- Fingers crossed
Renowned political scientist and philosopher Plato said, “The state is what it is because its citizens are what they are. We need not expect to have better states until we have better men”. His observations represent eternal truth about matters pertaining to governance of states and how the states and societies inhabiting within the boundaries of the states are transformed into better entities. The view propounded by him is also compatible with the divine way of changing the course of societies and reforming them. God sent one hundred twenty four thousand prophets in different societies at different times of human history to reform those societies. The bottom line is that the societies and states tend to remain complacent and bereft of the desire to change for the better and they need leaders (better men) to infuse in them the spirit that jolts them out of their slumber.
Leaders are the men imbued with vision, drive and commitment to transform the political landscape of countries and putting them on the right path to achieve the national and social objectives. Leaders are thus the men who perform the task of course-correcting through their infectious vision which endears them well to the people who associate themselves with that vision as their own cause.
It is said that there are two kinds of leaders, those who create history and those who are catapulted to that position by historic circumstances. History is replete with examples of both kinds of leaders changing the fate of their respective nations through their vision, unflinching resolve and determination to rectify the maladies afflicting the state structure and the society. History also bears testimony to people with unenviable and slanderous past being transformed into great rulers and reformists through a process of metamorphosis as a result of the vision and message of the leaders. Great Muslim Caliph Umar is a classic example of this phenomenon. Quaid-i-Azam was a leader whose vision and leadership turned the impossible into a reality we call Pakistan.
Unfortunately Pakistan failed to tread the path envisioned by its founding father. The crisis and the quagmire that it is stuck into at the moment is a consequence of the criminal indifference of the successive rulers to change the archaic colonial system of governance (which encourages a culture of graft and entitlement) and replace it with a people friendly system of governance envisioned and bequeathed by the great Quaid. The political landscape has been marred by unrelenting efforts by the elite and governing classes to build their own fortunes through corruption and misuse of their power, instead of delivering to the masses who are the real sovereigns of the country.
It is indeed a tightrope walk for Imran. However it is encouraging to note that things look quite satisfactory
That scenario is poised to change. The people have found a leader to change all that in the person of Imran Khan. His success in 2018 general elections owes it to his focus on ending the culture of corruption, accountability of the elements who have been taking this nation for a ride and his commitment to change the corrupt and exploitative system. That has also become the inner voice of the people who were extremely wary of the system of governance that they had to endure during the last seventy years.
Many intellectuals, political analysts and commentators including myself have been highly critical of the brand of politics practiced by Imran Khan. But as believer in democracy and people being the final arbiters, I tend to go along with the verdict of the people and would like Imran to succeed so that the people are vindicated in making the decision that they have made. The issues identified by him undoubtedly are really the factors that have hindered the progress of the nation and kept the people deprived of their legitimate rights and obstructed the prevalence of rule of law in the country.
Here is a man who intends to change or at least professes to change all the bad ways of governance, eliminating corruption and transforming Pakistan into a Medina like state. Unlike his cynical detractors and critics who relish in portraying his play boy image and dearth of leadership qualities in him, I do believe in his metamorphosis as a better man than in his past and a leader in his own right who deserves the chance and full backing of the people, who want Pakistan to change course for the better, to deliver on his promises.
Imran Khan has taken upon himself a very onerous responsibility which will test his qualities of leadership and his ability to deliver on his promises will determine his political future. Governing a country like Pakistan is an arduous and challenging task particularly when a leader has to take on all the well-entrenched vested interests and usher in a new system. Those forces are surely going to obstruct his path and many of Imran’s own companions belong to those interests. There are other centers of power which have their own axe to grind and would like to retain their position of ascendency in determining which course the county takes. Prime Minister Imran Khan is lucky that he enjoys the full backing of the establishment and in his own words there is no issue of civil-military imbalance. That will give him a head start in dealing with the issues confronting the country unruffled by threats to his position as prime minister.
There are also very ticklish challenges in the domain of security and foreign policy. It is indeed a tightrope walk for Imran. However it is encouraging to note that things look quite satisfactory in the domain of foreign relations. The US secretary of state has just visited Pakistan and seemingly there is a commitment on both sides to reset their relations which should be taken as a positive development. The Chinese foreign minister has come on two-day visit and reiterated the resolve of the Chinese government to take the relations between the two countries to a new level and continuing to assist Pakistan in its socio-economic development.
In regards to fixing the maladies afflicting the political and economic landscape of the country, the PTI government has shown a sense of urgency commensurate with its commitments and a number of committees and task forces have been formed to deal with those issues. They are tasked to come up with credible policies and strategies to fix them. Nevertheless there is a danger that hastily taken steps can sometimes have a boomerang effect, like Mian Atif issue and the resignation of other members in protest against the government’s move. It has not only raised anxiety among Imran’s own supporter and believers in the rights of minorities in the country but has also sent very wrong signals to the outside world as far as the image if the country as a liberal Islamic entity is concerned. People have given Imran a mandate for five years. He must take all steps with utmost caution and after thorough deliberation. Though people have high hopes and expect miracles but they would still be willing to give him time to redeem his pledges.