Of goats and Imran Khan

Published: November 9, 2011

Imran Khan is an example of people looking forward, thinking, ‘This may be the real deal’. PHOTO: AFP

This article is not about Eid and neither is it about Imran Khan. Life is not characterized by events, but by people’s reactions to events.

Reaction No. 1: Two men on motorcycles, with goats in tow, were stopped by policemen on the road. The motorcycles were checked, the men were checked and the goats were checked too. That’s the scene that a friend Ahmed was witness to as his own goat-free car whizzed by somewhere in DHA.

“They were goats, for god’s sake! Just goats!”


Reaction No. 2: Another friend, Amna, ‘likes’ the Facebook group “I was alive when Pakistan was waking up”, and changes her profile picture to a picture with the caption “This Facebook user is a voter for Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI).” Wasn’t it just yesterday when she was harping about how ‘cute’ Bilawal Bhutto looked? “No dude, Imran Khan for the win,” she messages back.

Go figure.

I like to think of Eid in terms of samosas and overbearing relatives. I like to think of Pakistani politics in terms of apples and bananas – amusement, rather than concrete pursuits. This is not strictly true. And it is a consequence of growing up.

Growing up means suddenly noticing these strange peculiarities in festivities. It means that you stop admiring the wonderfully decorated cow/goat/camel, and start taking an interest in the men who bring these animals – usually in a Suzuki dabba (box)… The men who stay for days on end, as you watch your neighbour’s house taking care of the goats, and later, sacrificing them. Eid becomes less about laughing while trying to feed the goat, but worrying about blood in the house and wasted meat that no one eats. Eid is a sense of powerlessness, as a time-honoured tradition reminds of one life given up as a symbol. Kids … actually the youth – the word much abused by the media, talk about these things, just not loudly enough or boldly enough. Eid-ul Azha is an example of quietly upholding the norm.

And the second example of growing up has to do with anything but upholding the norm. Imran Khan shows up in Minaar-e-Pakistan, and that’s it. Everyone under the age of 18 years who thought Imran Khan was cool now have a televised crowd of 50,000 to back them up. Imran Khan’s articles are linked on Facebook, he is quoted on Twitter and his face is blown up on the television. Imran Khan, it seems, is spilling out on to the streets. Suddenly people point their fingers to their youth and say, “Well done son, it’s up to you now.” Even if a sizeable chunk of this youth is like Amna, prone to peer pressure and completely clueless about PTI’s policies, there is still hope. Imran Khan is an example of people looking forward, thinking, ‘This may be the real deal’.

Events aren’t events until people react to them. Reactions can be powerful or inconsequential. Today, for better or for worse, people will be talking about events. And for those of a certain age, growing up now, this is the time for reactions.

Meiryum Ali

Meiryum Ali

A freshman at an ivy league school who writes a weekly national column in The Express Tribune called "Khayaban-e-Nowhere".

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

  • http://djdurrani.blogspot.com Saad Durrani

    You know. The last line saves this post. Else, it is all “Dear Diary” stuff.Recommend

  • http://www.rhythmofunity.com Sohaib

    Love my Pakistan and its people. Always full of surprises. A very well written article. Thumbs upRecommend

  • annoyed

    what a waste of digital space this articleRecommend

  • PrattleDetected


  • Farrah

    The point is very clear… Kids are now grown ups… And now the crowd soon will become a nation… We are hopeful… :-)Recommend

  • faizan

    I’m kindof not… intelligent?… enough to get the point of this article. Though you did make some very good insights. If that was indeed the point, then: “Kick-ass”!!Recommend

  • http://www.ahmadhammad.com Ahmad Hammad

    Those who were 4 years old when the PML-N for the first time assumed power back in 1997, and were 6 years’ old when Musharraf installed a coup against a democratically elected government in 1999, unfortunately do not know much as to what services Nawaz Sharif had been rendering to the betterment of the nation.
    It IS a negligence of his party however that the workers haven’t done well on the social media wherein his wonderous works could have been highlighted for an effective feedback. Imran is suspected to be a pro-establishment force, whereas, Nawaz has become the symbol of resistance against the forces responsible for derailing the democratic process over and over again in Pakistan.
    Let’s acknowledge his service like a grown-up nation…
    Turning to Imran won’t be wise without paying tribute to those who contributed to the country positively i.e. Z A Bhutto, BB and Nawaz Sharif…
    If PML-N losing to Imran or PPP is a million dollar question. My opinion on this issue might be useful for the readers, humbly putting…Recommend

  • Abdul Rafeh Iqbal

    i am soo glad the author has mentioned an end to her blog/rum diary/personal diary/confession to her best friend or whatever…
    Otherwise, this is sooo just like all the others.
    without aim or goal or purpose…Recommend

