Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi born 5 October 1952) is a Pakistani politician and former cricketer who is the 22nd and current Prime Minister of Pakistan. He is also the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Previously he was a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from 2002 to 2007, and again from 2013 to 2018. Prior to entering politics, Khan was a cricketer and philanthropist. He played international cricket for two decades, and later developed philanthropic projects such as the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre and Namal College.
Khan was born to an upper-middle class Pashtun family in Lahore, Punjab, in 1952; he was educated at Aitchison College in Lahore, then the Royal Grammar School Worcester in Worcester, England, and later at Keble College, Oxford. He started playing cricket at the age of 13. Initially playing for his college and later for Worcestershire, Khan made his debut for the Pakistan national cricket team at the age of 18, during the 1971 series against England at Edgbaston, Birmingham. After graduating from Oxford, he made his home debut for Pakistan in 1976, and played until 1992. He also served as the team’s captain intermittently between 1982 and 1992. Notably, he led Pakistan to victory at the 1992 Cricket World Cup, Pakistan’s first and only victory in that competition.
Khan retired from cricket in 1992, as one of Pakistan’s most successful players. In total he made 3,807 runs and took 362 wickets in Test cricket, and is one of eight world cricketers to have achieved an ‘All-rounder‘s Triple’ in Test matches.He was later, in 2010, inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame. In 1991, he launched a fundraising campaign to set up a cancer hospital in memory of his mother. He raised $25 million to set up a hospital in Lahore in 1994, and later in 2015 a second hospital in Peshawar.Khan remains a prominent philanthropist and commentator, and served as the chancellor of Bradford University between 2005 and 2014 and was the recipient of an honorary fellowship by the Royal College of Physicians in 2012.
In April 1996, Khan founded the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (lit: Pakistan Movement for Justice), a centrist political party, and became the party’s national leader Khan contested for a seat in the National Assembly in October 2002 and served as an opposition member from Mianwali until 2007. He was again elected to the parliament in the 2013 elections, when his party emerged as the second largest in the country by popular vote.Khan served as the parliamentary leader of the party and led the third-largest block of parliamentarians in the National Assembly from 2013 to 2018. His party also led a coalition government in the north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.In the 2018 general elections, his party won the largest number of seats and defeated the ruling PML-N, bringing Khan to premiership and the PTI into federal government for the first time.
Khan remains a popular public figure and is the author of, among other publications, Pakistan: A Personal History.
Basing his wider paradigm on the poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal and the Iranian writer-sociologist Ali Shariati he came across in his youth Khan is generally described as a nationalist and a populist. Khan’s proclaimed political platform and declarations include: Islamic values, to which he rededicated himself in the 1990s; liberal economics, with the promise of deregulating the economy and creating a welfare state; decreased bureaucracy and the implementation of anti-corruption laws, to create and ensure a clean government; the establishment of an independent judiciary; overhaul of the country’s police system; and an anti-militant vision for a democratic Pakistan. David Rose described Khan as a threat to the Americans and the feudal lords who have ruled Pakistan for decades.
Khan publicly demanded a Pakistani apology towards the Bangladeshi people for the atrocities committed in 1971, He called the 1971 operation a “blunder” and likened it to today’s treatment of Pashtuns in the war on terror. However, he repeatedly criticized the war crimes trials in Bangladesh in favor of the convicts, perpetuating the culture of genocide denialon the part of Pakistan. Khan is often mocked as “Taliban Khan” because of his pacifist stance regarding the war in North-West Pakistan. He believes in negotiations with Taliban and the pull out of the Pakistan Army from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). He is against US drone strikes and plans to disengage Pakistan from the US-led war on terror. Khan also opposes almost all military operations, including the Siege of Lal Masjid.
In August 2012, the Pakistani Taliban issued death threats if he went ahead with his march to their tribal stronghold along the Afghan border to protest US drone attacks, because he calls himself a “liberal” – a term they associate with a lack of religious belief. On 1 October 2012, prior to his plan to address a rally in South Waziristan, senior commanders of Pakistani Talibansaid after a meeting headed by the Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud that they now offered Khan security assistance for the rally because of Khan’s opposition to drone attacks in Pakistan, reversing their previous stance.
Khan spoke against the forced conversion of the Kalash people under threat from Taliban and labelled it un-Islamic. Khan views the Kashmir issue as a humanitarian issue, as opposed to a territorial dispute between two countries (India and Pakistan). He also proposed secret talks to settle the issue as he thinks the vested interests on both sides will try to subvert them. He ruled out a military solution to the conflict and denied the possibility of a fourth war between India and Pakistan over the disputed mountainous region. Khan visited embassies of Iran and Saudi Arabia and met their head of commissions in Islamabad on 8 January 2015 to understand their stance about the conflict which is engulfing both nations after execution of Sheikh Nimr by Saudi Arabia. He urged the Government of Pakistan to play a positive role to resolve the matter between both countries.
After the result of Pakistani general election, 2018, Imran Khan said that he will try to remake Pakistan based on the ideology of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
By Faiza shah