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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014
Imran Khan’s descent from cricket captain to pulpit bully
Lalita Panicker, Hindustan Times
September 03, 2014
First Published: 14:52 IST(3/9/2014)
Last Updated: 18:12 IST(3/9/2014)

The inshallahs come thick and fast in his furious, yet incoherent, speeches. Yet, for all the genuflections to his religion, Imran Khan hardly looks the part of the quintessential Pakistani politician. He had lost his once superior refinement, the sharp suits, the elegantly coiffeured hair, and in his shalwars, he looks like he is dressed up to act in a street theatre play.
 
And we are still unclear why he wants the prime minister to go. Surely, the so-called rigging issue is long over, so now what does the shrill Mr Khan want? Does he have a blueprint for Pakistan? No. And I will bet you my bottom dollar he has little understanding of basic economics which is why he is advocating the hundi system. Not for nothing was he once called Im the Dim.
 
In his attempt to show that he is one with the masses, which as we know, he is not either by inclination or by birth, his language has descended to that of a guttersnipe. Ugly references to Nawaz Sharif wetting his pants just make the former playboy cricketer look like a street corner bully but without the muscle. As the captain of the cricket team, owing to which he calls himself captain of the country, he was not exactly one of the boys. The patrician Khan wore his breeding and education very much on his sleeve, shunning his rough and ready colleagues like Javed Miandad.
 
His marriage to blonde heiress Jemima Goldsmith and dalliances with other foreign beauties has not endeared him to the hardliners which is why Im tries so much harder to show that he is as rabid as the next Talibani. His genetically blessed sons live far away from the blood soaked streets of Karachi. Oh dear, a bit of a display of double standards from the uber patriot Mr Khan.
 
Can you imagine Im as the PM. Nawaz Sharif may not set the hearts of the lovelies of London aflutter, but he certainly knows a thing or two about governance whenever he is allowed to function. But thanks to Im, Pakistan, always in the throes of governance problems, has now come to a standstill. As PM which Im so badly wants to be, what can we expect? A colour coding of the good, to moderate to bad Taliban is certain. A bit of chopping and changing of the law to bring in a more rigid Sharia. And, yes, a bit more of the firm smack of governance from the army headquarters in Rawalpindi. And a continuation of the 1,000 year war against India which Zulfikar Ali Bhutto so fondly desired before the army turned on him.
 
Meanwhile, much of the world seems to be as perplexed as I am on what Imran wants. If he wants a shot at the top job, perhaps, it would be a better idea to build up his party and live to fight another day. Elections will come around unless Im paves the way for the army to take over again. There is nothing quite as sad as the sight of the once handsome cricketer over whom women swooned and men envied reduced to a pulpit bully, all sound and fury signifying nothing at all.


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