Imran Khan: Professor or Pariah?
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By Sajjad Suhail-Sindhu, Edited By Adam Rizvi, The India Observer, TIO, NJ: “In a village in a nation, a beggar dies of hunger, but the crooked ruler of that nation kills the entire nation for satiating his hunger for stealing the wealth of that nation.”
- Allama Iqbal.
- Circa 1930.
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Thus began the open letter I wrote to Imran Khan in 2018 as part of my own efforts in getting Imran elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan. The body of that letter consisting of my firm belief that he was the only option left to lead Pakistan, if Pakistan was to survive and flourish as a nation as per the dreams of the founding fathers. A lot has happened since then, Imran was elected, and undertook to begin to turn Pakistan, the impoverished nation into one with some semblance of England, the country in which he had spent his critical developmental years since the age of 18. This time, I write with a view to reaching those people of Pakistan who stand against Imran, the followers of Nawaz Sharif, Zardari and Bhutto. I believe I can argue a case for them to turn and support Imran, for the changes he purports to bring to Pakistan are those she has longed for all her life.
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After being elected, and before Imran could make any significant headway, down the path of socio-economic transformation, he has been forced through a cacophony of injustices: of having been ousted in a joint concerted effort by the collective opposition as well as some turncoats whom Imran trusted. Having been usurped, he has nearly been executed with having been shot at 4 times with the bullets narrowly missing the vital organs, and a plethora of cases being piled against him in various courts across the country, all designed to make him out to be a pariah and either set him up for a second attempt to killing him or, in the least, to imprison him and keep him away from the electioneering process, making sure he does not get re-elected as Prime minister ever again.
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Sometime in 2018, I wrote a piece titled “Imran Khan is not a Prophet”, as a rebuttal to a visiting Pakistani politician whose usage of ‘prophet’ as a metaphor was intended to demean Imran. Recent events in Pakistan have caused me to look at what is happening there, in the light of what prophets, Mohammad (puh) and Jesus (puh) had to go through as part of delivering Allah’s Message. I believe there are clear parallels with their struggles and those of Imran Khan’s. In searching through man’s history, I find it is not limited to the struggles of prophets alone, for man’s escaping oppression in the face of overwhelming tyrannical rulers have seen to be repeated through history regularly.
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There are echoes of these struggles through time. Just like stanzas of poems that rhyme. There was Moses who led the Jews to the promised land, after centuries of suffering under the Pharaohs. Prophet Jesus’s (puh) liberating the early Christians from the Roman’s tyranny. Our prophet Mohammad (puh) liberating the early Muslims from the torture of Meccans and in more recent times, Oliver Cromwell liberating the common folk of England from the ravages of King Charles the 1st and in even more recent times, Lenin, driven by Karl Marx’s philosophy, and his Bolsheviks liberating the Russian pheasants from the 300-year-old monarchy of Romanovs. There was Martin Luther King and who can forget Nelson Mandela delivering his people from the evils of apartheid in white South Africa? In each case, there was resistance to change, but eventually the struggle was won to the benefit of the common people.
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It is the specific phenomenal details of the events of the two prophets, Jesus (puh) and Mohammad (puh) that show the greatest parallels with the events of the phenomena that is Imran Khan. In the beginning, Jesus (puh) met with the very few believers, just like prophet Mohamad (puh) in secret as those around them felt threatened at the new message they brought. Each suffered greatly, but as their message took hold thousands came to their side, ever increasing in numbers. While the suffering of prophet Muhammad (puh) and his followers and the unfolding of his message are well known amongst Muslims, I shall talk a little of how Jesus (puh) was received as his message went out. People came from far and wide to hear Jesus (puh) speak, a phenomenon we see unfolding in front us today in Pakistan as Imran Khan’s followers multiply in every city, and in each city we see the equivalent of the events of the mount of Olives wherein Jesus’s followers went forth and carried and spread the message.
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And there, Imran Khan has had his own version of the traitor that was Judas Iscariot, who for a sum of 30 pieces of silver betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin, to have Jesus arrested. One such traitor, to Imran, appears to have met with a similar end to that of Judas Iscariot, whom I shall not name. And the parallels do not stop there, for as recent as these past few days as of March 20th, 2023, the enforcers of the regime in power, have been on city wide raids across the country, arresting “karkoons”, Imran’s PTI workers, just as the Pharaoh Rameses’s enforcers went from door to door rampaging and pillaging of the slaves quarters, disrupting the lives of all those who stood in the way of progress.
