Saturday, November 19, 2011

Imran Khan's Autobiography 'Pakistan: A Personal History'

Note: These are the few parts of the book which are published just so that people can get to know about the book more and the more and interesting detail is present in the book itself. This book has been published by Bantam Press. All the views are of the writer itself. For this article I have taken help from Wikipedia, Imran Khan’s book, Daily Express Pakistan.

The Old Man and the Sea is a novel written by American author Ernest Hemingway in 1951. It is a story of Santiago, an aging fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream but he never lets go hope. At one place Santiago is quoted as saying “But a man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated.” Imran Khan the famous Pakistani cricketer is a true example of this quote.

Before starting his political career, Imran Khan was famous because of two reasons. Cricket and Shaukat Khanam Cancer Hospital are those reasons. The place where he stands today has been achieved after intense struggle and hard work and one can only applaud the great man.

His interest in cricket started at a very young age as two of his cousins were part of Pakistani National team and captained the team at different stages. He visited Lahore to watch a cricket match between Pakistan and MCC at the age of 9, it was a match in which his cousin Javed Burkey scored century and after that Imran Khan decided he will become a cricketer at any cost. After that day he never doubted that he will not play for Pakistan.

Although he has not mentioned this in his book but during an interview with the Cricinfo Imran Khan was quoted as saying “From a very young age I was told that I’m not as good as my other cousins and that I won’t be successful in Cricket.” After a poor performance in his first test match his fellow cricketers advised him to quit cricket and concentrate on something else. Imran Khan was a medium pacer and only decided to become a fast bowler after watching Dennis Lillie. “In 1972 I watched Dennis Lillie during an Ashes test in England and I was thoroughly impressed. That was the day I decided to become a fast bowler. My seniors and coach at Worcestershire tried to convince me that my body shape is not that of a fast bowler and If I tried to change my bowling action I will destroy myself.” It was my Idealism that helped me and I was able to not only change my action but become a genuinely fast bowler.”

The best example of valor and courage was the 1992 Cricket World Cup when after many losses Pakistan came back strongly to lift the trophy from no where under the captaincy of Imran Khan. His achievements in Cricket are countless so just to round them off Victory against India and England on their homeland were special but Imran Khan rates the three series Pakistan drew with the mighty West Indies at their pomp as his standout achievement. 1n 1988 Pakistan was the first team not to lose the series in west Indies and lf the umpiring was up to the mark Pakistan would have won the series.

His second achievement was the Shaukat Khanam Caner Hospital. It is the first Cancer Hospital of South Asia. How this miracle took place, and what was the story behind it, is explained comprehensively in this book. When Imran Khan organized the first board of governor meeting all of them were of the view that a Cancer hospital has no scope in Pakistan. Imran Khan writes “Except of one doctor, most of them were telling me that it will be a total flop and this project is not implementable. The only doctor that agreed said that it might be possible to build the hospital but we won’t be able to give the treatment for free. I had no idea how to avoid this situation as I had already announced in public and started collecting donations. My cousin Javed Burkey suggested that I should start a clinic after my mother’s name initially and then look towards my aim. My sisters were really worried about me and asked me to drop the idea as I will lose all my fame and destroy my reputation. 

But I could not go back on this and it was impossible to return the donations to people so It was too late. During these days a meeting with ‘Pakistan Association of Doctors North America’ gave me some hope.’ Imran Khan knew that the destiny was still far away, Dr. Tauseef who was a cancer specialist in New York recommended Dr. Nausherwaan Burkey as the person who could help Imran Khan a lot and it turned out to be that this doctor was a cousin of Imran Khan. He got associated with the cause and served his duty with full sincerity. In the Autobiography Imran Khan praised Dr. Nausherwaan a lot for the dedication he showed for the cancer hospital. 

For the cancer hospital Imran Khan had to change himself and had to do things he had not ever imagined He had to ask people for donation although never in his life he asked his father for even a single penny. He used to reject people’s offer to meet as they only wanted to meet him as he was famous and had money, but he had to do that as well so that he could get as much donations as possible. He was a person who was daring and spoke what he wanted to but now he had to be careful of the media personals as one bad article could lose him thousands of rupees for the hospital. One positive change in his personality was that he got closer to children and got to know how to treat them, before this he used to avoid children but going to schools and colleges for donations taught him a lot.

