Thu, 28 Jul 2011 08:11:15 GMT | By E Jayakrishnan, India Syndicate

Why Imran is India’s best bet

After 15 years in the political wilderness, Imran Khan, it seems, is an idea whose time has come. And, India should be rooting for him.

Why Imran is India’s best bet

And, we will tell you why.

After a long and arduous struggle for the greater part of two decades Imran Khan, and his party the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), is suddenly Pakistan's new brown hope. Beginning with the dramatic rally on October 31 last year at the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore, in which an unprecedented one lakh people attended, Imran's stock has been on the ascendency.

This is not only borne by the increasing attendance at his rallies but also the incredible sight of political entities who hitherto had shunned Imran and the PTI like the plague scurrying to join the bandwagon. Even the stalwarts have not been immune to Imran's charms. Two big ones - Javed Hashmi a veteran of Nawaz Sharif's PML(N) and Shah Mehmood Qureshi , former Foreign Minister in the PPP government - have cast their lot with Imran.

Until the last few months, Imran has been hard pressed to replicate his skill and charisma that he so abundantly displayed on the cricket field for Pakistan in his political career. For the one-a-half-decades in the Pakistan political cauldron, what he has to show is one paltry seat in the National Assembly - his own from Mianwali in North-West Punjab.

But recent events have seemed to have turned things on their head. In the Pakistan of the last two decades, other than the two main formations of the PPP and the PML(N) - other parties have barely registered in the national reckoning. Therefore, PTI's rise as a national alternative, as indicated by the perceptible groundswell of popular opinion, has taken most political actors and pundits in Pakistan by surprise.

Needless to say, Imran has justifiably been ecstatic and articulate about this happy reconfiguration of his political stars. He promises a "political tsunami" come elections.

Imran's rise is attributed to the utter failure of the corrupt and discredited political class to stem the tide of Pakistan's steady scurry into the abyss. However, what helps is his clean image, untainted by corruption scandals, which makes him come out shining red and gold, compared to the mainstream political class in the Islamic Republic.

The possibility of a credible and popular leader at the top of Pakistan's political pyramid is a rare but happy sign indeed. But for India, what must be more to the point and indeed gratifying is his pronouncements on matters vital to India's security and top of its anxiety list - namely, terror aimed at India emanating from Pakistani soil, the role of the ISI, and Kashmir.

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