Conquering Hearts and Minds – The Lone Wolf in the Land of Apaches and Sitting Bull

Back home they called him names “Selected PM, Taliban Khan, Container King, a terrorist without a beard” etc.

IK Capital One Arena
IK Capital One Arena

He fought back, never batting an eyelid. They showed him no respect as the Elected Prime Minister who had won the popular vote by 17 million. The party had won in every Province and formed Governments in three of them. And yet they taunted him.

In parliament, they jostled and jeered him when he came to speak. Even when the invitation for a visit to the most powerful country came, they mocked him. There was an order in their madness. He had got them by their jugular vein. The Sicilian Mafioso was being challenged for the first time in history. My land was been rendered a Wasteland.
He remained unmoved. The Elements had greater tasks for him to perform. His Leadership was on stake. The most unpredictable but the most powerful President of the world was going to host him. At a time when the media and the political dispensation should have shown patriotism, they organized protest rallies (or tried to) and sent toady journalists to heckle him. For him, Challenges were opportunities to rise not to be cowered down.

Accompanied by a few aides he flew in a commercial flight, stayed at the residence of the Ambassador, traveled in metros wore his dignity on his sleeves and smiled his infectious smile that has charmed his fans. He was a celebrity in his own right. He didn’t need to score points by wearing a Saville Row suit, bought with State money or a 75,000$ wristwatch or stay at 5-star hotels to prove his worth. Leaders lead by example. And this he did!

He refused to address ‘selected rich overseas Pakistanis’ and instead chose Washington’s large Capital One Arena where a crowd of 30,000 ordinary and the rich people turned up. Three years back the Indian PM had addressed around 15,000 Indians at Madison Square, New York whose population is almost three times.

The world media raved then. But on 21st July 2019 history was being rewritten. His name was Khan and he was proving to the world that terrorism is not a solution neither was War. Could one imagine that 2 billion people worldwide would watch a Pakistani head of State on foreign soil speak so candidly to his people?

It wasn’t a prepared speech, there were no notes. When a Brave, candid Heart speaks people will listen. Hypocrisy in speech is soon exposed. Trump was impressed. He too loves speaking to chanting crowds. The tone to the PM’s visit was set.

The next day a new chapter in US –Pak relationships were made. POTUS Donald Trump personally welcomed him at the doorsteps of the White House. My heart cringed; I had called it the meeting of Two Trumps. What would happen next could mar or make an already feisty relationship. With the world watching the proceedings nothing was hidden.

No, he didn’t blink. He didn’t fidget in his pockets for scraps of paper. Like the Alpha Male he looked straight in the eyes of his host. Their body chemistry was perfect. I now felt confident.

When the most powerful President said that America could win the war in Afghanistan within a day, Khan read out lessons from history. “There are no winners in any War”, he reminded Trump. From then on wards it became obvious that Trump was actually listening to him.

In recent years this same President had called some of the world’s top leaders names. By the end of the meeting, our PM was being hailed as a great leader who was also a great athlete! Trump, of course, is a lazy golfer. “Pakistanis are great people, very tough, very brave, yes, they are Brave people. I have some great Pakistani friends. I would love to visit Pakistan if you {The PM, invites me}”

This from Donald Trump was not just a tribute but an acknowledgment that he was talking to a leader fired by a frenzy to bring about Change. This was a tectonic shift in our relationship.

The Lone Wolf had accomplished what perhaps previous leaders could not. When the Pure of the heart take it upon themselves to defy the Old Order to come high or low, even the Elements above submit. The Land of Apaches and Sitting Bull had been charmed. The touch of healing had worked. He had not come with a wishlist or a basket to fill. All he asked for was Dignity, restoration of ties on the basis of Equality. He got more than that.

The next day he spoke to several Think Tanks; he was asked for more public engagements. Americans were charmed by his charisma, by his purity of heart, his straight Talk, his candid confessions about the American Wars, his own country’s mistakes. He had walked the Lonely Long-distance runner’s Walk but now the winning post beckoned him.

The clamor of howling wolves back home did not deter him. Why were the Americans listening to him now when just a few years back he was their bête noire?

Because now they were convinced of the sincerity of his Purpose. His message of ridding a poor Asian country of corruption was resonating with the Americans who have always stood by Celebrities with a cause. From across the political Divide, the speaker of the House of Congress, Nancy Pelosi thanked him for spreading the message of Peace. Yes, The Taliban Khan of yesterday was now The Apostle of Peace. The man who had lectured the Americans for three days and was avidly heard in every corridor of power. What more could I have asked for my country?

# Apaches and Sitting Bull were the original Natives of America.

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