Now let’s talk about the early life of Imran Khan who was born on 25 November, 1952 to Shaukat Khanum and Ikramullah Khan Niazi, a civil engineer, in Lahore. A quiet and shy boy in his youth, Khan grew up in an upper middle-class Niazi Pathan family with four sisters, he being the only son of his parents. Settled in Punjab, Khan's father descended from the Pashtun (Pathan) Niazi Shermankhel tribe of Mianwali in Punjab. Imran Khan has a lot of influence of her mother whom he loved the most and used to hide things that could make his mother sad. 

Imran Khan has also talked about his grand mother in the book who was the most famous among the children of the family as she used to support them in everything and the children found it easy to talk with their grand mother than parents. The only thing that his mother was strict about was home work which was compulsory for Imran Khan to complete or he was not allowed to play, he had to go to school everyday as there was no other way but he used to disguise his Quran teacher and went outside to play cricket while the Maulvi Sabab had to sit and wait for hours. After completing A-levels from Pakistan he went to UK for higher studies. He did not get settled initially and wanted to come back home but his mother was always there to support him calling him everyday. He got settled after a year or so and his close friends included Benazir Bhutto and Vikram Mehta.

His family was a religious one and his father had a strong belief on Sufism. In those days how Imran Khan did perceive religion is explained by him. “My mother always knew that I used to hate anything that I had to do by force. Whenever they tried to force me and become a good Muslim the more I resisted but saying that religion has always given me strength.” His mother used to tell him stories of British who invaded Sub Continent and her mother taught him one quote that remain with him all his life and it was the quote of Tipu Sultan, the famous emperor “Its better to live one day as Lion, then to live 100 years as a Wolf.’ Majid Khan was his childhood hero but fate brought him at a stage when he had to drop Majid Khan from the team, this obviously hampered the relations between the two. One good thing that happened was that Imran didn’t drink ever following Majid Khan.

He witnessed both the Indo-Pak wars as a youngster and has generally described it in the book as well. In 1965 during the war days, for the protection of the Zaman Park, a defense force was formed by the committee of which he wanted to be a part of but could not as he was ineligible as he was too young. He was impressed by the zeal and enthusiasm of the public during the war. In 1971 during the fall of Dhaka he was bitterly disappointed. Before the army operation he was one of the people who were on the last flight and saw the tensions between the people. Ashraf Ul Haq was the captain of the under -19 team back then and later became a good friend of Imran Khan told him such astonishing stories and facts that he was sure Pakistan will lose half of its part soon. He never again believed what the governments told to people and decided he will believe what the general public views were.

Imran Khan was a big fan of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and called him nationalist. He was impressed by the speech of Bhutto in the 1965 United Nations meeting. In his views Bhutto could not achieve what he was capable of as the land lord culture in the country was a big hurdle. He criticized the decision of Bhutto to privatize the schools and industry as it turned out to be a disaster. In 1979 when Bhutto was hanged Imran Khan was in Srilanka when he got the news and became very sad. In the same year Iran was revolutionized and Russia entered Afghanistan and Imran Khan has talked about them in detail. Zia-Ul-Haq was now the president of Pakistan and Imran had to interact with him as the captain of Pakistani Cricket team.. In 1987 it was General Zia who asked Imran Khan on TV to take back his retirement and continue as the captain. Zia also asked Imran to join the National Assembly which he refused.

During these days he started to take some interest in Politics and and thought of making a political party which could become a force against Nawaz Shareef and Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto and Zardari were disappointed for not being invited to Inaugurate the Cancer Hospital and started to take revenge by tapping his phones and Imran was also followed by unknown people wherever he visited. In 1996 Imran Khan started Pakistan Tehreek-E-Insaaf and took part in the general elections but lost by a huge margin. PML-N publicized the scandal with Seta White and also accused him of working with the Jewish lobby. Nawaz Shareef tried his best to create problems for Imran Khan and did not deliver the aid sent by the Argentina’s President. Imran was a firm supporter of Pervez Musharaf and was of the view that his 7 point agenda could do wonders for Pakistan but came to know soon that Musharaf had no such intensions; he even apologized to the public for supporting Musharraf. Imran participated in the 2002 elections and won by a huge margin but boycotted the 2008 elections. Just recently a BBC reporter interviewed Imran Khan and said “ After talking with the PTI leader Imran Khan for a few hours I felt a fear inside myself the way he was positive about winning the elections.”