  • angry man

    You owe me 5 minutes of my life which I just wasted reading this.Recommend

  • Rahore

    I think the writer didn’t get much space what she was trying to tell,her views to an event seem okay but that doesnt mean that every event needs a reaction .It could have been better if she had something more about the topic and the last line was a heartbreaker when all hands were up for Imran khan’s change eventhough intro she said its not about Imran khan Recommend

  • mishal

    unique perspective!Recommend

  • Vazim Malik

    The author tried TOO hard to gel scattered thoughts into a sensible document by creating a link, but miserably failed. ET, please try to realize that having a good command over English is not the sole prerequisite to write for an English daily. Recommend

  • First drink, don’t think

    @ all those who criticized:

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

    and this thing is written under the blog. And I take the opportunity to remind that it’s a blog, if you have enough courage, why not write one?

    Okay now seriously : “the article lacked single point of discussion, I don’t know if it was the frisked bakra or Amna!”Recommend

  • wahab haider

    im starting to think if express tribute is being published in Rywind.dont know what you guys want to acheive by continous bombarment on Mr khan and his enthusiastic part.you shpould appreciate young lot coming into pakistani politics rather than pleasing your boses all the timeRecommend

  • Salman Orangiwala

    Blogger Bibi , was it that you were trying to draw a parallel betwen Imran and the Bakra bred and fed by the establishment to bleat out their agenda , If so , La manifique and Kudos , Bulls eye .Recommend

  • Rida Khan

    Just because your friend ‘Amina’ appreciated Bilawal’s looks does not necessarily mean she’d want to vote for PPP :S And how on earth does that make her ‘clueless’?? Assumptious much?Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nice !!! As you grow you live and learn. Recommend

  • Ali

    @Ahmad Hammad:
    For those too young to remember the great “services” of Nawaz Sharif, could you please enlighten us all on his achievements. Please do include the abysmal law and order situation, deteriating economy during his reign, foreign exchange exhausted, poor investment in healthj and education to name but a few. Feel free to boast about the one motorway he maanged to build.
    Honestly speaking was there an improvement in a single areas such as economy, education, health, law and order? They were as poor or worse as before his reign as after it.Recommend

  • http://djdurrani.blogspot.com Saad Durrani

    @First drink, don’t think:
    You know. We love blogs but “dear diary” stuff is meant for your little world and not for an “international standard” newspaper.

    And, please come up with better come backs. Even that warning is there, it is Express Tribune which places this. This is not WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr.Recommend

  • http://shehrozencvi.deviantart.com Shehroze Ameen

    Your right, Pakistan has become polarised in its presentation – on one side we have our societal chains holding us back as a result of which we are incapable of making independent decisions since – as pin-pointed in the case of Eid-ul-Azha and its… sacramental traditions – we are not able to change the system’s machinery. No surprise, its been running that way since independence – even if we DID change it, we will have to pursue a course if tremendous upheaval and cynically necrotic criticism which may bring more harm than benefit.

    However, so far as Imran Khan is concerned, I beg to differ. He is no Barrack Obama, He definitely isn’t a Tony Blair or a David Cameroon; I can’t even bring myself to classify him as an Omar al-Bashir (Sudan’s president) let alone a better substitute to… say… the Sharif boys and any other assortment of carnival actors that I see on television. Having said that – what CAN be said… he’s a cricketer, albeit one whom I shall give credit managed to collect an entire crowd in Lahore due to his (I opine) ‘americanized’ approach. Which is good enough – I wouldn’t mind coming over since frankly there’s something interesting for the ‘youth’ to enjoy there.

    Having said that, I agree with what you say pertaining to us in making a decision for ourselves. Unfortunately, the “youth”… you know what I’m just going to refer to myself and countless other boys and girls as “baachay” since frankly that’s what we are… stupid brainless obnoxious self-righteous over-zealous, melodramatic, fanatical, over-the-top… no, ‘disco dancers’ would be an exaggeration… the correct word would be “upholders of the republic”. And yes I am including myself in this – I just can’t accept the fact that whatever we do… we’re still here!!!!

    To which I quote you:
    “Events aren’t events until people react to them. Reactions can be powerful or inconsequential. Today, for better or for worse, people will be talking about events. And for those of a certain age, growing up now, this is the time for reactions.”

    I humbly await your response. Again this is an opinion – and I apologize if I may have overstepped myself. Here’s an emoticon —-> :PRecommend

  • yousaf

    It takes a lot of ignorance to understand what message the author wants to conveyRecommend

  • Arin

    I don’t love Pakistan, but I think Bilawal is the best,,Bilawal will be changed the present condition of Pakistan. ……..I don’t like Zulfikar ali bhutto,but I respect Bilawal bhutto ZardariRecommend