Going into 2018, Imran Khan was the party chief of the country’s third largest parliamentary force with a shaky shot at the upcoming general elections. But the year had transitions in store for Mr Khan.
They said it couldn’t happen – that anything was possible in politics but Imran Khan would never be Prime Minister. Going into 2019, not only will he be the country’s chief executive, but his party holds power in both KP and the Punjab. And as he likes to remind the world, this is the culmination of more than two decades of political struggle.
But it isn’t quite the fairy tale ending you’d think it was. Whether it was his cricket or his philanthropy, Imran Khan has never been accused of cutting corners. But his ascent to the top of Pakistan’s civilian hierarchy has been riddled with bad blood. While he is far from a mustache twirling villain, there clearly was no level playing field in the July elections, and he seemed the only one benefitting – after all, it wasn’t his party workers and candidates being harrassed, detained and getting calls from unlisted numbers.
Even in government, the annals of power haven’t been kind to the Prime Minister either. His short tenure has been marked with a crumbling economy, political scandals and his legendary appetite for u-turns. While he may have cruised (with some help?) to election victory, he seems to have been, understandably, robbed of a honeymoon period courtesy a cornered opposition.
For the sake of stability and the fragile appearance of democracy, one hopes that 2019 won’t mean too many transitions for Imran Khan. But with that said, who knows how much longer it’ll be until the country starts ghabraing.