On 25 July 2018, the Pakistan National Assembly elected Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, the Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PIT) Party, as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan. So who is this professional cricket player turned politician just tapped to rule this giant nuclear-armed country in the middle of a period of tremendous change? Who is this new Khan?
A champion to be proud of
Imran Khan was a household name long before taking on politics. While he was born in the bustling metropolis of Lahore, Khan’s mother Shaukat came from a certain Pashtun tribe known as the Burki, that already had a great reputation for producing successful cricketers.
Imran Khan was a champion they would be proud of. He retired from cricket in 1992 having led Pakistan to its first and only Cricket World Cup win and held multiple records. He was inducted into the International Cricket Council Cricket Hall of Fame in 2010.
A second life
Khan may have retired entirely a wealthy man at this point in his life. Instead, Khan started his own political movement in 1996. His party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (lit: Pakistan Movement for Justice), relied on his universal popularity in Pakistan as a hero of the national cricket team and combined it with his political philosophy. The party has traditionally campaigned by calling for increased government support for education, health, and jobs. What made their party unique was a platform that supported freedom of thought, abolishing the personal income tax and a stand against policies of religious discrimination.
The party has had a series of impressive electoral successes since. The PIT won its first seat in parliament in the elections of October 2002 with Khan as its candidate. Following what was seen as his success in parliament, the party has advanced it position substantially, finally becoming the largest political party in Pakistan after the 2018 general election.
The future of Pakistan
The executive power of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is bestowed in the Prime Minister as per the 1973 constitution and the official swearing-in ceremony took place on 18 August 2018. Occupying the prime ministerial position marks the greatest political achievement in the amazing life of Imran Khan. Seemingly with a genuine desire to reform Pakistan, many around the world surely wish him well.