The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Imran's agenda now has different flavour
- Pakistan's World Cup-winning captain upstages Shoaib who arrives in Mumbai on the same flight

Mumbai: Jeans, not the Pathan suit, and dangling spectacles ('reading glasses only, please') ... This change notwithstanding, nobody missed Imran Khan's arrival at Sahar Airport on Wednesday.

Be it passengers who hadn't noticed him on the aircraft or customs and security personnel, everybody headed towards Pakistan's World Cup-winning captain once he cleared immigration and was looking for the exit.

Upstaged, incidentally, was Shoaib Akhtar, who too came on a PIA flight from Karachi. The tearaway, though, didn't mind and almost reverentially told The Telegraph: 'Imranbhai cheez hi alag hain...'

Imran, who leaves for New Delhi on Thursday, is here as a guest of the Godrejs and a priority is meeting cine idol Aamir Khan to finalise promotional work for the Karachi unit of the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital.

Speaking exclusively, Imran said: 'A decade ago, Rekha and Vinod Khanna launched the Shaukat Khanum in Lahore... This time, I've requested Aamir to do the same in Karachi... He has already agreed in principle.'

Imran, a Member of the National Assembly for the last two years, indicated his party (Tehrik-e-Insaaf) would begin a 'mass movement' against the Establishment once the Shaukat Khanum's Karachi unit was launched.

'It's going to be big and, politically, Pakistan is headed for interesting times,' Imran remarked. By the way, he confirmed a recent revelation by General Pervez Musharraf that he may have become the Prime Minister.

'Yes, Musharraf did make that offer, a couple of years ago, but I chose not to join his coalition of the corrupt... Initially, I did feel Musharraf was the man Pakistan needed but, gradually, I realised he wasn't different from the other power-grabbers,' Imran pointed out.

Today, Imran is among Musharraf's fiercest critics. He is a George Bush-basher as well.

Imran, however, endorsed part of Musharraf's 'new package' on Kashmir. 'I agree the area must be demilitarised, but I doubt if India will ever agree to the other points... Yet, the process of dialogue should keep continuing... That's the way forward as war definitely isn't an option.'

According to Imran, the 'usual suspects' have been arrested for making him a target of robbery-at-gunpoint, just off Islamabad, last Friday. Laughing, he added: 'But, then, the culprits haven't been caught...'

The robbery could have turned nasty (and worse), but Imran has no plans to, at least, travel with guards.

'Actually, we were in a friend's LandCruiser and one of his guards was in the vehicle... I'm not sure if he was armed but, even if he was, I wouldn't have allowed him to shoot... Not when kids were amongst us...

'Come what may, I don't intend moving about with guards... I'd rather die than have my privacy affected,' he signed off before getting mobbed, outside the exit, by dozens waiting for near and dear ones.

Well, as always, Imran believes in destiny.


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