Imran khan says it was a long time ago when a Sufi told me that I will come to power when I will be ready for it and I feel like I’m perfectly capable and ready to play a role for Pakistan. After 14 years of hard work and tough situations I feel it’s our time, almost all the youth are with me and supporting me and I believe only youth can bring a change in Pakistan. For the First time I can feel my time has come, Pakistan will change.

Do Not Bring an English Wife for you: Mother’s last Advise.

”When I was 18 years old my mother advised me not to bring an English wife for me and that was the last thing she said to me before my leaving for UK.” Imran Khan acted upon the advice for almost 24 years but married Jemima Khan and had to disobey his mother In a way. Imran Khan was always of the view that his marriage will be an arranged one just like everyone else in the family but things changed suddenly and he not only brought an English wife but it was a love marriage. After the divorce between the two his mothers prediction that an English women could not settle in the Pakistani culture came true. He was also targeted and blamed that he was a part of a Jewish lobby and that’s why he married Jemima but Imran says at that time I had no plans what so ever to join politics and my marriage was purely a love marriage and had nothing to do with anything else. He says Jemima was always worried about the propaganda in the media about him and says the reason he was not able to give time to her wife due to the politics was the main reason they had to separate.

First Meeting with Zardari:

In 1989 I visited Benazir at Bilawal House to ask her for some funds for the hospital. Benazir was busy so we happened to meet Zardari instead. I was hoping that my companionship with Benazir at oxford will help me In meeting and I would be listened to. Zardari met me with a smile and talked about my greatness and said good words about me as if he was buttering. But he did not offer any help and instead talked with the other people in the meeting more than me. Especially Tariq Shaffi, who was a famous industrialist and Zardari tried to convince him to set up two factories in Sindh. Both Zardari and Benazir did not help me with any funds but wanted me to invite them for the inauguration of the hospital but I had already decided that it will be the 10 year cancer patient Sumera Yousuf who will inaugurate the hospital.

First Meeting with Benazir:

Benazir was famous for being nice with the English people and being rude with Pakistani people. My first meeting with her was at a friend’s house when he invited Benazir and pulled the trigger on himself by talking about the land reforms and saying that they were not exactly implemented in the sindh province, this did not go well with Benazir and she started explaining in a loud voice. I tried to calm her down and after that we became good friends. In 1974 when she was 20 years old she was invited at the Holland Embassy to meet with the cricket team and she was ordering the Ambassador in such a tone as if he was her servant.  After passing out from oxford she stayed there for a year more just so that she could become the president of oxford union.

Nawaz Shareef and West Indies fast Bowlers:

An incident during the 1987 winter tells us about the mind set of Nawaz Shareef. Just before the World Cup was about to begin we played a warm up match against the mighty West Indies team. Just before the match was about to begin the board secretary told me that the CM Nawaz Shareef will captain the team today. I was astonished but thought he will sit and watch the match in the dressing room and captaining will just be a formality but I was further amazed when I saw him in the cricket dress going to the ground with Viv Richards for the toss but things did not end here. He won the toss, elected to bat and went in as an opener with Mudassar Nazar who wore all the accessories required and CM went in with just the usual pads. Here he was facing the most frightening bowling attack, all six feet tall, bowling 90 mph and the ones whole cricketing world feared to face. The first ball was bowled and reached the gloves of keeper even before Nawaz Shareef could move his bat. The misery ended soon though when the next ball crashed in to the stumps and he was on his way back to the dressing room.   


  1. I get the style of who is anonymous is again :D

  2. lol i should cchaange my style :P

  3. Imran khans the name to for CHANGE in PAKISTAN. Inshallah

  4. Thank you for tell me history of IMRAN KHAN PTI
    i love imran khan passion for pakistan becasuse its a humble person