Imran Khan started talking cricket with him, but Bazid Khan hardly had any time for that. After the Eid namaz, the young kid wanted to be with his cousins. His uncle, though, was insistent.
It was 1993 and only a year previously Imran had led Pakistan to a World Cup triumph. The Eid namaz used to be an annual ritual at the Khan’s Zaman Park’s family residence in Lahore. As Bazid recalled, Imran always felt relaxed, when he was with his extended family – his elder cousins.
“He (Imran) came. Offered the namaz and then he started talking cricket – tum yeh shot khelte ho, woh shot khelte ho (you play this shot, that shot…). I was about 11 years old and barely started playing the game in school. All my cousins were there (at the Eid prayer) and I desperately wanted to be with them. Now, my uncle was getting into the technical aspects of the game. I just stuck to haan ji (yes sir) to cut short the conversation,” Bazid sheepishly breaks into a smile.
At 37 years of age, he now sees the funny side of it. But Bazid who? He is a former cricketer-turned-commentator, who played one Test and five ODIs for Pakistan. He was dropped from the side after scoring a half-century against Bangladesh but that’s inconsequential in the present context. Bazid’s father is former Pakistan opening great Majid Khan. His grandfather Jahangir played for India before 1947. Imran and Javed Burki, another ex-Pakistan captain, are his uncles.
Bazid recounts how Imran’s family members had been a tad uncertain when he decided to join politics. They wanted him to stick to social work rather. Imran had already set an example by setting up the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, in memory of his mother. Politics was considered to be risky business.
“I was too young then to understand how big he was. But I still remember what he said, as he decided to float his political party. ‘Hopelessness and despondency is a sin. Pakistan has a lot of potential which has never been explored,’ he said. He was determined for a course correction. I have never seen a person like him in my life; with such positivity and the courage of convictions.”
Four years ago, Imran fell of a lifter, while climbing up the stage for a Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) election rally in Lahore. He sustained serious head and back injuries. “I still remember the anger I saw in our family that day. I think that was the only time, when our family rued his decision to join politics. It came out of fear. For those two hours, when we were not getting any updates, the uncertainties had been palpable. Everybody had been questioning how could his security be so lax?” Bazid says.
Now, joy has replaced uncertainties, with Imran becoming the country’s Prime Minister. Bazid credits the ascent to the sacrifices his uncle made. A family get-together is due.