This voter will turn up for Imran Khan

Published: May 10, 2013
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There were 60 years etched in those lines, pain in those puffy eyes. But it gave us goose bumps to hear what you had to say.

Dear Imran,

I was a schoolgirl in the 80’s and I know you. I remember the excitement of the Brooke Bond ad, the value of your autograph. I remember the pages in slam books dedicated to you. I know who my boy-cousins and chacha’s were pretending to be when they swung a bat over their shoulders and sauntered onto a cricket pitch, the way a teenage Waseem Akram used to look at you. That’s right, Skipper, my generation remembers all that. I also remember the day your beaming face lifting the World Cup was banned from national TV.

My nineties-born boy cousins were named ‘Imran,’ they live with that name today. I remember one of Jemima’s earliest interviews when she said she knew her husband ‘was popular in Pakistan—but she had no idea he was this popular.’ ‘Bimbo,’ I thought…along with the rest of the women in this country. ‘Where did you come from?’ Who could like that woman for marrying…and then leaving…Imran Khan… ‘No Hugh Grant ever matched up, huh Jem?’

I watched with unease when you were ridiculed in politics, when flibbertigibbets like Nadia Khan could smirk publicly at you. When you shed the playboy shirts and donned the awami suit. You made my heart sink with your vote on the Women’s Bill. I winced as you talked about the Ahmedis.

‘Who is he, really?’ I wondered.

But my eyes were also opened by the way my students—now men in their 20’s—began to attend your jalsas. And then, when my sister skyped in to tell me that my seven-year-old nephew all the way across in Liverpool, dropped his plastic cricket bat and began sobbing loudly, breathtakingly, at the sight of your bloodied face being carried away from the forklift.

It’s happened all over again. One nation held its breath at precisely the same second, last night, when you tumbled off that forklift, Skipper. We held our breath and reached for each other, de-ja-vu washing over our hearts. You’ve made us hold our breath countless times before: West Indies, India, Sharjah, the World Cup. But not quite like this. We exhaled together when we heard you were ok, ignoring partisanship to look each other in the eyes to read the same thought:

We can’t afford to lose…this man.

There was nothing play-boyish, nothing glamorous about your face looking out at us from the hospital bed. There were 60 years etched in those lines, pain in those puffy eyes. But it gave us goose bumps to hear what you had to say.

I never watched cricket. I never believed in politics. Until you, Skipper.

For years, I’ve heard the drawing room talk lamenting our leadership crisis. Last night, despite ourselves, we saw a Leader. I disagree with you on so much but you make me determined to fight for it all. If you get elected, someone might actually listen. Looking at how you’ve persevered through the last 17 years till all turned to look twice: this makes me believe in democracy in a way that the Bhutto legacy or the Shareef baradaran never could.

I’m coming to believe in democracy, thanks to you, Skipper.

For so many years, we’ve waited for a moment to feel our collective heartbeat, for a moment to celebrate. Beneath our sarcasm and skepticism, our blood—though these days it trickles rather than flows—remains forever, green. I am 37 and I’ve never voted. This morning, I sms-ed my ID and noted my polling station.

This morning, I fished around in my almari for a green dupatta to iron for the 11th. This morning, I let Junaid Jamshed sing ‘Inshallah…’ in my car as I dropped my daughter to her school. Even though I boycotted his lawn this year over his comment that women shouldn’t drive, even though I share no beliefs with that man, I clutched at the steering wheel and joined my voice with his: InshAllah…InshAllah.

Voter turnout will determine the election? Well then. This voter will turn up. ‘Come on, Imran.’ I remember the way the commentators used to say it as the crowd’s feet began to thump in the stands, soft and so slow at first, then louder, much louder, gaining speed…as you gained speed.

‘Come on, Skipper.’ You have a people to lead.

Sincerely, Hareem

This post originally appeared here.

