Daily Archives: September 5, 2010

Imran Khan, Urban Middleclass Morality and its Contradictions

This article is critical of Imran Khan’s political orientation and tries to introspect middleclass liking for him. It admits Imran’s virtues as a cricketer and philanthropist but argues that his politics is the wrong medicine for the country. It also tries to examine as to why he has not been able to connect with the masses

By Raza Habib Raja

 In Pakistan we, particularly those belonging to relatively more educated and urbanized middleclass, have developed this psyche to find strange solace in other’s miseries and in some rare patches of better times in our history. So when Sialkot lynching occurred, many of us were appalled and shaken to the core and then tried to draw parallels to similar incidences in other countries to bolster our dwindling self esteem. A war of articles started where liberals were described as self loathers and were reminded that such incidences were a norm in other countries. Hence there was no need to worry and be depressed.

And then this scandal broke out and exposed the moral depravity of some of our most talented cricketers on television. Predictably we were first shocked, disgusted and then in an ever familiar way started to look for conspiracy theories to remain in our self created delusional state of denial (and of course link it with corruption of Zardari also!!!). On Express news, actually RAW was cited as the possible culprit ( And their most famous anchor drew parallels to Zardari’s corruption). But deep down we all know that we are actually on a very weak wicket.

Invariably we are also looking towards a rare patch of successful and taintless period of Pakistan cricket much of which was under Imran Khan. Imran is being remembered fondly and as a cricket fan, I can fully understand. Yes those were the days and Pakistan’s cricket team has never been the same after his departure.

The persona of Imran Khan is also in the forefront in flood relief efforts. It is strange that a person who despite being a political minnow commands extraordinary respect in philanthropy. People are willing to entrust him with notes but not with votes.

Sometimes, I really feel disappointed that a person with his education, brilliance as a cricketer and above all his extraordinary services in the field of social work had to take a political direction that I actually have to pray that he never wins.

There is a tendency in the liberal media to lynch Imran Khan (Mr. Nadeem Farooq Paracha it seems has made it a passion of his life) and to some extent it is well deserved also. But let’s not forget that despite his reactionary political orientation, his contributions to Pakistan are enormous. In many ways Imran Khan is Pakistan’s asset and someone who has dedicated his life to this country.  And here lies the irony that a squeaky clean person with an impeccable record, if elected, will be the one of the worst nightmares for Pakistan.

 Personally Imran is the embodiment of good aspects of upper middle class morality such as professional integrity, fairness and self pride. But politically he embodies whatever is wrong with the same class.

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The Floods Abroad – Diaspora Action

A A Khalid

The floods have been remarked as an historical event which will change Pakistan’s political and social fabric for the foreseeable future, whether that will be a positive or negative change will remain to be seen and will largely be determined by the crucial decisions Pakistani citizens take.

However, the floods have once again mobilised and made clear the importance of the diaspora communities across the world. In this article I will focus on the British Pakistani community. The efforts of the British Pakistani community have been commendable. For instance the myriad of private Asian television channels in the UK all broadcast large telethons to raise funds for the flood, mosques and cultural centres up and down the country have dug deep in the current economic recession to donate to the cause.

Prominent British Pakistanis, such as Amir Khan and James Caan have done much to use their status as celebrity to highlight the plight of the immense humanitarian crisis. In short one can discern that the Pakistani community has certainly responded to the suffering currently manifesting itself in their native homeland. Continue reading

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