Book Review: Bill Bryson’s ‘A short history of nearly everything’
September 18, 2011
dessert
And yet another political song…
October 26, 2011

So what do I think about the book?! – I think, it’s a sales pitch – it screams at you, “Vote for me – I am the only ‘honest’ candidate around for the next prime minister of Pakistan and I am ready to do this job now!” By Fareeha Qayoom

By Fareeha Qayoom

 

T

he book caught my eye during a business trip –I was browsing the mall near my hotel.  I didn’t buy it then though, (I thought the price was a bit overrated!)  Later, I regretted it because I finished my current book earlier than expected and had nothing to read before bed time or on the return flight.

 

book cover - Imran Khan Pakistan

Book Cover – Pakistan, a personal history by Imran Khan

I looked for his book at the airport – however, the bookstore didn’t have it in stock…so I bought Branson’s book “Screw it, let’s do it!” instead. Not a bad read for US $9.00. Unfortunately, I was able to finish it during the three hour flight – I had considerable wait ahead of me (waiting for my connecting flight) – so when I landed back in Karachi, Pakistan, I looked for Khan’s book again – lo and behold – it was pricey here too – PKR 1095 but what the heck, I was bored and needed something interesting to read so I bought it…I started it in Karachi (Wednesday afternoon) but finished it during the weekend at home (Sunday evening)  – its thick and long and you can’t finish it in one sitting.

 

So what do I think about the book?! – I think, it’s a sales pitch – it screams at you, “Vote for me – I am the only ‘honest’ candidate around for the next prime minister of Pakistan and I am ready to do this job now!”

 

His list of achievements/credentials for the job – leading Pakistan’s cricket team, winning the 1992 world cup, setting up Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital and a university in Mianwali and his philanthropic work during the earthquake and floods…yes, it takes considerable leadership/management skills, not to mention, selflessness to achieve all that and I am not knocking it, however, running a country is a bit different from running a cricket team or fund raising for a hospital…so I am not sold on his credentials! I need more…besides, as a politician, he hasn’t achieved much except lots and lots of air time on cable television ripping PPP and N League to pieces.

 

He tells me nothing about his potential team of ministers in this book – so voting for him or voting for Sharif, Bhutto-Zardari and Musharraf would be no different; they’re all one-man show(s) – you know, it takes a skilled team of people (read ministers) to run a government – He also doesn’t talk about an effective economic policy…except he does tell you he would invest in education and health sector for the ordinary Joe (read Aslam)  and he would try to free Pakistan from IMF. Good aspirations that, but hardly a concrete plan for achieving those lofty goals…he also gives you his solution for an exit strategy from Afghanistan…words to the effect, ‘pull out of the deal with USA, turn neutral and stop bombing our own people as we are making new enemies in our own backyard… and let’s not be another Cambodia.’

 

Khan rambles on a bit at times – you know sometimes, he jumps ahead and then goes back down a memory lane – so it’s a bit tough keeping the timeline together if you picked up this book to get the history of the country…yes, his view of Pakistan is interesting from inside out. However, his suddenly discovering Islam through Mian Bashir and boning up on Iqbal seems pretty superficial to me on the face of it, unfortunately, he doesn’t give you more details on his transformation/turning over a new leaf and leaving behind the life of superficial hedonistic pleasure – however, to me, it only seems like a change of clothes – besides, why change clothes anyway? Be yourself – after all, he is a Pakistani with considerable international exposure, with a foreign degree from Oxford, rich and successful in his own right and he does belong to Pakistan’s elite. Why try to hide the facts behind a shalwar Kameez suit? Jinnah never did.

***

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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of Tkfr.com and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.

18 Comments

  1. more reading?

    Imran’s book recalled over Kashmir map issue
    Anita Joshua

    The publishers of Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s book ‘Pakistan: A Personal History’ on Thursday announced the recall of the publication in view of incorrect labelling of Kashmir on the map.

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2476477.ece

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  2. Pakistan: A Personal History by Imran Khan
    Surviving a sticky wicket
    By Arifa Akbar

    Friday, 23 September 2011

    It may seem like sporting profanity now but Imran Khan’s cricketing debut was so inauspicious that it earned him the humiliating nickname, Imran Khan’t. Four decades on, and still viewed as a national treasure for leading Pakistan’s cricket team to its only World Cup victory in 1992, Khan recalls the Khan’t moment. He draws parallels between the slow-burn success of first career and the early disappointments of his second, in Pakistani politics.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/pakistan-a-personal-history-by-imran-khan-2359195.html

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  3. The book of Khan
    By:AghaAkbar

    If he ever felt any real contrition on his “I, Me, Myself” speech at the acme of his cricketing career in 1992, this is not evident in his latest work, Pakistan: A Personal History, though he mentions the incident in passing. Even if you grant Imran Khan that a personal history ought to be heavy with personal references and insights, it still is too fully loaded in seeing Pakistan from its creation and before “through the prism of Khan’s memories and recollections”.

    http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/09/the-book-of-khan/

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  4. Raising a million: Imran Khan
    By Natalie Graham

    Imran Khan, 58, who grew up playing cricket in Lahore, Pakistan, played his first international match in 1971. In 1972, he studied at Oxford university, where he was a contemporary of Benazir Bhutto.

