The political landscape of Pakistan has acquired a new dimension since the October 30 public rally of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI). And that the politically inexperienced novices of the party of a lone ranger Imran Khan could mobilise a mammoth passionate crowd that filled the unfillable Minto Park has shattered the predictions of most political pundits. The causes that attracted such a big turnout and the effect on the eventual electability of the party will remain the subject of armchair discourses for sometime to come. Nevertheless, the political matrix has reshaped for the moment. The PTI has, after a 15-year undaunting struggle, finally succeeded in assuming the role of a serious contender in the political arena. Innumerable leading lights from all walks of life, and discarded politicians out in the cold and sitting on the fence, are taking positions to realign with the man that is the rising star. For Imran, however, the last 15 years would appear to be a joyride as compared to the pressures he will confront in the coming months. Putting up a charged gathering of curious enthusiasts, and giving them a nice time in a concert-like atmosphere, may be a piece of cake as compared to the challenges ahead to maintain the momentum. Dedicated organisations will have to be established that are committed to work relentlessly day in and day out in a competitive environment. The days of simply dominating a television talk show and airing views with little fear of a rebound or adverse consequence are over. His word will henceforth carry some weight and will be subject to scrutiny (sometime agonising and personal) by friends and foes, both at home and abroad. His judgments will be tested in the selection of political alliances, choice of his associates and declaration of his policies. If he is to bring a revolution, he will have to prove to be a revolutionary. If he is to set aside the so-called status quo, he must put forward unambiguously the alternative route. Is he going to confront and demolish the established power centres and traditional groupings based on biradari, caste and local muscle power? Will the tsunami that Imran is predicting bring destruction before rising from the ashes? Revolutions are usually violent, bloody and indiscriminate. Do his followers have the stomach for such a struggle, which may convert into prolonged personal hardships? Or will he fall prey to the traditional manoeuvring of which he is such a vehement opponent. The current environment of poor governance and tales of alleged financial corruption in the higher echelons have discredited the major political parties most of which are sharing power, as non-performers, self-centred and incompetent. The various governments at the centre and in the provinces appear to posses neither the will, nor the expertise to control or at least set a direction towards controlling the galloping cost of living, scarcity of essential services and non-existent law and order. The national assets are being run to the ground and industrial activity has nosedived to absolute minimum. The general public has become so despondent and disillusioned with the political system and with those running it that a hypothetical army takeover is being considered by many as a preferred alternative. It is in this backdrop that Imran has emerged as a knight in the shining armour with a tremendous appeal for his sincerity of purpose, single-mindedness, honesty and his passion. He promises instant resolution of all problems facing the nation and people. He wants to re-enact Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who brought non-entities in the forefront and succeeded in bringing a social revolution. But he was a shrewd political tactician and captivating orator. He was exposed to the highest affairs of the State under Ayubs tutelage. He exercised flexibility to move like a chess player to his advantage. Imran has excellent credentials of a fundraiser and determined campaigner. He will never be forgotten as the cricketing hero. Bhutto instilled a dream by raising the slogan of roti, kapra aur makan, which swept across the countrys length and breadth and still moves peoples hearts and souls, despite being aware that this dream can never be realised. Imran has so far thrived on highlighting others weaknesses. His solutions to complex issues are too simplistic to be credible to any pragmatic mind. He has enjoyed the limelight through practically the whole of his adult life. People still remember his victory speech at the World Cup that was watched and heard by millions around the globe. He supported Musharafs referendum only to regret it later. He boycotted the 2008 general elections, along with Jamaat-i-Islami and a few others, which kept them out of the loop struggling in the wilderness. He went full steam against Altaf Hussain to the extent of approaching Scotland Yard and has since soft-pedalled the issue. He remains uncompromising, individualistic and unwilling to forge alliances with other groups. Despite this, the October 30 Lahore rally brought out hordes of people of all ages (though mostly relatively younger) and from a cross-section of society: People who had never been to a political gathering and, perhaps, never voted before, yet came to support Imran. Because they have had enough of the present lot and see him as the messiah that has leadership qualities, coupled with passion, sincerity and honesty. However, the turnout in the PML-N rally of Faisalabad was no less. And most of these were actual political workers. The worst thing the PTI could do is to go into slumber buoyed by a single public meeting. It has a steep climb ahead and they are still at the toe of the hill. The writer is an engineer and an entrepreneur. Email: khurshidakhtarkhan@yahoo.com