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Imran Khan is a much revered man in Pakistan and the world over. He’s astounding track record in professional cricket threw him in the limelight but more recently he has been known for he’s philanthropic and political efforts. The last 20 years have proven to be he’s toughest, with the constant struggle of running the second largest political party in Pakistan and two divorces. This article aims to look at the man behind the star with a particular focus on he’s oft-discussed ‘strength of character’ and perseverance.

He was very young when he knew he wanted to play cricket, which we know he went on to do, despite reservations from family. This desire would lead him to be one of the most respected and loved cricketers in Pakistan’s history. Forwarding to the 1992 World Cup final, the post-match speech reveals Khan’s laser-focus on he’s goals, as he used the win as a pedestal to promote he’s desire to build the cancer hospital so well known today. He’s childhood desire had been fulfilled and he’s next mission in life was to build a cancer hospital due to the exposure he had to the disease through he’s mothers suffering and demise. Two years after winning the Cricket World Cup, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital was founded. But Khan was not stopping there. It was only another two years later in April 1996 Pakistan Tehreek-E-Insaf (PTI) was founded. PTI is now Pakistan’s second largest political party, sits in the opposition and has government in KPK province.

He made a commitment to make Pakistan a better place for the poor and rid the culture of open-corruption and nepotism that is rife in the nation. The aptly named ‘movement for justice’ was a perfect start for the cause. Without a doubt Khan epitomises success, courage & determination and is well-respected for he’s philanthropic and political efforts; if one analyses he’s life, it is not difficult to see that he has envisioned he’s goals and stopped at nothing to achieve them. Till this day Khan struggles against an institution littered with corruption and a game with no rules, but each challenge brings a new determination — even twenty years on. He’s political opponents even pay respect to he’s perseverance which he credits to he’s sports experience and captaincy. Knowing Khan and he’s style, one can’t be blamed for pondering over what he’s next challenge could be.

As history has shown us, Khan won’t rest and has he’s eyes set on the next challenge in life with the answer possibly lying in the past. One of the reasons why Khan entered politics was to help the poor, feeling that without political influence he’s capacity was limited. He certainly has achieved that through PTI due to having government in KPK, but maybe he’s next challenge takes things a notch further. In recent years it can be argued that PTI has changed its modus operandi. Though this is obvious for a party which is scaling positively, a few things have been noted by the old guard and as they say the ‘proof is in the pudding’. It is pertinent to review a few recent events to fully understand the perceived paradigm shift.

From the onset, PTI, as its name suggests, has been a movement to bring justice in a society prevalent with injustice. It started has a movement to empower the masses through educating them on the importance of their vote but the million dollar question is what seems to have changed. Khan remains loyal to the cause of benefitting the millions below the poverty line which is evident in news heard every day. On the other hand, politically he regularly contradicts he’s original message. Without going into too much details, he’s closest aides were challenged on their overseas interests which were not detailed in any recent tax returns. Moreover, regular acts within the party seem to show he’s disregard for practicing what he preaches — the ongoing issues related to the Intra-Party elections and Justice Wajih Tribunal which ensued to name a couple. An array of similar contradictions can be noted but one is conscious to keep the focus on the crux of the article. What one derives from these contradictions is dependant on he’s perspective of the situation. Concentrating on those within the fold of PTI, there are millions who idolise Khan and can see the positive in all he does, whilst others don’t buy into the spin and choose to highlight he’s errors. But the issue that remains is the stance that Khan holds. Has he changed he’s ideology? Achieving he’s previous desires, could he’s latest focus be the Prime Minister (PM) seat? Or worse still, was this all an act to become PM from day one?

Suggested by some, albeit a little far-fetched, wise men have said to never say never. For the purposes of this article, the aforementioned will be ignored leaving the other two possibilities of ‘change in Khan’s ideology’ versus ‘the desire to become PM.’ Though easier to dictate he has changed he’s ideology, one would lean towards the latter and assume that he has now set himself the challenge of being PM. Reviewing he’s personality over the years, he hasn’t changed much so it is less likely he’s mindset would’ve changed, but it seems in line with he’s history that he set himself a new goal or challenge to keep himself driven. By assuming the latter, one can also suggest that it overlaps the former option due to the phenomenon of tunnel vision.

Anais Nin stated “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” It is easily possible to manoeuvre actions to be justified within the existent ideology and use them to as part of the overall goal of being PM. Dr Mathieu, a specialist in the intersection of spirituality and addiction, states:

“We can’t see anything that contradicts our intentions and desires. We get selective perception, which limits our ability to remain open and to see things clearly. Instead of being present to our reality, we put the blinders on and barrel ahead towards our hopes and dreams.”

Interestingly we can apply this to Khan and he’s previous achievements, in fact tunnel-vision is common amongst many people and Khan has also admitted being a victim of this psyche. Tunnel vision may have lead him to many successes in life, not without the struggles. Analysing this in its current context of he’s aim to be PM, one can understand why Khan would seem different or changed to many. Khan’s blinders might be on, and many things will be irrelevant as they are not linked to Prime Ministership. But at this stage in life which may be he’s last big innings, can he afford to put he’s reputation on the line? An old Cherokee adage comes to mind which entails a grandfather telling he’s grandson a story about a struggle inside him:

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you — and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson, in he’s childish intrigue asked “which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Though Khan’s credibility is not in question, one can’t help but worry about the two wolves inside Khan. On one side, the promise and hope he has given to the nation and on the other, he’s own personal desire of being PM which due to natural tendencies seems to have him in tunnel vision mode. The real question, one would suggest is, which wolf will Khan feed?

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