Follow Hareem on twitter @overtaketrucks

Hareem.Atif.Khan

Hareem Atif Khan

A teacher who lives in Islamabad. She tweets at twitter.com/overtaketrucks and blogs at moonshine-scribbler.blogspot.com/

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • S

    Beautifully written. Hope he wins IA. Captain Magnificent, I LOVE YOU! Recommend

  • Sana

    I love you for writing this.

    TABDEELI AA CHUKI HAI!!Recommend

  • a third indian

    you only wrote skipper a 100 hundred times. why?Recommend

  • AS

    Very well written! He’s honestly the best pakistan has! Get well soon captain, we want to see a fit and healthy PM inshAllah! Recommend

  • Naya Pakistani…

    “You’ve made us hold our breath countless times before: West Indies, India, Sharjah, the World Cup. But not quite like this.” Beautifully written,,Recommend

  • v

    Could you gush any more?Recommend

  • I.

    BEAUTIFUL.enough said.Recommend

  • Mj

    Sorry to judge, but it does not look like you are voting based on rational reasons.Recommend

  • Citizen Khan

    We r all Imran Khan.Recommend

  • I am Khan

    @ Waterbottle: So who are you voting for? I assume some one who is not a coward. And who is that… the leaders who stand behind the bullet proof glass boxes? Recommend

  • Analyzer

    Well written article. Imran Khan has been selflessly serving Pakistan for well over 20 years, even before he retired from cricket. His vision to create a world class cancer hospital was fulfilled with countless patients getting free treatment for such a fatal disease. After that his vision to create a world class university was also realized through his own drive and efforts. Yet he humbly admits that he did no favors to his country, that it was his duty as a son of the soil. Such honesty, dedication, vision and passion is a rarity in our country, and those who cannot appreciate that surely deserve the current crop of leaders we have. Fortunately, Pakistan still has people who can appreciate such values, and care for our future generations. When we say we will vote for Imran Khan, it is not a political choice or personal preference, it is the only option, to get rid of the hopelessness and gloom we foresee for our next generation should they continue to live in Pakistan. Many have left the country, capable and honest people, many more may follow, but many don’t want to leave, because they still have a glimmer of hope that things will change. Well, its time to give that hope a chance, and get up and vote for Imran Khan. The honesty and love I see in him for the country, I have never seen that in any other leader. BB showed that quality for the brief period when she returned, but she was tragically taken out. Let’s not wait to lose another leader. They are indeed a rare commodity these days. I. Khan. Naya Pakistan. May Allah bless Pakistan.Recommend

  • asad

    @Water Bottle: your analysis is based on some idiotic political shows you see on youtube it counts for nothing. Try to find a genuine leader in your own country.Recommend

  • Stadia

    Mr Bottle

    What is your other option. The Gunja tag team?Khan is no coward. The author is right. I am 37 like her and I have never voted before neither cared to. But IK has woken us up as a nation and reminded us of what we were supposed to be. It’ is definitely not what we are at the moment. I don’t agree with all his politics but he is a leader for sure. Recommend

  • Water Bottle

    “That’s right, Skipper, my generation remembers all that. I also remember the day your beaming face lifting the World Cup was banned from national TV.”

    “My nineties-born boy cousins were named ‘Imran,’”

    “You made my heart sink with your vote on the Women’s Bill.”

    “And then, when my sister skyped in to tell me that my seven-year-old nephew all the way across in Liverpool, dropped his plastic cricket bat and began sobbing loudly, breathtakingly, at the sight of your bloodied face being carried away from the forklift.”

    “One nation held its breath at precisely the same second, last night, when you tumbled off that forklift, Skipper.”

    “Last night, despite ourselves, we saw a Leader.”

    “For so many years, we’ve waited for a moment to feel our collective heartbeat, for a moment to celebrate. ”

    Madam writer, you should write for Bollywood. You will write junks worse than My Name is Khan or Kyinki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahooti.

