Islamabad - After a long struggle of over twenty years, Imran Khan has finally entered the biggest game of his life – the premiership.
The perception of Khan depends largely on the decade in which one spent formation years. For those raised during the 80s, Khan is a legendary cricketer who won the world cup for the country.Those born later admire him for his philanthropic work – the only cancer hospital of the country and Namal College in Mianwali. They know him for his long anti-establishment and anti-statuesque struggle in the country’s politics.
The younger generation knows Khan as a firebrand speaker who has been very hard on his opponents during the last few years and, of course, Dharnas, rallies and long marches.
Imran Khan’s transformation from a cricketer to the prime minister has been much diversified after achieving quick glory in cricket, the ride on the thorny fields of politics proved to be intensely hectic for him.
Establishing a political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in 1996, the first blow to the cricketer-turned-politician was when he won a single seat in 2002 elections despite his overwhelming popularity.
After partying ways with former military dictator General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf in 2002, Imran Khan has been struggling hard – mostly on roads – for corruption-free Naya Pakistan.
During the decades if he was popular among masses, Khan is the only politician whose every move was judged.
Not only his love affairs and multiple marriages but his personal life was criticised by media and his opponents but he survived all very gracefully – even the venomous book by his ex-wife Reham Khan. Despite his authoritative style and alleged cold attitude, he not only kept the party together over the years of struggle but his popularity among public continued to grow.
His supporters not only welcomed his transition from a playboy to conservative Islamist but they also defended his decision to induct electable with a ‘baggage of corruption’.
His third marriage also failed to dent his popularity despite furious media campaign from his opponents.
In the past, he proved himself as a determined hard working, idealistic and a marathon runner who will not sit until touching the finish line.
But now, it is neither a club match nor any five-day test but a full fledge five-year test where the challenges are huge and so are the expectations.
The 65-year-old captain has relatively inexperienced team to clamp down on corruption and to rebuild institutions.
Khan has even greater economic challenges with over $91.8 billion external debt and liabilities, over Rs1,000 billion circular debt in energy sector alone, billions of payables to textiles, growing difference between imports and exports - finding a quick fix would not be easy.
With international isolation – placing of country on grey list by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), soaring relations with the United States, neighboring India and war-torn Afghanistan - also pose serious challenges.
Khan has been a chameleon throughout his life- fitting in every role – life has put him in-with his determination and hard work he can also win this five years test and may bang another world cup–everlasting than the previous one.