It was the 1st of July 2018. The election in Pakistan was still almost a month away. A wedding function was being held in Virginia USA. The number of guests & organizers was around 300. The younger generation was having fun & the older generation was soberly looking on. Someone went to the DJ (An Indian) & asked him to play a song. The DJ was rather astonished as it was a political song.
The song was played & all sobriety was forgotten. Younger & older generation combined to dance on the tune of “jab aayega Imran banega naya Pakistan.” The passion was unmistakable, the junnon was for everyone to see, people were talking about it we are going to have a new Pakistan the tsunami is coming.
PTI comes into power: For the better or for the worse?
July 25 election came around and PTI was the largest single party & formed the government. In August the long-nurtured dream of immigrant Pakistanis materialized and Imran Khan was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan. The feeling in the USA was something that can only be felt & not described. The euphoria was almost as high as having a drug. Months afterward, Pakistanis immigrants walked around as if in a daze.
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I have a large family in the USA. In any family event, our near relatives cross 100 figures & add friends & you have a really solid number of Pakistanis gathered. Every function that we held & with such large families we usually have a weekend function for someone going on at all times, we looked around for anti-Imran people.
It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. We can hardly find anyone. Few MQM supporters or Jamaat e Islami mindset people did come up but PMLN & PPP was almost totally absent, tending towards zero.
It was kind of surprising as with the political mindset prevailing in Pakistan, we should have counted in a sizable number of PMLN & PPP flag bearers. It’s clear now that PMLN & PPP has understood the total dominance of Insafians in immigrant politics & given them up as a lost cause.
This is also demonstrated by the effort of the cyber teams of belittling the immigrants, dare them to come live in Pakistan & try to portray them as naïve in Pakistani politics & on the ground scenario. The intensity of viciousness in their attack demonstrates their total frustration at being completely unable to even get a toehold with the immigrant Pakistanis.
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How the immigrants view Pakistan through their lenses
Why? That is the question that agitated me. The first generations of immigrants in normal circumstances retain all the characteristics of the population & should have displayed a similar political trend-following as the whole. But why this anomaly? Research & studies threw up the following reasons:
The immigrants, more so in the western world, have the opportunity of seeing democracy in action for the first time in their life, realizing the artificiality that they were being served in Pakistan for the last 70 years. They were also able to see issue-based politics free from ethnicity discrimination claims or tribal loyalty.
They were able to understand the total idiocy of Bhutto Zinda hai, or Muhajir identity claim by people native-born or guided democracy under military tutelage. The democracy demonstration effect actually varies from country to country, being more effective in the western world & less effective in monarchies like in the Middle East.
Migration transforming the civilians
However, even in the Middle East, the understanding level increases manifold. Why so? Because whether the government is a monarchy or democracy it is essential that they have a certain level of implementation of justice as without it no nation can survive. In the USA any newly arriving immigrant quickly realizes the futility of trying to bribe someone or using influence after breaking the law.
Soon, by necessity, they become law-abiding citizens themselves. Following law soon upgrades into respect for the law. They can see without any blinkers in their sight that respect for law and justice does not exist in Pakistan.
Thus all immigrants except those who have been rewarded to be sent abroad clearly see cancer in Pakistan & being Pakistanis and in love with Pakistan comes to the only conclusion possible. That Imran Khan is the only option for Pakistan to survive.
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It might be a justified critique after two & a half years of inflation, some muddle-headed decisions, quite a few compromises about the government of Imran Khan & its viability. However, this is a different debate subject but at this point in time, it suffices to say that a country riddled with corruption & hammered with the mindset of “khata hai to lagata bhi to Hai “needs a totally honest leadership like Imran Khan to survive. One thing is sure that till the opposition in Pakistan is able to put forward reasonably honest leadership immigrant Pakistanis love affair with PTI & Imran Khan will continue.
The author has worked for Unilever for 25 years. He is a professional translator/interpreter of five languages and is also a certified computer trainer. He is currently living in Virginia, USA. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.