Here I am, standing amongst some very colorful people, straining my neck and shoving a few to get a better view. The place is buzzing with noise and anticipation. I try my best not to lose sight of my friends, who like me are doing all they can to find a spot with a better view. After a few “excuse mes” and a colorful exchange of words, I finally find a good enough spot. Satisfied with the view, I call my friends over, and we stand with our necks at approximately thirty degrees to the ground, and gaze at the stage which seems to hover above the sea of green, like a ship carrying some very important cargo. Yes, I am in the midst of the ‘Tsunami’. The word now a days only synonymous with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI); the party promising a change, the party promising an end to the machinery of corruption, the party promising to empower the youth. Which might just be the reason why I can see a lot of young people around me, mostly in their early 20s, all carrying either the flag of the nation or the party and wearing colorful Imran Khan slogan tees. The energy around me is fascinating, and it scintillates every inch of my body propelling me to scream my lungs out whenever people start to chant party slogans. The noise is deafening whenever a speaker from the PTI comes on stage to utter a few carefully chosen words. It is my first ever jalsa, and it just keeps growing on me by the minute. When the time finally comes for IK’s speech, I and my friends were pumped up to the max, just like the millions around us. The moment the man opened his mouth to speak, his voice was drowned by the roar of the parched and hungry supporters who somehow had saved ample energy for his appearance. If in this very moment they hold the elections, I can swear no power in this world can stop PTI from a clean sweep. It all seems so surreal, so many people from different classes and backgrounds ready to die for one leader, pitting all hope for a prosperous Pakistan on the shoulders of one person. It truly is mesmerizing.
This all happened in the winter of 2011, pre-winter actually. I had the above paragraphs lying in my drafts and finally thought about posting them. The jalsa mentioned above was PTI’s first ever Tsunami in the city of Karachi right beside the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam. Fast forward 15 months and the party is going as strong as ever after an even bigger gathering at the Minar-e-Pakistan on March 23rd of this year. A lot of hurdles the party, and Imran Khan in particular have crossed in these 15 months, and I am sure even more gruesome challenges lay ahead till the election day. But one thing is certain, the time for change has certainly arrived. Before it was the hype around Imran Khan which got people behind him, now it is his party’s manifestos which raise the hopes of an estranged nation.
PTI’s roadmap for success and their claim to be the first democratic political party have certainly won over a few hardline critics. Personally, the past 15 months have made me realize that democracy for democracy’s sake will help no one but the corrupt leaders in charge. Come the elections, I will be voting for a change, not because I know a lot about politics, but because I think it is time we bring forth a younger, vibrant leader to manage the chaos we call home. A leader who can mobilize and inspire the youth, a leader who is not afraid of losing his life, a leader who has proved his skills in the past, a leader who is not motivated by financial gains and a leader who has the country’s interest at heart. Give him a chance, because my gut feeling says: Yes, He Khan!