The two speeches, the one that Imran Khan made right after winning the elections and then the other, after taking oath as 22nd prime Minister of Pakistan, has bamboozling effect on his detractors. While trying to pick holes in the contents of his address to the nation, his political adversaries appeared to be on weak footing.

It was all (il)logical fiddlesticks that some of them could muster up in response. Perhaps the opposition is in the need of better representation. Some of their spin doctors, while passing on any comment, end up piling on embarrassment for their party. One of his sworn adversaries has a favourite argument which he reiterated again that the newly elected prime minister does not have any experience of running even a municipal committee, how will he run the entire country. He had the gumption of saying all this when PTI had governed KP in much better way than his party has administered (rather ruled) Punjab. Leaving aside scandals like Panama leaks and money laundering of the previous government, mismanagement in every tier of the governing structure had been its abiding feature.

Scandals like clean water scheme, 56 companies where former chief minister appointed his cronies in utter disregard to the rules and regulations exemplify the corrupt practices. He should also ruminate as to how many of the acclaimed leaders have run municipal committees before becoming the what they eventually become. Did the leaders like Mahathir Muhammad, Mao Tze Dong, Kwang Lee Pew or Tayyep Erdogan run municipal committees before taking over the reins of power and dragged their respective countries out of the morass of corruption and incompetence. The interest of PML-Nawaz would be better served if its leaders as well as the spokespersons wait and allow Khan to commit mistakes. This moment is Khan’s moment and for his adversaries, reticence at least for the time being can be the only worthwhile prescription.

Reverting to Khan’s speeches which were a source of hope to the commoners like me. In his first address to the nation as prime minister, Khan promised too much, the enormity of the task would make even a mythological figure of Hercules to struggle to accomplish what Khan intends to perform in his five-year tenure. The challenges enfolding Pakistan are far too many. Every state institution has been rendered hollow, economy teetering on the verge of collapse, leaving hardly any semblance of quality in educational institutions. Healthcare is in a state of disarray. Civil services having been politicised and corruption seeped to its very roots. Judicial reforms could not attract any attention of those in the saddle for last three and a half decades. Civil-military relations are sour, to say it euphemistically. Foreign relations are fraught with indecision. These are only some of the issues which must be crawling under the Khan’s skin. All said and done the whole state structure is in the wont of complete reinvention.

The responses to his speech, punctuated with incredulity have a point. Many analysts showed their intent to act as vigilante whether Khan’s regime is on the right track to achieve the impossible by so doing they will do all that they can to compound the agonies of newly formed government. Of course there is no dearth of the likes of Saleem Safis in Pakistani media. Such characters plead ignorance to the fact that Khan is usually at his best when confronted with the impossible.

The trajectory of his cricketing career, philanthropy and politics, all three provide evident testimony of the fact that ‘impossible’ is not found in his dictionary. He has done what he has ever said, he will do. Even biggest of his critics vouch for his determination and integrity. These are the traits which distinguish him from the rest. In his speech he said everything with conviction that exactly is what sets his speech apart from the speeches made by many before him. It is equally significant to realise that Imran has the prerogative as the leader of the majority party to pick chief minister of the largest province and not the self-serving anchors and tajzia nigars (analysts). It is his vision that matters because people have given him the mandate and not one anchor who was subjecting Ejaz Chaudhary to severest of inquisition for Usman Buzdar’s appointment as chief minister of Punjab. Many tongues are also waging about his selection of the cabinet. One may argue that particularly in post-colonial states like Pakistan where political institutions don’t exist, and governance structure is weak, leadership becomes extremely important. The cabinet members respond to their leader’s call and tend to act strictly in correspondence with his disposition and the priorities. Thus, the potential of each cabinet member would be galvanised to achieve the objective, set by the team leader.

As a captain of Pakistan cricket team, Khan at times used to take decisions which seemed odd to many. Selection of Abdul Qadir was one such decision which paid off. Qadir proved to be an instrument which helped leg-break bowling to stage a comeback at the test-match level. Similarly, Khan always led by example, standing firm when chips were down. At the toughest moments, he assumed a seminal role, which made him unique. Indeed, unique he is. Only sportsman in the entire world who has represented his country for more than two decades and then went on to become prime minister of his country.

The closest to achieving what Khan has achieved is George Weah (born in 1966), a productive striker who once played for Italian club AC Milan. Last year he was elected President of Liberia. Widely regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time, in 1995, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or, becoming the first and to date the only African player to win these awards. But he did not represent his country the way Khan did. Liberia could not break into the world’s prominent football team. He won a world cup and arguably the best all-rounder the world has ever seen. As a sportsman Khan exhibited two of his abiding characteristics, integrity and determination to surmount what seemed impossible to many and that is the sort of leader Pakistan needs at this hour. – Contributed