    He went on to play cricket for Pakistan until 1992, captaining the team to World Cup victory in that year.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/c09575ac-e371-11e0-8f47-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1Z3iBZY4H

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  5. Yes we Khan
    By George Fulton
    Published: September 21, 2011

    Would Imran Khan make a good prime minister for Pakistan? It’s a question that draws strong views from all sides of the Pakistani political spectrum. He’s a polarising candidate: you either love him or hate him. For many, the cricketing hero, turned social justice campaigner, induces paeans of passion. Others deride him as a Taliban stooge. However, there are a few of us still vacillating over his suitability as a leader.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/257064/yes-we-khan/

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  6. Brought to book: Jemima Khan on appearing in her ex-husband’s memoir

    What’s it like to appear in someone else’s book without your knowledge or approval? After Jemima Khan got her hands on Imran Khan’s book, she had the opportunity to discuss Pakistan and their time together with her ex-husband

    Monday, 26 September 2011

    “Too late. Don’t worry Jem – you come across as you always wanted to – Joan of Arc,” was the response I got from my ex-husband, Imran Khan, when I asked if it would be possible to read his memoirs before they were published.

    Imran and I have remained on very good terms. He even uses my mother’s house as a London base when he’s in the UK. Still, hearing that there was a chapter in Pakistan: A Personal History entitled “My Marriage”, was, I’ll admit, unsettling. I wrestled an advance copy, a brick of a book, from my sons (to whom it had been dedicated, as well as to “the youth of Pakistan”).

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/jemima-khan/brought-to-book-jemima-khan-on-appearing-in-her-exhusbands-memoir-2360830.html

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  7. Adnan Qayyum says:

    mind numbing

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    • Khan’s rants usually are – I just saw him last night on cable TV on Luqman’s show…he was talking about the same stuff – ‘walk away from US deal and tell them that Pakistan can only help them with a peace deal – instead of do more, no more!’ or words to that effect…I also think he looked bored stiff in the news footage they were showing of major parties’ meeting with Gilani last night prior to APC…hmmm

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  8. In defence of Imran Khan
    By Raoof Hasan
    Published: September 29, 2011

    Imran Khan has always confronted the proverbial question ‘will he make it?’ in whatever he has set out to do. That was the question when his team was losing in the earlier stages of the World Cup of 1992, but he was the proud recipient of the coveted trophy at the concluding ceremony. The same was the haunting question when he launched “Imran’s Tigers” to build a cancer hospital in memory of his mother. He succeeded in building the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital — one of the most acclaimed institutions known for its professional expertise and its humanitarian consideration, as it treats more than 75 per cent of its patients free of cost. This question again haunted him when he announced plans to build a university in one of the most backward areas of the country. The university, an affiliate of the UK-based University of Bradford, is there for all to see in Mianwali, as it disseminates quality education in a variety of disciplines.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/263169/in-defence-of-imran-khan/

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  9. Nothing to do with Khan’s book – just another perspective on Pakistan…interesting comment…

    As the moving finger keeps on writing
    Ayaz Amir
    Friday, October 14, 2011

    If times are hard why don’t we adjust to them? Why aren’t we a bit more stoical about our misfortunes? We’ve made a fetish of moaning and breast-beating, the new media – lest we forget, Gen Pervez Musharraf’s gift to this distraught and confused nation – feeding this frenzy and in no small measure profiting from it. For a change why don’t we cultivate a bit of philosophy?

    Our troubles are not going away in a hurry. Of this we can be pretty sure, although why should we complain when for the most part we ourselves, not agents from the skies, are the authors of our misfortunes? Wrong choices made, wrong paths chosen, the most pigheaded adventures embarked upon.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=72374&Cat=9

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  10. The Nawaz-Imran equation
    Mehreen Zahra-Malik
    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Tush! Tush! Fear little boys with bugs – not Imran Khan with his fuzzy mumblings about insaf and azadi and what not. But wait, it seems our socialite turned social reformer has got Punjab patriarch Nawaz Sharif’s face boiling red. Who would’ve thought.

    If politics were predictable, it would cease to be politics, wouldn’t it?

    For a start-up party and no parliamentary representation, Imran’s rivals have always given him an inordinate amount of attention. As early as the 90s, Benazir Bhutto had begun to keep an unyielding eye on his activities, never forgoing an opportunity to mock him as a “me-too” candidate whose central beliefs were worth “little more than a few greeting card pleas”. Even the Czar of Karachi, Altaf Hussain, betrayed IK-anxiety and thundered in many a telephonic address about presenting the National Assembly with evidence of Imran’s “bad character.”

