On March 25, 1992 when Rameez Raja took the catch of Richard Illingworth off the bowling of skipper Imran Khan, Pakistan won the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Almost 21 years later, the former skipper created similar waves of unity in 2013. However, now it was politics where the 60-year old philanthropist was bringing the nation together. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had its humble beginnings in 1996; the party remained unnoticed in front of the heavyweights with the likes of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). Throughout these years, although the PTI could not garner much support, nevertheless, Khan’s consistency in his stance and ideology during his 17-year political struggle proved to be his greatest weapon. When his opponents were mocking Khan’s political acumen, his popularity skyrocketed following his successful rally at the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore on October 30, 2011. It was obvious that his party would not be a wildcard entry in this year’s elections. During 2012, the PTI and Khan gathered unprecedented support from educated Pakistanis across the world. Khan’s strategy to address the youth was the deciding factor that brought the voters out of their comfort zones as they made their way to the polling stations on May 11. When pledges of distributing laptops and safeguarding the legacy of dynastic politics were reverberating in the air, Khan opted for a simple route. Instead of making castles in the air, he promised the youth to bring change. Moreover, making the utmost use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs was the reason why the youth of Pakistan heard and understood Khan’s message. In actuality, Khan emerged as a better option because people, and specially the millions of first-time voters, were desperately seeking change, a change from family dynastic politics, change for a better future, and to see well-educated people rising up in the power echelons. As the election campaigns entered their climax a day before May 9, all major political parties were holding rallies and mass gatherings across Pakistan to lure their supporters to vote for them on the Election Day. Political leaders made promises and vowed to give the people what they want. However, Imran Khan’s approach remained different altogether. People know and regard him as a national hero, a status which none of his opponents enjoy. For Khan, his curriculum vitae shines with the 1992 Cricket World Cup win, setting up the Shaukat Khanum hospital, and the Namal College. Where cricket unites the nation on any given day, his philanthropy efforts surely adorn his existence by the prayers of those who get treatment at the Shaukat Khanum hospital, and his mission to spread education augmented his credibility among those who seek quality but affordable education. On May 7, 2013 Khan met with an unfortunate accident when, by a human error, he plummeted 14 feet. With blood gushing out of his head and television footage appearing on all news channels and spreading over social media, the enthusiasm of the upcoming elections subsided as everyone, ignoring political and ideological differences, paid their respects to Khan and prayed for his speedy recovery. It was as if at that moment the Pakistani nation had truly woken up from its deep slumber. Recently, Khan has emerged as more of a visionary than a leader. His addresses and speeches have vigour and a promise that have the potential of materialising into reality. Khan emerged as a beacon of light and brought together Pakistanis on one platform when the nation could not bear to see politicians tear up the very existence of democracy. When politicians thought that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was just a fluke, the rally at D-Chowk, Islamabad on May 9, 2013 proved much more than a rally. It even overshadowed the mass sit-in orchestrated by the cleric from Canada in January. Anchorperson of GEO News Saleem Safi posted on Twitter: “Just got updates by GEO reporters: More than 500,000 #PTI supporters are present at D-Chowk right now.” Pakistanis decided the fate of their country on May 11. Although the PTI will not form the government, one thing is certain that the people have spoken. Securing a decent number of seats in the National Assembly, Khan has written history. He envisioned change, united the people, did create a tsunami, and his rallies did echo a fact that people do need a change. During the latter parts of the election campaigns leading up to the Election Day, people in general were of the opinion that win or lose, Imran Khan has changed the game. He brought hope and optimism back into Pakistan’s politics at a time when its citizens needed it the most. The writer is a regular columnist for various English dailies and writes on regional issues.