Nadeem F. Paracha in Dawn:
What can one say about Imran Khan? A great former cricketer, a compassionate philanthropist … a sorry excuse for a politician. But his continuing forays into bad politics and tactical blunders can be excused, for he is yet to understand that politics is not a game of cricket, and that the democratic election process does not follow the selection policy he enforced as the captain of the Pakistan cricket squad.
The truth is, Khan’s penchant for picking up talented players seemed to have gone haywire when he decided to pick his early political mentors.
Coming from a highly educated, cultivated, and somewhat liberal background, Khan had slipped into reverse gear by the time he decided to enter politics in the early 1990s. In other words, instead of looking forward to becoming an integral part of a new, democratic, and General Zia-less Pakistan, Khan struck an ideological partnership with shadowy characters who were hell-bent on keeping the country stuck in the 1980s – a decade when Pakistan pulled and damaged all of its important political, economic and social muscles under the stressful weight of a myopic dictatorship and the damaging jihad that a dictatorship sponsored in Afghanistan.
By the time Khan officially entered politics sometime in late 1995, it wasn’t his pristine education at Oxford University, or a more insightful understanding of Pakistan’s political history, that was informing his political make-up. On the contrary, his ideology was weaved from the usual reactionary claptrap one expects from former ISI men, especially those who got emotionally involved in Pakistan’s counterproductive Afghan jihad project.