England, which Imran is a Chencellor of. The graduates of Namal University would have access to the same quality education and therefore will be awarded the same diplomas as the graduates of Bradford University in England. It can be safely assumed that 95% of these impoverished Namal graduates could never even dream of a prestigious diploma like the ones theyâ€™ll receive from Bradford, if it werenâ€™t for the almost incessant drive of this great man.
Let me clearly state here that I donâ€™t always agree with Imran on politics, although mostly we are on the same page. But I have no doubt that his stances and his point of views are sincere and they are not colored with self-interest. I think he was wrong on swat because ANP masterfully highlighted the dictatorial tendencies of TTP in swat and turned the public opinion on its head. I also donâ€™t think there is anything noble about a culture that prevent women from access to education and their free will is crushed under the garb of â€˜tribal customsâ€™. If Quaid-e-azam made a pact with the people of FATA according to the realities on ground back in 1947 then itâ€™s not blasphemy to reevaluate that social contract. Quaid-e-azam was not a messanger of Allah and he made the best possible decisions according to the circumstances around him and there is no harm in revisiting if itâ€™s for the over-all good of Pakistan.
I agree with Imran that bombing alone isnâ€™t the answer when you are dealing with a territory inside your own border but I donâ€™t quite understand who is that we can really talk with in Waziristan?
Itâ€™s a rather complex problem we face in pakistan, a mess of gigantic proportions thanks to the policies of armament of civilians by our military establishments of past, and for what? Nothing but the financial gains of some generals and institutional relevance of Army in the society. Better people would have brought these ex generals in courts and held them responsible for this current mess rather than hearing their sermons on democracy and transparency on TV on Mayray mutabiq. But thatâ€™s a different discussion for a different time.
We should keep our differences and criticism in perspective and acknowledge positive efforts of our adversaries. Jamatis should not shy away from appreciating the enormous amount of work Mustafa kamal has done in Karachi and with the same token we should realize that these Zardaris, bhuttos, Chaudhryâ€™s, Geelaniâ€™s et al have far more money and influence than Imran but they have done far less good (some would argue they have rather done harm) for the common man of Pakistan. The people of Pakistan should remember this little detail while they are in the voting booth.
Please find the video of Namal College ceremony below. This ceremony was covered by Mujahid Barelvi for his proram Doosra Pehlo for Pakistan CNBC.
ATP’s Earlier Post on Namal College here.