By Syed Mohammad Wajih Zafar
Pakistanis have longed for a country free of crime and corruption. They have been gripped in the plague of evil and malpractices that have been made ever so common by the mafias and ruling elite for too long. Perhaps the Pakistani generations Y and Z have never breathed in corruption-free air. They are aloof to Pakistan envisioned by our Great Jinnah. For too long have these mafias plundered and looted all state institutions, so much so that the newer generation thinks it’s normal. A very apt case in point here would be the infamous dialogue used commonly by defenders of corruption of past governments; “khata hai par lagata bhi to hai”. The admittance of corruption is appalling. The masses have been fooled. They have been drugged into a political delusion by reminiscing of leaders of the past in false hope of future progress. The naïve folk on this politically misguided bandwagon chant that their leaders are still alive. This can be best compared to the “Pied Piper of Hamelin”. A German folk tale where rats were led to drowning in a river simply because they liked what they heard.
Imran Khan, on the other hand, is nothing like his predecessors. There is no false hope. There is no political delusion. There is no spell cast on the masses. What distinguishes this man from the rest is his vision. With a view as clear as a polished crystal, Khan is steering a ship previously headed in the heart of the disaster. In his mission to steer that ship away from the mess, he plans to rid the country of corruption and introduce accountability like never before. This has indeed created panic and fear in the enemy’s camps. It has caused some to flee the country. Others have forged and fabricated their financial records while a few have bought time under the pretext of depreciating health. One must understand that to introduce accountability one must hold themselves accountable as an example which is why Khan was very vocal about beginning the “ehtisaab” process with himself. This is a testament to Khan’s unshakeable courage and solid character.
Next comes his consistency of view and mission. A few truthful ones before him might have had the same strategy. They might have had the same intention. But Khan’s perseverance level remained unmatched to theirs; miles above. There are tens of thousands of examples of people in positions of power in history that had the right vision but gave up too soon because of obstacles and challenges that came their way. They succumbed to pressure. They gave in to unfavorable positions they were put in by their enemies. Some may have sold themselves to bribe. Some might have taken back their words in fear of losing their vote banks. For Khan, none mattered. He decided to take the turbulent path. A rocky road but one that surely leads to beautiful heaven. Truth is what matters and it is evident from his actions and statements that he is not one to back down. Had there been any lack of clarity in vision, PTI and Imran Khan would have shown it in the last 2 years as this is ample time to expose frailty. However, with his steadfastness, we are reminded time and time again of his unwavering resolve. This resolve of his which we talk about so casually has been put to test many times. It has not been a smooth ride so far and it doesn’t seem like it will get comfortable for Khan anytime soon.
A prime example of Khan’s oneness in vision are his successful Covid-19 countering policies. How he attained equilibrium between economic upkeep whilst fighting Coronavirus is an art. It was/is a balancing act, again a quality only possessed by a leader. During a pandemic, all economies go into turmoil. This is not just true for Pakistan but the world over. Knowing the back-up treasury does not provide much cushion to revive economic conditions, Khan knew from the start that he had to walk a very narrow path and not deviate. Initially, he was accused of his reluctance on total lockdown. Opposition and anti-government voices blamed him for not caring much about the loss of life. Later he was accused by the same of steering the nation in an economic crisis. But Khan didn’t let these baseless sweeping statements become hindrances in the plan he had chalked out in the beginning. Today, Coronavirus tallies are reducing whereas businesses are opening. The critics, however, are quiet. Probably, or dare I say, hopefully out of sheer embarrassment.
The opposition he faces is one that will go any length to defame him. Whenever they run out of things to say about him, they resort to his team. They misconstrue facts and present them in a way which appeals to those against him only. The opposition has on many occasions unified and tried to take him down with all sorts of allegations. Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the year 2019 had locked down Islamabad as a protest demanding Khan’s resignation. Though he took initiative, he was later joined by other opposition party leaders albeit their participation was more ceremonial. This was/is also termed as the Pakistani Opposition’s Long March Against Imran Khan’s Government. Despite the march, Khan did not budge in his stance and lived up to his repute. Experts say that the opposition decided to unify as more and more politicians came under Khan’s accountability microscope. They had never shown oneness of this sort throughout recent history as there was never any accountability pressure of this scale. As a result of Khan’s firm stance on the issue, currently, all key leaders of the country’s mainstream political parties have either been imprisoned or are facing corruption charges. Khan’s vision lies in eliminating all evil once and for all in order for any progress to take place in the coming years.
We have longed for 7 decades for a leader like Khan. Education is one of Khan’s core values, however, it is what an average Pakistani has been deprived of for decades. This has resulted in them not understanding that in order to progress, all previous wrongs must be undone. Next, we must understand that putting an end to corrupt practices that have totaled Pakistan consistently through the years, is a hard-fought battle. It requires patience and perseverance only found in a leader. Despite the hurls, the abuses, the false allegations, one needs to not lose sight of the eventual goal which is a peaceful and prosperous corruption-free Pakistan which as stated earlier, our younger generation has yet to experience. Let’s give them that privilege.
The writer is a political analyst and can be reached at [email protected]