"Drone strikes are being done with the complicity of the Pakistani Government. They are completely counterproductive. It is creating more anti-Americanism,
turning more people towards the militants, and is against all humanitarian laws. We will convince the U.S. government not to launch drone attacks and leave
it to us. A sovereign government will take responsibility of ensuring there be no terrorism from Pakistan's soil."
Despite his command of English and charismatic politicking, it was evident in his L.A. appearance that Khan lacks the storytelling finesse of a seasoned
politician. His seemingly absolute, simple solutions to the very complex, embedded issues Pakistan faces have drawn the ire of many critics and skeptics,
who feel that the grand promises are indicative of Khan's political naiveté. They feel that even if he or members of his party are elected to power, their
vows will remain unfulfilled. While Khan has gained enough popular support to be a serious contender, many feel that he is an amateur politician and an
artless diplomat, and is simply not equipped to make real change while in office. His lofty promises may resound more as a rallying cry and impetus for
revolution than a policy agenda.
To the West, Khan's progressive platform has some gaping holes-some feel he's too soft on the Taliban and that he champions unwise anti-American rhetoric.
"How can you be anti-West? West is geography. I'm not anti-West- when you oppose a government's policies, it does not mean you are anti-government," Khan
said, addressing the accusation. "We're still suffering from the colonial hang up where the slaves were not allowed to object to imperial policies. I'm
afraid I've never agreed with the U.S. War on Terror and I will never accept it. It's anti-humanity."
During an extended Q&A session following the fundraiser, Khan spoke about items on his domestic to-do list: plans to restructure institutions and
infrastructure, spur economic growth, reform the legal system and enact a policy to provide legal aid, depoliticize bureaucratic institutions, increase
education for women and accessibility to family planning resources, institute policies to enforce livable wages, and invest money in policing to reduce
extortion and improve public safety. The scale of Khan's ambitions may put them beyond his reach, but some of his ideals are manifesting themselves in his
Khan has propagated his campaign as a movement for change and has consistently advocated for reform. His supporters, especially the youth, see his
political agenda and their role in civic engagement through a prism of social activism. Khan has employed the expertise he gained as a philanthropist to pioneer large-scale political fundraising in
Pakistan to sustain his campaign, and PTI recently held intra-party elections to
demonstrate their allegiance to transparency, fair elections, and moral politics.
Khan has several roadblocks ahead of him, but the seething discontent many have for the current administration has catapulted Khan and his Obama-esque
spirit of change from the political periphery into the spotlight. He may be a long shot,but tsunami Khan is an undeniable force to be reckoned with. Khan
promised, "Nothing, no political party, no one can stop Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) from sweeping the elections, inshaAllah."