    This means, madam writer, you can write blockbusters and make a lot of money.Recommend

  • http://yasminelahi.wordpress.com Yasmin Elahi

    Written right from the heart…. and expresses the feelings of all Imran Khan fans! IK is a charismatic leader who has infused a new hope in the nation! The biggest change I have noted in Election 2013 and the previous two elections is that people are genuinely interested and want to vote. The apathy and listlessness which was witnessed in the previous ones and the general mood of “Pakistan mein Kuch nahin Badlane Wala” is no more! The first change Imran Khan has brought about and we are holding our breaths for more!!! I am voting for change…voting for PTI!Recommend

  • Hana

    @Water Bottle:

    “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
    ― Abraham LincolnRecommend

  • Analyzer

    @ET My last comment was from the heart. Please post it. Be fair.Recommend

  • Talha

    After reading your article I think it’s time to support pti……..
    Thank you mam……….Recommend

  • Analyzer

    Not fair ET. If u cant post my comment u should also remove the offensive comments by @Water Bottle. Really disappointed.Recommend

  • Water Bottle

    @Stadia:
    @I am Khan:

    Well, don’t worry about me. I am voting for Modi, if he’s a prime minister candidate.

    My analysis is based on logic. Perfect logic. If you are voting for IK because you don’t have a choice that’s a shame because you are voting for the worst of all evils.

    The only saner choice for Pakistanis is Nawaz Sharif.

    However, I know that reverse psychology works well between India/Pakistan. So you will vote for IK who is absolutely clueless about everything and bring Pakistan to the bring faster than anyone else.

    So, good luck.

    @asad:

    Yes. Amir Liaqat is stupid. But not Karan Thapar. Definitely not Wajahat Khan.

    My analysis is perfect. You will see in the coming 5 years.Recommend

  • Water Bottle

    @Hana:

    “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”
    ― Abraham Lincoln

    That’s a wonderful quote.

    But looking at Pakistan, it will be a behind with piles and blisters. :))Recommend

  • Water Bottle

    @Analyzer:

    “Not fair ET. If u cant post my comment u should also remove the offensive comments by @Water Bottle. Really disappointed.”

    There’s absolutely no offensive comment by me. it’s all fact and you can search them all on youtube.

    I’m an Indian. If you want to know more and dismiss me as the conspirator Bhindian. Good luck with your tryst with lies and a doomed destiny.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Liked it.
    Imran Khan may win but most likely he won’t, but that is immaterial. His presence in the field and what he stands for has shaken the old order and this in itself is a ‘ big thing ‘.Recommend

  • A new Pakistan

    Outstanding article. I feel you have summed up the feeling of all true Pakistanis both nationally and overseas.

    @ water bottle – I’m terribly sorry to say this but I only read pessimism in your immature comments. It is people (likeminded as yourself) who are the very reason Pakistan has never been able to improve its image. Neither do you want to take an initiative yourself to bring about a change nor do you want others to take one. I am glad that more optimists are being born everyday in Pakistan. PTI is to thank for that as they have given us the confidence to speak up and stand for what we believe in.

    All rational Pakistanis will agree that we donot expect miracles to happen but we expect to pull Pakistan out of the downward spiral that it has been in for so liong Granted this is a monumental task but we need a start and PTI is providing us one. It would be sad if we would close our eyes and let the opportunity pass Recommend

  • Baset

    Very beautiful indeed. PTI all the way in the coming elections. @ Water Bottle get a life buddy. Imran Khan is the most popular leader in the country get over it !Recommend

  • Kamran

    Brilliantly written!

    No matter what the results of the elections might be, IK has made people think and has brought this divided nation together to a significant extent in these difficult times. There were times when I thought that Pakistan was not suited for democracy. Now I think differently. Hope has returned to our land. One can see it all around us.

    Everybody, go out and vote tomorrow. Not just yours, but more importantly, your childen’s future depends on how we are governed over the next few years.

    The (tsunami) wave is coming. Ride it!Recommend

  • Analyzer

    @ET Thanks for restoring the balance.Recommend

  • Gno-mee

    @Water Bottle: Great. Another rabid troll. Indians must be really desperate… They are now trolling elections in Pk.Recommend

  • Analyzer

    @Water Bottle:
    Collecting the thorns in a garden of roses and presenting them as facts is a choice. Not the wisest, but a choice nonetheless. And you have full freedom to enjoy your choice.

