THE man charged with helping propel Imran Khan to power by turning his charismatic rhetoric into copper-bottomed policies is the son of a Glasgow grocer.
Azeem Ibrahim was appointed strategic policy adviser last year, one of a number of lieutenants taken on amid criticism that Khan’s lofty idealism did not stand up to scrutiny.
Ibrahim, who was raised in a council house after his parents arrived in Glasgow from Pakistan in the 1960s, has worked at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and recently lived in Chicago.
His biggest contribution to Khan’s campaign so far is a report published in January setting out the sort of legal framework needed to tackle corruption, the central plank of the former cricketer’s manifesto. It includes protection for whistleblowers and the mandatory disclosure of assets by elected politicians.
“Corruption in Pakistan is extremely widespread and the country’s immense resources are being squandered,” Ibrahim said. “I believe Mr Khan can turn things around very quickly and it will be my job to create policies that can be put into place immediately.”
His presence in the party is sensitive, however, leaving Khan open to accusations that he is overly reliant on foreigners. It is a touchy subject in Pakistan where dozens of dual nationals have been disqualified from office.
“Azeem is not involved directly because he’s based overseas,” Khan told Scotland on Sunday. “The real fight is here in Pakistan.”