Indeed, for Imran Khan, life is a journey of achieving one goal after another. From cricket to building the first state of the art cancer hospital in Pakistan, and then a university and how he gained the momentum to enter politics, he encapsulates all of this in his book.
The book “Pakistan: A Personal History” by Imran Khan was written in 2011 when PTI was just taking off. So it was quiet obvious for me to suspect the book to be speaking about the national political scene. Here I must admit I was surprised to find it contrary to what I was expecting. I got the feeling that Khan was trying to explain Pakistan to the West.
One may not agree with everything that Khan has to say, but one is forced to admit that Khan has passion, drive and determination for his cause. It’s an amazing read for people to get an overview of Pakistan’s past and present. In his book, he talks about his early life along with the history of Pakistan. He starts from his childhood and sheds light on his various pursuits in life, cricket, politics & philanthropy and from there on his continued experiences that have shaped up his thoughts and beliefs. The long account of his struggles after his mother’s death, almost uninterested in politics, playboy of cricket world who leaves the life of rock and roll for a noble cause, in between marries Jemima and then falls apart is fascinating to read.
The best comes out of the book when revealed about his spiritual closeness to Allah. He writes a lot on spirituality and the essence of religion. The person who inspired Khan the most was none other than the great poet and philosopher, Muhammad Iqbal. He construes the thoughts of the great Iqbal and weighs the best that how Islam is supposed to play its role in a society.
It is obvious Khan wants to lay down his vision of what he thinks Pakistan should be, to achieve it is another debate, but the way it is written is thought-provoking. While reading the book you feel like it’s published in 2020, because Imran Khan’s point of view hasn’t changed even a bit. Throughout the book, Khan does not let go of a chance to undermine his political rivals – Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif by sharing various anecdotes while disparaging the field of politics, which, ironically, he has been very much part of since last two decades. He criticizes Bhutto and Sharif for their lack of political and administrative experience before they took the helm of power and then acknowledges the fact that he also does not have any experience in politics but his vision for his country is simple, he wants a welfare state for his people.
Lastly I would be interested to read a sequel from 2018 when Imran Khan becomes the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, to learn how his convictions have been able to influence life in Pakistan since his political slogan of “Naya Pakistan” is somewhere under the echoes of NRO.