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A star for Pakistanis all over the world

Pakistanis living abroad have developed an interest in Pakistani politics. That’s Imran Khan, the new prime minister of Pakistan — you can call him, Khan.

He is not only giving a hope to Pakistan’s government but is also photogenic, and his popularity is helping the country’s reputation globally.

Pakistanis living abroad are obsessed with Imran Khan – the tree-planter, corruption-fighting prime minister of Pakistan, and why shouldn’t they be?

I, a British- Pakistani, include myself in this category. There’s this magnetic pull. He’s handsome (this counts too sometimes). He’s ambitious agenda sounds realistically achievable. He is always pushing his product: a difficult but strong Pakistan. But, most importantly, he seems like a genuine human being.

Such upright individuals, especially in Pakistani politics are rare. It makes sense to me why this new leader has been embraced internationally, especially since it’s unusual to see prime ministers engage with people in a way that’s characteristically reserved for the officials.

He has this special bond with overseas Pakistanis. In his first live speech as prime minister of Pakistan, he spoke in an encouraging tone as if he was talking directly to me through the television screen.

Considering me and my clan (the overseas Pakistanis), as “the most valuable asset for Pakistan,” Khan reminded us that we, although living away, are still one family under the slogan ‘naya (new) Pakistan.’

The contrasts between here and there are just apparent. He only asks that we hold his hand – to build a better Pakistan together. It sounded like homeland was calling, a passionate invitation, and an individual appeal.

And I have to admit, I did get teary-eyed when I saw him wipe his tears while gripping onto the prayer beads as the results were announced in the parliament. It’s pretty cool to see a renowned cricketer turning into politician, stepping up to recognize aspects of Pakistani politics that need to change.

Khan is trying to make Pakistan look great…again, particularly in the wake of his precursor who made us appear…well, I don’t know, I felt ashamed of my ethnicity.

The day Imran Khan was elected as Pakistan’s prime minister was purely magical. I mean it: 18th August 2018, the nation stepped into a new chapter as Imran Khan signed his life away to the country, and the Pakistan Muslim League government was finally driven out after a decade in power.

The next morning, Pakistan’s football team – won the Asian Games after 44 years. So yes – magic, even if we’re talking about Khan’s black Sherwani alone.

That day, we had all sat down as a family and kept our eyes glued to the TV, flicking through the various Pakistani channels.

The Sharifs were out, Khan was in.

Street celebrations began in the United Kingdom as soon as trends revealed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader was winning by a wide margin in the general election. Dancing and expressing joy with loud music, the patriotic supporters came out in several cities, including the country’s capital London – some waving the flag of Pakistan while others carrying a cricket bat – the election symbol of PTI.

Khan’s campaign had effectively raised the slogan of change across the world, and if I could, I would personally have voted for the PTI.

I figured he had to be better than any of the other contestants, who had previously crushed the native land.

Khan just became a natural choice. Plus, social media kept reminding us, he is not just attractive but photogenic too.

And now, thanks, especially to the photographer, Irfan Ahson, Khan’s photo shoot, styled next to the portrait of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, overlooking him, he appears less an “elected” Pakistani prime minister and more a straight-up natural – artlessly taking his position.

And that actually doesn’t make sense: political inheritance was not a birthright although he is used to being in the spotlight – so how will Khan run this circus? Nevertheless, Khan’s career hasn’t’ been limited to politics, he’s been a legendary cricketer and an appraisable charity worker.

So all of this is actually incredible, the customary, poisonous, hereditary politics have been overpowered, and Pakistan’s leader excites not just the citizens who elected him, but the Pakistanis living abroad as well.

Especially given that Pakistan has an awful reputation, for being corrupt. Honestly, it’s awesome to sit back, watch the eyes of the world freak out about this new pretty face geared up to run Pakistan, and then say, “Yeah, well, we’ve always been great, you just noticed us now. Too late! ”

Imran Khan

Admittedly, not everyone is convinced. But, hey, can’t win them all. Yet, deep down, undercover, they all admire him!

Let’s not forget that Imran Khan earned the position for a reason, based on the promises he made, so he must be more than just an artistic photograph. He seems a man whose genuineness shines through the muddy politics of Pakistan like sunlight peeking through the sombre-grey sky.

He knows that positioning himself out there is the ultimate solution to repairing the reputation of Pakistan. To watch him connect to us in a way the prime minister of Pakistan hasn’t done so for years is dreamlike – as if a new boss has arrived at work, understanding that you need a pay rise.

It’s fun to watch the world concerned over building a new relationship with Khan and Pakistan. You know what is more exciting, to watch Pakistani adults, even grannies, admiring over his attractive appearance and penchant for traditional garments and sandals.

So, as an overseas Pakistani watching Khan’s public profile heighten, I’m reassured that the country is in secure hands and that he is the anti-Sharif.

There’s also this thing called trust.

If you can’t trust a guy who says he will rescue Pakistan’s looted wealth from the United Kingdom and bring it back to the country, turn the PM house into an educational institution – whose idea of a ‘new’ Pakistan involves offering aid to deprived countries – then who can you trust?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not represent ARY policies or opinion.