Declan Walsh

November 6, 2011

At the height of his cricket glory days, Imran Khan would visualise winning – standing on the podium, cup held aloft – and propelling Pakistan to victory. Last weekend, standing before a sea of supporters in Lahore, he had a similar epiphany about his political career.

“As I stood there, watching them, I knew the moment had come,” Khan, who is the leader of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insafr party, said. “Now nothing can stop us. This is a revolution, a tsunami. We will not just win the next elections – we will sweep them.”

Whether the former cricket captain can translate rhetoric into reality is hotly debated. Yet few doubt that last weekend’s rally sent shockwaves across Pakistan’s moribund political system.

Over 100,000 people crammed into a historic Lahore park. Many were middle-class Pakistanis – young, urban, educated – drawn by Khan’s rhetoric and their anger at conventional politics.

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