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Since being ousted from power, Imran Khan has gone from city to city, as people turn up in huge numbers bringing their parents, children, and grandparents, all clamoring to reach him, hanging on to his every word as though he were a prophet. Imran’s speeches are replete with details of new directions the country and people need to take. He draws parallels with what is happening now with the events in history, particularly the events of the usurping of the Caliphate by one monster, Yazid, the son of Muawiya who the prophet’s scribe. Imran reminds us that both Muawiya and Yazid were both Hafiz and being so did not prevent Yazid from committing the horrific events of Karbala, drawing parallels with the events of the present day, atrocities being committed by those in power today, and who also, are Hafiz.
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Imran educates the people of the events that were kept from them by the previous governments, of their malfeasance and inbred unending corruption, that was kept from the public at large, keeping them in a state of ignorance, innocence, leading them to accept poverty as a way of life, never to escape it, to never dream of a better life, nor for themselves or their future generations, a state forced upon them by the two families that took turns to pillage Pakistan of her wealth. Wealth, they took to England, France, and the US, building there, their lives, for themselves and their future offspring. These poverty-stricken people are Imran’s followers and look to Imran to bring permanent economic relief from a life of poverty. It was just so too in the time of prophet Muhammad. His followers were poor, who had their meager belongings seized by the persecuting Meccans and driven out of Mecca, and so they followed prophet Muhammad (puh) to Medina, into an unknown future.
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There is resistance to Imran Khans message just as there was resistance to prophet Muhammad’s message by the Meccans, who were led by the tribe of Quraysh. Just as today, whence the resistance is largely to do with loss of power, so it was with the Quraysh. They feared loss of power and revenue, were they to allow the conversion of Mecca to the new message of Islam and of one God that sought to unite the people under one flag, and one nation. In their eyes, the loss of their many Gods, wooden, metal, and ceramic statues, replaced with one God, Allah, was an economic suicide. With Mecca being an off shoot of the ancient silk road, with few visitors from the actual silk road, they feared the adoption of Islam would simply cause the cessation of traders from visiting Mecca destroying their livelihood.
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And so it is that the followers of Nawaz Sharif and Bhutto and Zardari, like the Meccans, who monopolized the economy of Mecca, fear the loss of their monopoly on their economic Mecca, that is Pakistan. This fear is borne of not being able to see and accept that change is necessary, for it is not just change for the sake of change, for with that change come vast improvements that everyone benefits from. While previously, only a handful of people, leaders of Mecca benefitted, but when change was allowed to happen, all of Mecca prospered as visitations from across the entire continent of Arabia began to visit Mecca for Hajj, bringing with them wealth, the amount of which hitherto had been undreamt of.
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This wealth grew again as Muslims grew in numbers across the globe and people came from thousands of miles away. This happened in the time of Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad. It happened in the liberation of England as Cromwell took away the power of the Monarch and gave the common folk more say. While there were 4 people who attended Karl Marx’s grave at the time of his burial, today people line up for 4 hours to see his grave.
We are always a reflection of the people around us, changing in unison with them with changing times. If we don’t change with them, keep in step with the economic changes by virtue of continuing to evolve, educate and improve, we would be left behind. In a world where everybody is dying, a parent’s only desire is to see their child live and grow up.
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And in a prosperous society, the same parents desire is to see their child grow up and succeed. This need, to keep up with those around us extends to villages, towns, and cities in which we live. Indeed, we are at a juncture in the history of mankind, where our neighbors are other countries, so small has the world become, and as Pakistanis, we have ceased to keep up and have been left behind. Metaphorically speaking, we are dying, and our parents yearn to see us survive and live and want to see us grow up and succeed. Our leaders have failed us. They have not taken the necessary steps to keep us abreast of the developments.
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A new leader HAS come amongst us, keen, cognizant and cogent. He is no pariah, and he claims no prophethood. But he is followed by millions, as in the days of old when prophets brought a new message. His name is Imran Khan, and he brings new designs and lays them down for all to see. He sees a dying people and wants to see us live, grow up and succeed. And his leadership is on a par with those of the prophets, who changed humanity. And we have seen already in the way he has raised his voice in favor of Muslims in the highest halls of power, as never before. By every metric he measures up to all he says, and far more than other leaders of late who have near killed Pakistan. And so, I say to the followers of Sharifs, Zardaris and Bhuttos, stop and look, listen, and absorb what is taking place in front of you.
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Do not be afraid of losing your economic Mecca, for just as the Meccans saw a phenomenal rise in prosperity with the coming of and adoption of the new message, so a similar phenomenon awaits you, the other side of which lies a Pakistan where the rule of law is observed, and a principled governance takes hold that is just for everyone young or old, rich or poor, and with opportunities for all those who work hard and expect returns on their hard work.
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Curated and Compiled by Humra Kidwai
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