After millions of Pakistanis flocked to vote for the 2018 general elections in Pakistan, latest results show it is likely that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) is poised to make inroads as the Prime Minister of the country. Let us have a look at the life and political career of the bold cricketer-turned-politician, Imran Khan, who campaigned immensely on the creation of ‘new Pakistan’. Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, a cricketer and philanthropist, was born in an aristocratic ethnic Pashtun family in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, Punjab
He completed his graduation from Oxford University in 1975 with Bachelor degree in philosophy, politics and economics. Post that in 1976 he joined Pakistan’s national cricket team and played until 1992, in the same year he gave the country its first and only victory at the 1992 World Cup in Australia.
Meanwhile, in 1991, he launched a fundraising campaign to constitute a cancer hospital in memory of his mother. He raised $25 million to constitute the first hospital in Lahore in 1994, followed by the 2nd in 2015 in Peshawar.
Enraged by the country’s bureaucracy and incessant corruption, Khan entered into politics in 1996 by founding a centre-right party named Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf with a promise to root out corruption and ensure justice to all.
As the chief of the party, Khan won his first seat in the national assembly in the 2002 general elections, while contesting from Mianwali, Punjab, hometown to his parents.
After the boycott of the 2008 general elections, Khan baffled many rival political parties by igniting thousands of Pakistanis to public rallies in Lahore and Karachi in late 2011.
The rise of Khan was imminent after a provincial victory in the 2013 general elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where he managed to govern for full 5 years.
Though considered as Pakistani military’s favourite son, Khan campaigned immensely against corruption and with a promise to reform systems within the government. As 70% population in Pakistan is under 30, the demagogue has garnered the support of many young voters.
However, it still remains to be seen who manages to be the Prime Minister of the country, which has in its history of 7p years been ruled by the military for a long decade.