BANI GALA (Reuters) - The road to Imran Khans palatial spread in the hills above capital is a perfect metaphor for his vision of his political career: twisty and pot-holed, but ending in a grand estate. Alone in the beginning but now surrounded by smaller buildings, the house itself is cool and pleasant, with Mughal-era swords arrayed on a coffee table and two playful dogs - one a German shepherd named Sheru - romping about the carefully manicured lawn. I built this house, Imran said as he sat on the shaded verandah eying the sweeping vista overlooking the city. There was nothing here. It was scrub jungle all around. There was only a dirt track here. For Imran, creating something from nothing could be the slogan for a much-chequered life. In the past 15 years, through sheer force of will and a reputation for personal integrity, Imran, a graduate from Oxford, has gone from political punch line to a superstar now attracting heavy-hitting politicians to his party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. He - and a lot of other people - believe he could very well be Pakistans next prime minister. Imrans confidence stems from what he sees is a tsunami of support for the PTI in the country as traditional parties falter amid charges and counter-charges of corruption and petty jealousies. On Oct 30, he staged a gigantic rally in Lahore that observers said pulled between 100,000 and 200,000 people, one of the largest political rallies ever in the country. But Khan remains relatively untested. In the last 15 years, his party has only briefly held one seat in parliament - his. He has had tumultuous relationships with the established political parties as well as the military. He does not openly criticise the military but in a book on Pakistani politics published in September, he walks the line, saying: Only a credible government can save and strengthen the Pakistan Army by making sure it stays within its constitutional role. We have no other choice: in order to survive, we have to make Pakistan a genuine democracy. Imran also has a touchy relationship with the United States. He says that if hes elected prime minister, he would end countrys cooperation in the fight against militants based in its tribal areas, end the American drone campaign and refuse all US aid, which totals some $20 billion since 2001. It may be all pie-in-the-sky, but Imran, 58, is nothing if not charismatic. Still athletic and craggily handsome with darting eyes and an intense demeanour, he can rarely sit still for long. He fidgets and twists, almost as if he were about to leap to his feet and launch into his fearsome pace bowling. For a lot of people who dont have hope in their political system, in a democratic system, hes the one person they seem to have hope in, said a senior Western diplomat, who requested anonymity to speak about politics. I think hes an important phenomenon because he articulates the very real frustration of the country at a time when they need articulation. And articulate he does. In an interview, Imran quickly lists Pakistans very serious economic problems: electricity shortages, crumbling railways, a crisis in education, massive unemployment and endemic corruption. Weve hit rock bottom, he said. It doesnt get worse than this, where to qualify for any position of important public office, you have to have committed a crime. For Imran, the current government headed by Asif Zardari is the most corrupt government country has ever seen. Transparency International, which listed Pakistan as the 143rd most corrupt country in its 2010 corruption index, might agree. As such, Imran believes in a fresh start for the country, a country that, like his home above Islamabad, is a jungle ready to be cleared out and made anew. He believes Pakistan should wipe out the past and rebuild from a clean slate, with he as architect-in-chief. You only get out of this by a complete U-turn and what we call a New Pakistan. He is calling not only for a new government, but a new political order, one based on what he says are the real ideals of Pakistans Founding Father, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who worked to forge a homeland for South Asias Muslims before the bloody partition in 1947 that created India and Pakistan. Instead of fighting the Taliban militants, Imran said, Pakistan should enter into dialogue with them. He says if he were in power, he could end militancy in 90 days. A senior Taliban commander and spokesman contacted by Reuters laughed off this idea and said they would continue the fight. He is, in fact, living in a fools paradise, the commander said. And yet, Imran is no fundamentalist. The idealised Islamic state he says he would build in Pakistan would focus on justice, fairness and equality for all its citizens before the law. It would, above all, be 'humane. Imran often veers between shrewd political calculations as a political party, you cant rule out alliances and what seems to be naive idealism. His plan to raise revenue for the country is to inspire people to pay their taxes through his personal example and somehow rooting out all corruption, boosting the countrys pitiful tax-to-GDP ratio of about 10 per cent, one of the lowest in the world. Some of the parties he has associated himself with in the past are notably lacking in democratic and liberal bona fides, such as the conservative Jamaat-e-Islami. But how might Imran do in the election? Given the current flux in Pakistani politics, few analysts would hazard a guess. Many think he could split the right-leaning, nationalist vote currently dominated by the former prime minister Nawaz Sharis PML-N and keep PPP in power. He seems to have inspired more people to join the political process, said Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress in Washington. But to date, his political organisation has seemed weak and not well managed, particularly in contrast to his charity. Khan himself believes his time has come. But all thats really clear right now is that Imran reflects the yearnings of a deeply disillusioned and frustrated country that has seen 63 years of military and civilian governments repeatedly fail it - all in the service of a national ideology looking for a nation.