Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has been declared as Muslim Man of the Year 2020 by Jordan’s Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISSC). Imran won the title in the recent list of the most persuasive Muslims in the world issued by the Centre.
The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISSC) is an autonomous research organization in Jordan. It is affiliated with the Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought. It aims to protect, preserve and propagate Islam as defined by the international Islamic Consensus on the Three Points of the Amman Message arrived at over the years 2005-2006. It also aims to publicize the religious and legal positions of Islam on key issues relevant to life in the modern world.
Here is Why RISSC Declared Prime Minister Imran Khan as The Muslim Man of the Year 2020.
In an annual declaration of “The Muslim 500, The world’s 500 most influential Muslims” by Professor S Abdallah Schleifer
Professor Emeritus of Journalism
The American University in Cairo, PM Imran Khan was declared as the Muslim man of the year 2020.
“If The Muslim 500 was in print back in 1992 and I was then Chief Editor I would have nominated Imran Khan as our Muslim Man of the Year because of his brilliant performance in cricket, which culminated in Pakistan winning the 1992 Cricket World Cup—a sport I have always admired for its combination of elegance and intense competitive play.
I also was touched when Khan launched a successful fund raising campaign to establish a hospital devoted to both the care of victims of cancer as well as research. This was his magnificent response to the loss of his mother to cancer in 1985 and given Khan’s extraordinary popularity with Pakistanis both at home as well as among the large number of Pakistani expats along with his own, no doubt, generous personal contribution—he raised sufficient funds so that by 1994 the Shaoukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital opened its doors in Lahore. 75 percent of its patients receive free-care.
Khan became Prime Minister of Pakistan in 2018 after 22 years devoted to building an opposition political party committed to reform; confronting Pakistan’s civilian political establishment over the issue of embedded corruption and mismanagement. This and his other accomplishments are detailed in the biography that accompanies his ranking (Number 16) in this, the latest edition of The Muslim 500. But what is particularly to his credit is that upon taking office in August 2018 Khan made it quite clear that one of his top priorities was to work for a lasting peace with India.
He wanted to normalize relations through trade, and settling the Kashmir dispute, “the foremost impediment” in the Prime Minister’s own words “to the normalization of relations between us.” Both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. And with the three past examples of conventional armed conflict in mind the Prime Minster had to be more conscious than anyone in Pakistan that in face of India’s great depth in land, population and the size of its armed forces, conventional warfare was a route that would lead to disaster for Pakistan.
In his first television broadcast as Prime Minister, Khan addressed not just the people of Pakistan and the world, but in particular India—Khan declared that Pakistan wanted a lasting peace with India and “if it took one step forward, we would take two steps.” Khan didn’t wait for that one step. A meeting between the Pakistani and Indian Foreign Ministers was arranged on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September 2018 but India cancelled the meeting. That September, Khan also wrote the first of his three letters to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling for dialogue and lasting peace. Modi did not respond. Khan says that while all his efforts to start a dialogue were rebuffed by India, he and his cabinet assumed that Modi’s increasingly hard-lined positions and his rhetoric against Pakistan were aimed at whipping up a nationalist frenzy among the Indian voters with an eye to the Indian elections.
Khan writes that after Modi’s re-election in June he congratulated him and expressed his hope that they could work together for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia. One month later, Khan repeated his hopes in still another letter to Modi. Again Modi, as in all previous cases, chose not to respond.
Of course, there is a certain and perhaps necessary apparent naiveté to Imran’s Khan’s efforts for a lasting peace as demonstrated in India’s openly aggressive behaviour in August 2019, imposing a military curfew in the Indian-occupied portion of Kashmir, and the arrest of thousands of Kashmiris in Occupied Kashmir and in India.
As Imran Khan knows, this is not the India those of us old enough to remember and think of when we read or hear the name “India”—the India of Mahatma Gandhi, the Congress Party as led by Nehru, or the Gandhi family and their partisans. India’s present Prime Minister and his own ruling party which ended Congress rule were shaped by the Hindu Supremacist movement—Rashtriya, Sawayamseval Sangh (the RSS)—Modi and several of his ministers remain members of this movement which can be described as a form of Hindu religious fascism. Modi is particularly reverent about one of the leading founders of the R.S.S. who wrote: “To keep up the purity of the race and the culture, (Hitler’s) Germany shocked the world by purging the country of the Semitic Races—the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifest here…a good lesson for us in Hindustan for us to learn and profit by.”
So, this is Imran Khan’s great dilemma—how do you make a much desired lasting peace with a nation governed by those who have neither interest nor need to make a lasting peace with Pakistan, and against whom any form of war would be hopeless. The answer it would seem that Khan’s efforts must now focus on mobilizing global opinion, to turn a R.S.S.- led India a global pariah. With his impressive column in the New York Times and the sudden burst of public activity by some of Khan’s touring ministers and ambassadors in America, Europe and perhaps in Asia, that appears to be now underway.”
Jordan’s Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre has declared American Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib as the year’s Muslim 500 Woman of the Year.