I don’t usually discuss politics on this blog, there are too many brothers and sisters out there far more eloquent and knowledgeable than me who are able to do that. However, I have been watching Pakistan’s Imran Khan and his Tahreek-e-Insaaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice) party with interest. Here is finally someone from amongst the endless parade of thugs and thieves (I’m being kind) in Pakistani politics who appears to be honest and genuine have Pakistan’s interests at heart and who might finally bring some change to a country that seems to be going through a never-ending nightmare. I was watching footage of his campaign event in Karachi and something he said made me sit up. The video is below and the part of the speech that captured my interest from 8.35 minutes onwards. Unfortunately it is in Urdu so not accessible to everyone , but what he basically says is:
“When I was nine, I wanted to be a test cricketer, people told me I couldn’t become one, it’s impossible, you don’t have the talent.
When I became a cricketer, I wanted to become the world’s best all-rounder, people told me I couldn’t become one, it’s impossible.
When I became captain, I wanted to make the Pakistani cricket team into the best team in the world. People said this was not possible, the cricket system is not good enough for the Pakistan team to become the best [Pakistan went on to win the Cricket World Cup under Imran Khan’s leadership].
When I wanted to create a hospital that offered free cancer treatment for the poorest. People said it could not be done. I invited 20 Doctors, 19 said such a hospital could not be built.
(Khan established the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Lahore which offers free Cancer treatment).
I wanted to establish a university in a rural area. There is no private sector university in the rural areas of Pakistan. People said it could not be done, it’s impossible. Today Pakistan has its first private university in a rural area, where international level education is offered and where 90% of students are on scholarships.
When I entered politics, people said “Khan-ji, leave it, you know nothing about politics, you are too straightforward, you tell the truth and in politics you can’t tell the truth” I was ridiculed as were my colleagues. We were ridiculed for a long time, but we didn’t let go of our dream. My dream is now for Pakistan, for Pakistan to become the country it should have become and can become: a free, just country where every Pakistani citizen is equal. Where there is justice, but also education, where the poor have access to the same level of education as the rich. Allah has made all of my dreams come true and insh’Allah will make this one come true too.
Tell me, did I select the best team to play cricket for Pakistan? The Shaukhat Khanum team is second to none. The Namal College team is the best. For Pakistan to become a just, Islamic, country I will pull together a team the likes of which has never been seen in Pakistan – one whose membership is based on merit”
Much of what he was saying was familiar to me – the need to dream big, the need to follow through, to have a good team, to be tenacious and not give up, but treat failure as a learning curve. Lots of this is what you will find in self-help books and books about positive thinking. But to hear it said by someone who has lived what the books write about blew me away. There are so many lessons in the two or three minutes of the speech I have translated above:
Dream – have a vision, be very clear about what you want to achieve and what that looks like.
Don’t listen to the naysayers – there will always be those who can’t envision what you want to achieve and therefore can’t imagine how you would achieve it also. Sometimes it’s good to have these people around you to point out faults and problems, use them to make your plans better, not give up.
Don’t give up – keep at it. Every time something goes wrong, try another way, go over, under or through your obstacles if you have to, but don’t give up.
Have a great team around you
Trust in Allah (SWT) to help you make things happen – the power of dua (supplication).
I make dua that Imran Khan’s dream of a just and fair Pakistan becomes a reality and that Pakistan’s situation improves for the better insh’Allah.