Is Shahid Afridi Being Groomed To Become The PM Of Pakistan?
Former cricket captain turned philanthropist and public figure Shahid Afridi has been ever more visible in the past few weeks.
For some commentators, his intensified public visibility is a prelude to entry into politics. They cite his cricketing persona and assertive nationalism as factors that would make him increasingly interesting to various power-centres in Pakistani politics – with a precedent in the form of the current Prime Minister Imran Khan.
If anything, this perspective holds, with PM Imran Khan’s project of political change now increasingly facing complications and difficulties, it may be just the right time for traditional power-centres to shift their hopes to a new conservative populist project in Pakistan.
He was recently seen visiting the site of the PIA Flight 8303 crash tragedy, alongside security personnel. Earlier, he had made a fiery denunciation of Indian policies in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Meanwhile, his many fans and supporters insist that his presence in the public spotlight is only natural given his stature in the imagination of a cricket-loving Pakistani public and his role as a philanthropist. They say that the scope of his philanthropy now stretches across Pakistan, and that he is no different from other public figures who are comfortable in the public spotlight to achieve their goals in serving the public.
They argue also that his visit to the site of a tragedy is no different from those by other political and public figures.
But as images of him praying by the road-side have circulated widely on social media, the debate around his public image has heated up. He has never shied away from political opinions, even though he has so far maintained that he has no interest in politics. Or does he?
In any case, when a journalist asked him what his plans would be if he were to be made prime minister of Pakistan for 10 days, during a ceremony held as part of his nation-wide campaign called “Taleem Ho Gi Aam, Her Beti Key Naam”, Afridi said that he would address the issues of unemployment and education.
Here are some of the many opinions and varied imagery around the popular cricketing hero, as he gains increasing visibility – on electronic and social media alike.
I don’t want to be the prime minister, Shahid Afridi tells @AdilShahzeb. Imran Khan — the cricketer — had similar views some 25 or 30 years ago. Today, he is Pakistan’s prime minister.pic.twitter.com/EUZN8vpXyN
— Roohan Ahmed (@Roohan2Ahmed) May 25, 2020
“We feed you for the sake of Allah alone: We seek neither recompense nor thanks from you.” [Surat al-Insan: 9]@SAFoundationN #DonateKaroNa Ration Drive distributed food supplies to the most needy on the streets of Karachi.
Ensuring #HopeNotOut for all during #Eid2020 pic.twitter.com/PU2EtDzGdT
— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) May 24, 2020
Shahid Afridi reaches the crash site. Lala, a real Pakistani with pain for Pakistanis. ?ﾟﾇﾰ pic.twitter.com/IqWM9Q7rOo
— Hamza Siddiqui (@HamzaSiddiquiPK) May 23, 2020
— TEAM AFRIDI (@TEAM_AFRIDI) May 22, 2020
Jab Sab So Called Celebrites Corona k Dar Se Apny Ghr Mein Chop kr Exercise or Cooking Tips Dy Rhy Thy Tab Asli Hero Dilo Ki Dharkan Sir Shahid Afridi ❤ Was Their For His Nation & Poor Peoples of His Country ?
Thank You Soo Much Lala @SAfridiOfficial Love You pic.twitter.com/xxP37qcWsT
— Talha Afridi (@FanOf_Afridi10) May 30, 2020
Mufti Muneeb: How many prayers did fawad Ch offer ?
Desi Liberal: Khuda na bano, Dilo k Haal Allah Janta hai
Shahid Afridi: offered Nimaz on Road side
Desi Librals: show off, Exhibition, Next PMship ki tayari, Handsome, blah blah#ScumCreature pic.twitter.com/veIdDpU9dB
— Kamal Khattak (@DrKamalPTI) May 24, 2020
I don’t have a photographer https://t.co/nXkv9EUoFi
— Shaykh Azhar Nasser (@ShaykhAzhar) May 23, 2020
Old Wine in New Bottle…
Then Imran Khan, Now Shahid Afridi…
Producers and Directors in Pakistan Army have found the new Lead Actor for their Drama Series called “Democratic Success Story of Pakistan” pic.twitter.com/It0DOOSluZ
— #SengeSering ས།ཚ། (@SengeHSering) May 29, 2020
People mocking Shahid Afridi right now have no shame. None. He runs a charity organization & he’s actually been doing a lot of relief work. Just because he posed with a few uniformed men, literally standing at a crash site, does not give you the license to mock this.
— Mahwash Ajaz (@mahwashajaz_) May 23, 2020
Mine is that I dont have a personal photographer who misses their prayers to photograph me. https://t.co/8FRXswreoq
— Shaheryar Mirza (@mirza9) May 24, 2020