LAHORE: International cricketing-legend-turned-politician Imran Khan could be prime minister of Pakistan in his 60th year. His Pakistan Union for Justice Party (PTI) is drawing big crowds, and he and the party are up in the polls.
The ex-cricketer’s vehement complaints about the country’s economic and political malaise and about United States drone attacks have tapped into the public mood. He plans to seize the moment: the country’s embattled government is expected to call elections before 2013.
Elections are due the February date in 2013 when parliament completes its 5-year term.
In a recent interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Khan revealed few specifics on how he would run the country, but riding a wave of public disaffection, he is not being challenged for specifics.
The country is described as chronically unstable and suffering continuing extremist violence and terrible economic problems. The US drone attacks to hit Islamist targets at the frontier anger him. He wants to end the war on terrorism.”
We need to be a friend of America, but not a hired gun,” he said.
He is said to be close to both the Pakistan military and extremist groups that want to sever relations with the United States, and also is said to be close to political groups close to the Afghan Taliban.
He was born on November 25, 1952 into a wealthy family in Lahore, educated at Pakistan’s top schools, and later attended Oxford University.
He became a top cricketer. He is regarded as one of the best all-rounders in cricketing history and his crowning moment was Pakistan’s World Cup of Cricket win in 1992 when he was captain of the team.
He founded the PTI, described as a centrist party, in 1996. His party was slow to gain ground.