    Let us enjoy the roses :)Recommend

  • saad

    Beautiful. Brought tears to my eyesRecommend

  • Amjad

    @Water Bottle:
    Well said. You just forgot to mention one thing i.e. vote for PMLN. How dare you forget such an important piece of your job?Recommend

  • Rashid

    @Water Bottle

    See how idiots Pakistanis are that they cannot distinguish between a Pakistani and an Indian. But I almost recognize them by … well leave it. Anyways.. sure we will not let or at least I will not allow that ‘lohar’ turned billionaire to rule Pakistan. It is time for change not business as usual.Recommend

  • Wasif

    @water bottle.

    please would you kindly pay attention to politics of your constituency!! I am not voting for imran but we dont need sugar coated , logical , brillirant, super duper, marvelous suggestions of yours. Recommend

  • Karim

    @water bottle.

    Has anyone asked for your suggestions? I think India has been divided few years ago I believe. Your role in Pakistan’s election is mere an observer now.Recommend

  • Khan Je

    @Water Bottle:
    Also, unsure if you Indian or not but your IP is not. I traced you down, do not worry. PML-N will save you, I hope. Recommend

  • Faisal

    @Water Bottle:
    Why are you so stubborn? He’s human after all. He’s not perfect but he’s the best of the ones we have. Lower your ego and think with a bit more open mindedness. He’s the only one that can bring radical changes in our system. That’s exactly what we need.

    This man has so much support despite never being in power. Others have so many fake votes because they have done “favors” to the nations, and public in their consituencies. Favors like Metro bush, bombs, and not to mention getting your kids admitted to a college without meeting the standard, or getting you out of jail.

    Imran may not be perfect, he is still a great man.Recommend

  • Go zardari go

    @Water Bottle:
    Wow look at this “perfect” specimen, hate to break it to you but nobody cares about your “perfect” analysis and nobody cares who you will vote for. People make their own decisions on their own initiative. To me you vote on what your daddy told you so keep your perfect analysis to yourself. Recommend

  • nimra

    PTI ZINDAGI. . . may god brings u in successive field of making naya pakistan..we all are with u imran khan sahab nd we prouded on u.Recommend

  • Irfan

    @Analyzer:
    Yes, you are right. By mistake, I clicked recommended comments of Water Bottle. I take my comments back. His comments are absolutely non-sense. Recommend

  • Historian 1

    I agree with water bottle although I am a Pakistani. A person who will overlook his own safety by climbing an unsafe and unsecured lifter and then there is no stretcher or an ambulance available, how can he bring change and Naya Pakistan?. Recommend

  • Water Bottle

    Good luck to all Pakistanis.

    No matter if you elect a bigot or a fool, one thing is certain, democracy has won today in Pakistan.

    The next logical step is to give equal rights to all the people, get rid of discriminatory laws.

    Islamic republic of Pakistan should become democratic, secular republic of Pakistan.

    It’s a long way. It cannot be done in 10 or 20 years and that too with a leader like Imran Khan.

    However, now that democracy is taking root, probably Pakistanis will find an honest leader in the next couple of decades.Recommend

  • Nwaq

    Well written article,it is a voice of nation.Recommend

  • Asif Khan

    Dear Imran.

    Get well soon. I just came back from the polling sation and I voted for you. I want to see you as our Prime Minister or President, which ever office you think you can serve us well. You asked our trust and today we gave you our trust. Hope you wil change the distiny of Pakistan (Ameen).Recommend

  • Firoj Khan

    Hareem,
    This is one of the best writing by a fan on IK i have ever read. I totally agree with your emotionally charged views. Being a life long die hard fan of IK, i sometimes gets frustrated by few of his actions like hobnobbing with JI,views on Ahmadis recently (distasteful!) and also too much personal attack on NS & AZ. But steel, i believe he will not deviate and dishearten his millions of supporter. He already has changed PK politics by conducting party election. If he sticks to his promise and leave some rhetorics and over emphais of his religious connotations, PK will be a nation with league other wel-lmeaning nations in the world.
    Firoj Khan
    Toronto,CanadaRecommend

  • Fahad Raza

    I voted IK as well.. and Water Bottle if an Indian Is Pissed by us voting for Imran Then I think just that says it All.. He is the one we need.Recommend

  • SJ

    Simply superbRecommend

  • mindcontrol

    @I am Khan:

    I assume some one who is not a coward. And who is that… the leaders who stand behind the bullet proof glass boxes?

