A Week of Changes
Wow. What a week.
If you're in the UK, like me, you'll probably have been glad to see the end of the horrid heatwave we've been having for weeks; finally, we can get back to rain and the cold comfort of grey. The weather is always the first topic of conversation in this country, and no, we're never happy, whatever the weather, but at least we Brits know how to handle rain. Extended sunshine and heat is simply not done.
Meanwhile, over in the homeland...
Big changes are on the horizon in Pakistan. I've been waiting with bated breath for this week's general election, hoping against hope, that the country decided to finally vote to move in a new direction, and it certainly delivered.
To put this into a more familiar context for my British readers, Imran Khan's party (PTI) taking power as the lead party in what will no doubt become a coalition government, is of the same catacalysmic importance as if the Liberal Democrats actually managed to take hold of government after hovering around the edges of political leadership, for a couple of decades.
Everyone knows PTI (which stands for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or The Way of Justice); in Pakistan, and even around the world, people are well aware of exactly who Imran Khan is, following his Captaincy of the national cricket team and leading it to victory in the cricket World Cup of 1992. In the upper echelons of the UK , Khan's name might sound familiar for being the former husband of Jemima Goldsmith. All in all, a somewhat high profile individual.
I should point out that I am not a member of any political party in Pakistan and I certainly don't have the same level of die-hard fandom for any party or politician that the traditional 'baraderie' politics of Pakistan dictates. Baraderie politics refers to supporting a particular party or politician because they're "one of ours," or there's some distant family connection or whatnot, all of which translates to everyone in the neighbourhood voting in line with this random, tenuous connection.
Being part of the diaspora however, means that I always have one eye on developments in the homeland and occasionally checking in to see how things are ticking along. For the first time in a long time, my interest has been piqued with this development.
A lot of why this news is a big deal for me, is tied up with what this victory will hopefully represent, not really for me, but for the people of Pakistan. I have no shame in saying that I bought into Khan's vision for Pakistan - he has certainly said all the right things for the most part, for years. But it's always easier to be in Opposition and say how you would have done things, if you'd only been in power.
Having been handed the seat of power, whether and how those campaign promises will be delivered on, is another question entirely. For my part, I certainly hope so and I'm willing to give him the benefit of doubt in the early days, as he takes up the mantle and familiarises himself with his new position and the challenges lying ahead.
Khan seems to have an instinctive recognition of the fact that Pakistan is a country with huge potential. Be it in economic terms, in diplomatic and political terms, or even in the wider fields of everything from the environment and climate to change, to military leadership, healthcare and education, there are swathes of opportunities waiting to be exploited.
I have always been clear in my own mind that Pakistan has exceptional potential, if only it had the right leader to lead from the front. Only time and history will tell if Imran Khan is that leader. But here's one Pakistani abroad with her fingers crossed that Pakistan finally gets the chance it has always deserved.