In May 2012, OR Media filmed Imran Khan on the campaign trail as he fought to position himself as Pakistan’s next prime minister. Back then he told us: ‘I think we’ll sweep the elections’. (See ‘Imran Khan: Next Man In?’.)
A year later, we return to Pakistan to join the former cricketing superstar during the run-up to the 2013 general elections. We follow Imran and his party, the PTI, as they tour the key state of Punjab. Ever bigger rallies seem to show that his much-vaunted tsunami of popular support may yet translate into victory at the polls. But it won’t be easy, and the gloves are off between Imran and his rival Nawaz Sharif, leader of the PML-N party. Sharif and his team make much of Imran’s lack of governing experience, contrasting it with their own two previous terms in office.
Four days before the election, the campaign climaxes in the Punjabi capital Lahore, where Imran faces a marathon of eight rallies in one night. But at the first one, while being hoisted to the stage on a forklift, he falls and is badly injured. Suddenly everything has changed. It now falls to Faisal Javed Khan, the PTI’s young rally compere, to take over the campaign roadshow. Imran manages to address the final party rally in Islamabad by video link from his hospital bed. And while he may not now become prime minister, as the election results go on to show, the PTI is far from out of the game.
25 mins, Al Jazeera English, 2013
Filmed and directed by