By Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.
Towards Understanding the Current Affairs
Prime Minister Imran Khan impressed the constituents to imagine the phenomenon of “change” as a driving force for future-making. Was the political power a motivating factor to influence the curious minds of the masses or was it an exercise in self-propagated approach to gain success at a critical juncture of Pakistan’s contemporary history? For too long Pakistanis experienced the nuisance of corrupt politics. Reality has its checks and balances based on the consequences. PM Khan is no stranger to the much charged and corrupt culture of politics. Pakistan had witnessed many critical moments of historical developments in its search for identity, unity and future-making. Often dismayed and unimpressed are the people of young and educated generation who find no place to participate in the movement and struggle for change and reformation of the decades old corrupted and degenerated system of obsolete systems of political governance. At a time, Imran Khan – a comparatively young, reasonable and open-minded politician enticed the young generation to be hopeful for change but it is questionable if there is rational substance to be optimistic about “rebuilding” the nation. In an age of reason, it is important to know and determine where Pakistan is and how to go forward with a planned Action Plan. Imran Khan having a moral and intellectual outlook as head of a progressive political organization should have imagined and prepared a Proactive Plan for New Thinking and a Plan for Action once he assumed the office. To learn from the tragic tensions of history, all of the previous self-styled leaders including the unwelcomed four General of coups and their byproducts – Bhuttos, Sharfis, Zardari and Musharaf were all dead-ended entries to the essence and freedom movement of Pakistan. They stole billions and billions from the national treasury and stabbed the nation. Could Mr. Khan realize what went wrong and how they consumed precious time and resources of the nation and derailed its prospects for future-making as a viable democratic nation in Southwest Asia? If Pakistan had a continuous culture of political change and educated and learning leadership, the country should not be interdependent on foreign aid and a subservient to the US or Western political interests. There appears to be conflicting time zones and culture of thinking between the masses and the ruling elite confined to comfortable quarters of Islamabad. Leaders come and go but nothing changes on the ground for the public good. The endless self-repeating delusions flow for even more the same at this juncture. PM Khan is either not connected to the dots or he is surrounded by the same set of individualistic absolutism prevalent at the beginning but most often is ridiculed as it progresses and ends-up in disastrous consequences for the nation. Words and statements alone do not change an unproductive culture of political nuisance. There is nothing new on the ground to substantiate any new visionary approach to rebuild the nation. Those who are part of the problem cannot be part of the solution. Mr. Khan should analyze critically what is operational and what is dysfunction within the compound of central government. He should be open to voices of reason and enlightenment. There seems to be too much centralized boxed functions in Islamabad and not much decentralized presence of the federal governance at major provincial centers of activities. This should be reorganized to serve the interest of the masses and proved services across many divergent zones. Pakistan desperately needs new and young educated and honest people to embrace the challenges of the present and future-making. Pakistanis living abroad are the asset to be counted to enhance the planned cause of political reformation and nation-building.
Know Yourself in Time and Challenges, Your Strength and Weaknesses
Great spoken symbols do not require immeasurable importance. All egoistic politicians assert such slogans to maintain irrational balance between the reality consequential developments. At this stage, the nation is receptive to see how and what Imran Khan could deliver to change the engrossed misfortunes of the nation. All responsible leaders defy the urge to make flamboyant expressions of political ambitions which negate realism and national interest. To a visionary and effective leader, it is incumbent to know your strengths and weaknesses and the people around your immediate circle. If you have a vision of the future, explain it and connect it to the known aspirations of the masses that were denied the rightful thought and place in the past. If imperatives of change and reformation for nation-rebuilding were of utmost vitality, should Mr. Khan not enlist the educated people of knowledge, wisdom and global experience to plan the political change and enhance the priorities of “nation-rebuilding” as part of an Action Plan? Pakistani nation has a delicate echo-system of social, moral, political and intellectual diversities and sensitivities. Those dealing with the phenomenon of change, must know and understand how to acquire an inner understanding of such distinctions and inequalities to bridge the unity of nation. Reason has many enemies if Pakistani political culture is closed but reasoned discussion could lead to rebuild the trust across many divides. If Imran Khan thought that his symbolic opinions will bear fruit without any efforts, it would be unthinkable to imagine a destiny out of inaccessible communication to the masses. Destiny is always new and young, not obsolete or incapacitated. Mr. Khan should motivate the official circles with sense of responsibility, services and honest role model. If the leadership statements are unexcitable shadows of illusion without truth and strength, the new leadership will go nowhere except consuming time and precious energies as it happened before for almost 50 years. Pakistan is a victim of failed and disgraced leadership.
Collective Focused Mind is More Powerful than Individualistic Agenda
To reshape and rebuild the destiny of deprived masses, Mr. Khan should articulate a focused approach to deal with some of the urgent issues. The issue of fair and equal services to the people, legal justice, security of the country, unity of diverse provincial cultures and integration, reformed systems of political governance, sustainable economic and technological productivity, educational system and health services could be prioritized for the first year of the Development Plan, if there is such an official instrument at this time. Mr. Khan wanted to hold the corrupt political accountable for their criminal atrocities and stolen wealth. He must set up a high power legal body with competent judges to hold the trials and punish the political thugs and criminals. How come Zardari, Sharif and Musharaf are roaming around freely?
None of them were alone but had hundreds and thousands of culprits to rob the nation. If the intent and resolve is clear, what are they waiting for to prosecute the indicted criminals? This must be done in few months, not a year if all concerned are honest and true to their commitments. Pakistan should not be held hostage for change by the criminals. If the stolen wealth is returned to the national treasury, Pakistan will not ask the IMF or Saudis for new loans. Does Imran Khan have any compassion for the indicted criminals? This must assume a priority for action.
Towards Change and National Unity for Future-building
The focal issue appears to be –how to change a dreadful and unproductive political culture into a promising future? It requires ingenuity, vision and workable plan to ensure positive outcomes for the best of people. To awaken the consciousness of political accountability, PM Khan would need to move fast based on well chalked out plan for change and reformation of the political systems. Time is critical and offers a historic opportunity to all concerned. Defying cynicism and hoping to be optimistic, Mr. Khan and his colleagues better do a soul searching as to where they are and how to move forward? Otherwise, they cannot go from nowhere to nowhere. It is a cumbersome challenge but must be encountered otherwise, time and opportunities will be lost with disastrous consequences for the present and future generations of Pakistanis.
The new Pakistani administration must detach itself from the delusional glimmers of American policies and practices in Afghanistan and the region. American drone attacks on Northwest Pakistan and its entanglement in Afghanistan must end on its own record of failure. America is a big game player in Pakistan and its security apparatus. The aid gimmick has kept Pakistan interdependent on the policy making of the US administration and a nation being viewed more liability than an asset to the American geo-political interests in that region. All that can go wrong have gone wrong with the system of Pakistani political governance. Any realistic observer taking dispassionate survey of the current picture of Pakistan would agree that time and essence of history call for planned change to produce a sustainable and productive culture of new thinking and actions for the security and future-making of a new Pakistan.
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in international affairs-global security, peace and conflict resolution and international affairs with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution: Approaches to Understand the Current Issues and Future-Making. Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, October 2017.