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Pakistani-Americans On Imran Khan

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

As we heard, Imran Khan's role in Pakistan's culture and politics is outsized. It's so big that many Pakistani-Americans here in the U.S. have been following Khan's election.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Foreign language spoken).

MONTAGNE: We stopped by a local mosque in Alexandria, Va., after Friday prayer, where people were optimistic about Khan's victory.

SHAHINA NASSAR: To be honest, I was really paying attention to this election because I think the country has come to the verge of disaster.

MONTAGNE: Shahina Nassar is a first-generation Pakistani-American who came to the U.S. in 1983 and works in international development.

NASSAR: I heard him. He's talking about regional development. I heard him. He's talking about relationships with different countries. And he knows what external forces are important for the development of the country.

FARHAN CHUGTHAI: It means a lot. You know, my dad always speaks to me about the love he has for that country, which is the same love I have for this country.

MONTAGNE: For Farhan Chugthai, a second-generation Pakistani-American, Khan is reminiscent of another politician with star appeal who's closer to home. He wore a T-shirt with this slogan on the front - yes, we Khan.

CHUGTHAI: You know, Obama came in with a lot of, you know, positive views of wanting to change. And over the last, you know, three, four decades, Pakistan has had people that hasn't been able to enact change. They were just very corrupt. And I think Imran Khan will pave a path for, you know, Pakistan to be more, you know, educated to help out.

MONTAGNE: And refreshing is how Moneeba Ahmed described this political moment. She's another second generation Pakistani-American. Ahmed says with Imran Khan's victory, he has a lot to prove.

MONEEBA AHMED: There was a wave in Pakistan that was so pro-Imran Khan. And now that he's elected, it's pretty amazing to see. I think to the skeptics, you know, keep monitoring those changes. That's what we need the public for. And if he's not fit, he's not fit.

MONTAGNE: Voices of Pakistani-Americans on the man poised to be prime minister of Pakistan.

(SOUNDBITE OF RRAREBEAR'S "DISCOVERY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.