    No. The cowards actually stand behind the TTP, while the TTP steals the election for the coward.Recommend

  • umer

    Sher ka Shikar !Recommend

  • Water Bottle

    The day PTI wins (with its current policy) is the saddest day for pakistan.

    However, today, Pakistanis have shown that they are mature people. They won’t elect a leader who is a bigot, a coward, one who tacitly supports Taliban and tacitly approves of the subjugation of the minorities (especially Ahmadis) and most importantly whose party representatives were standing with the terrorists of DeP council.

    This gives me, as an Indian, hope. This gives me hope that many in Pakistan do not approve of terrorists like DeP and Taliban. This gives me hope that Pakistais do not support bigoted policies like persecuting Ahmadis.

    Let’s see what good deeds Nawaz does in the first year of his ruling. Recommend

  • sherrry

    brilliantRecommend

  • Student13224

    Elections 2008 – With a burst of emotion (Mohtarma Tragedy), people of Pakistan gave vote to PPPP. PML-Q was called Qatil-League, well PPPP made them their ally (How silly!). And all efforts they made to continue their tenure (shielding themselves with Coalition, shaking hands regularly with Army).

    Elections 2013 – Salute to Pashtuns, you don’t make this type of decision emotionally. PMLN already planned their success. Making alliance with Nationalists (Typical Ones) from Balochistan. Regarding the voting,
    There are 3 people in Pakistan,
    one educated with sound influence,
    second educated with no influence (or partly influential) and
    third not literate/semi-literate (villagers).
    So, in Punjab, PML-N succeeded with the category-1+3 (with Orthodox Voting), PTI succeeded with category-2, PPPP succeeded in sindh with category-3 (Orthodox Voting).

    “Always hope for the best, remember this “Jesi Awam, wesa Hukmaran”.”
    You can’t change mindset of the people, but you can change yourselves atleast.
    and Pray!!!
    Recommend

  • Fact

    Watch this video on facebook and decide for yourself. We want fair-elections!
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=527539970625217Recommend

  • humma

    we love this skipper Recommend

  • Ali

    People have voted for Imran Khan voted for Change ….. but the everything was planned well rigged in this poll, worst ever rigging done uner the supervision of the corrupt

    ThanksRecommend

  • Sane

    @Ali:

    People have voted for Imran Khan voted for Change ….. but the everything was planned well rigged in this poll, worst ever rigging done uner the supervision of the corrupt
    Thanks

    Same old rhetoric. Same as every loser does. This is the norm and history of losers in this country. By the way don’t think I am anti PTI as I voted for PTI. But, facts remains fact. It is very difficult to swallow facts and reality.Recommend

  • True Karachiwala

    Dear Ms.Hareem ! Thank ALLAH that your boy cousins and chachas did not follow him in all his “actions”
    Recommend

  • kinza

    Wish I could write so beautifully and express what I truly feel about Imran Khan. <3Recommend

  • madiha akhtar

    @Water Bottle:

    you have reacted like a true representative of all that is wrong with the people of this nation . Keep Up. Recommend

  • Bilal

    Alas! The nation has given its verdict and this voter has NOT turned up for IK. Pakistani nation has proved that they are mature and posses a good political/democratic sense by electing Nawaz Sharif with an over whelming majority. Pakistanis have also proved that there is no more space available for self proclaimed heroes and leaders who don’t even have the basic manners, civility and aticates to address other leaders. Looking forward to a Roshan and Progressive Pakistan…Recommend