Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Imran Khan: How was he different?

This article contains non-political views only.

Imran Khan, a rapidly popularizing political leader of Pakistan, had a memorable first jalsa in Lahore. The rally was held at Minar-e-Pakistan, a patriotic venue.

There are loads of different views on the success level of his rally, but we are not politicizing the discussion here. No doubt, his rally was very inspiring and different. So what differences did Imran Khan come up with in his rally, compared to others?

The prearrangement

Public security was an important aspect which was given attention. Magnetic metal detectors were used to scan any arms and weapons possessed by anyone. Police were seen riding on horses maintaining a sense of security. Senior police official Ghulam Mahmood Dogar told reporters that all steps had been taken to provide "fool-proof" security at the public meeting.

Seats were arranged for the gathering. Of course, not everyone got a seat to sit but 40,000 seats should have been enough to accommodate the elders. Where else do we see so many seats arranged?

The risk of dengue was immense those days. Accordingly, anti-dengue chemicals were sprayed all over the area before anyone showed up. 

Another thing that inspired me personally was the camera work. Movable towers were fixed into the land and cameramen from various channels were able to capture some awesome views from the midst of the crowd.

During Jalsa

Soon after the rally begun, there was a pause. Imran Khan gave respect to azaan. But what made him different from others was his decision to offer the Maghrib prayer there and then, in front of thousands of people who must have taken home something inspirational from the footsteps of their leader.

I remember reading somewhere in the newspaper, a reporter expressed her views about the gentry present there, "there were less tooti chappals (broken shoes) to be seen". Does this mean that the middle class people who normally prefer to stay home were in for some support? In general there were not only die hard party fans but also the common people who just came there for some hope for the future of Pakistan. Youth of Lahore were also present at the venue in large numbers, as expected.

Imran Khan attracted and engaged more and more youth not only by his speech but also by inviting some of the popular singers and stars to perform live. Yes it seemed all in one package. Strings and Shehzad Roy performed live from between the audience. Apart from other songs, Shehzad Roy sung 'Laga reh' and Strings sung 'Main tou dekhoon ga', both rapidly popularizing patriotic songs. According to The Express Tribune, singers like Ali Zafar have also previously performed at PTI gatherings.

The Closing Note

The end was as influential as is the ending note of a singer's song! The most forgotten part of a true Pakistani gathering, 'paak sar zameen' the national anthem was played at the end of the ceremony. After keeping me excited throughout the rally, this last sent shiver through my spine, made me stand up in front of the TV and the sing the anthem along (yes I did remember).


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