My journey with PTI chairman Imran Khan perhaps started when I witnessed his win in Mianwali in 2002. The results were coming in from all across the Constituency, I was 14 years old then. He won by a margin of around 5000 votes. Although it was one seat, it still felt like we had won a majority in the National Assembly (NA). Next day when I woke up, I realised this win was just a drop in the ocean. Back then I had just heard the famous Urdu quote “katra katra kar kay darya behta hai” But my understanding and belief in that quote were about change over the years. During my school days, I had a sticker of our chairman on my Aitchison notebook. My class fellows whose parents were mostly aligned with either PPP or PML-Q (the new name of PML-N under Musharraf) would taunt me with phrases like tonga party. It took me a while to realise what this meant. Activism came naturally to me and I would participate in rallies in Lahore related to Palestine, Kashmir and other issues which close to my heart. It was 2004 or 2005 when I decided to participate in a PTI rally which was being led by Imran Khan. We were meant to go to Nasir Bagh. The rally departed from the PTI office at Zafar Ali Road. Khan seemed unstoppable now. Even his opponents now regarded with him more respect. However, the 2013 election results shattered our hopes Now that the Tonga party slur didn’t work, the PTI was termed a “one man show”. Filthy allegations of all kinds against Imran Khan started coming in, from corruption to sexual harassment We were 20 cars at most. When we reached Nasir Bagh on the lower Mall, before we could even get out of our cars, the police had surrounded Khan’s car. All 50 of us were loaded into Shezor pick-up trucks by the police and taken to the Civil Lines Thana where we were kept in lock-up for a few hours. It was then that I first felt change in the air. My journey with Mr Khan continued. The next memorable day for me was November 14, 2007 when Khan was arrested from Punjab University. We failed to help our leader escape, but his arrest charged us up even more. I had the honour of working with Kaptaan as a founder of Insaf Students Federation. I still remember that day when we had arranged for a leadership talk by him in a college in Gulberg. It was 10 AM when I found that the talk had somehow slipped his mind and he was doing his daily work-out. When he was reminded, I don’t know how but he managed to be in Lahore by 1 PM and gave the talk (by getting a seat in the next flight and ditching his exercise). Youngsters were always his main priority. This is what led to the momentum that resulted in the historic jalsa at Minar-e-Pakistan on October 30, 2011. Khan seemed unstoppable now. Even his opponents now regarded with him more respect. However, the 2013 election results shattered our hopes. To make things worse, our leader was also bedridden because of a stage malfunction at a rally. But our Kaptaan recovered like a superman and soon he was back and leading us in protests against the rigging that had taken place. Now that the Tonga party slur didn’t work, the PTI was termed a “one man show”. Filthy allegations of all kinds against Imran Khan started coming in, from corruption to sexual harassment. But the ferocious cornered tiger we were told about when we were kids was on the pitch again. But the toss was done by the two big parties when they selected their own Chief Election Commissioner. They did not even wish for him play the match, but he got his game and became a winner. It is still hard to comprehend a Parliament without the professional con-men who have bled this country dry for decades. But I am certain that our leader can deliver real change. The writer is a Human Rights lawyer and practices Criminal law in Lahore. He can be contacted at Hkniazi@hotmail.com Published in Daily Times, August 18th 2018.