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=73495&Cat=9

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  11. At first I deleted the following comment ‘coz I thought it was spam (the comment was left without a name or a proper email address…but on second thought, the comment seemed valid) so here you are…

    “The 1st half of the book is enter­tain­ing because it cov­ers his young and per­sonal life which peo­ple are more inter­ested in. The 2nd half is all about his polit­i­cal jour­ney which may bore you cause every­thing he writes there, he has already spo­ken about on var­i­ous inter­views.

    Nev­er­the­less on the whole good inter­est­ing read with some never before revealed con­tent that will fas­ci­nate you.”

    Anonymous

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  12. PTI to show off its power at Minar-e-Pakistan

    LAHORE – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) would stage a massive public rally against the government at 2pm in the ground of Minar-e-Pakistan on Sunday.

    http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/10/pti-to-show-off-its-power-at-minar-e-pakistan-tomorrow/

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  13. Imran Khan: Unplugged

    Sunday Magazine Feature

    Published: November 27, 2011

    Love him or hate him, you can no longer ignore him. Following the Lahore rally, Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf have emerged as a force on the field of Pakistani politics.

    But to many he is still a mystery: is he a superstar, a philanthropist, a politician, or all three? Who is he really, and what does he stand for?

    Q: Some call you Taliban Khan, and some call you Inqilab Khan. So the first question I want to ask is: will the real Imran Khan please stand up?

    Imran Khan (IK): (laughs) … You missed out one thing… I’m also part of the Jewish lobby.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/296312/imran-khan-unplugged/

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  14. When charisma fails to deliver votes
    Tahir Mehdi | 2 days ago

    The corporate genie has granted you innumerable wishes, not just three. It might have dampened the drama, somewhat, but if you are an ardent consumer you will have unlimited fun. It can bring you picture-perfect apples from New Zealand, piping-hot fried chicken from Kentucky (US) and whatever else your heart may desire.

    For the urban consumers of politics in Pakistan, generally, and Punjab, particularly, hunger cannot be defined in such terms and earthly edibles therefore guarantee no satisfaction. Dying for some real excitement, they are craving for a new brand named ‘change’ – a serving of spiced up, up-sized elections is what they are demanding. For them, the ‘deal’ comprises a designer political party for starters, corruption-free candidates as appetizers, a fully-principled campaign with some ideological toppings as the main course and for dessert: a raunchy prime minister, who could send the hearts of the world leaders racing. But who could that be? Imran Khan Inc., for Khan is a charismatic personality, who has already delivered two miracles: The Cup and the Hospital.

    http://dawn.com/2012/05/22/when-charisma-fails-to-deliver-votes/

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  15. Is Imran Khan the leader Pakistan needs?
    Ethan Casey | 31st January, 2012

    I’m not Pakistani, and for me to make pronouncements or pass judgment on Pakistani domestic politics would be presumptuous. But several Pakistani friends have asked me to write about Imran Khan. I do so now, albeit hesitantly, because what he represents is an important subject at this pregnant historical moment.

    http://dawn.com/2012/01/31/is-imran-khan-the-leader-pakistan-needs/

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  16. Delusion of revolution
    Syed Muhammad Haider | 2 days ago

    Revolution is easily the buzz word these days. Honchos, or at least their supporters, are besotted with the idea of some kind of a frenzied uprising against the status-quo to somehow throw the incumbents out of the window, cherish the ‘change’, make some noise, and then, if needed, decide the future course of action.

    Metaphors of massive upheavals of catastrophic nature are frequently being flaunted by the politicians. ‘Tsunami,’ for example, is used by the Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Imran Khan to define his political might. Never mind that even a superficial analysis of this term is enough to make one sick to the stomach. The blood-cuddling horrors related to tsunamis notwithstanding, Khan’s proposed plans also do not commensurate with the radical choice of his words. I’d rather he used a milder metaphor, because what he is claiming to do is obviously not ‘revolutionary.’

    http://dawn.com/2012/05/28/delusion-of-revolution/

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  17. Is Imran overconfident?
    By Mazhar Abbas

    Charismatic Imran Khan, through his aggressive posture — something which he draws from his cricketing past — has put not only the government and the opposition under pressure but even the establishment circles are concerned over his confidence, or perhaps ‘over confidence’ about the possible outcome of his November 2 ‘Islamabad siege’.

    All this has led to all kinds of speculation in the country including the possibility of a ‘third party’s’ intervention. In the past this confidence had damaged Imran politically, but he believes this posture and style has put him far ahead over other opposition leaders. So, will he turn the tables this time and send Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif back to Raiwind, or would he himself return to Bani Gala like he did in 2014?

    https://www.geo.tv/latest/118903-Is-Imran-overconfident

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