True to his claim, the Chairman Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan held the mammoth rally on the grounds of Iqbal Park on Sunday, October 30, 2011. The sceptics had challenged him that it would be a feat, if he could collect 50,000 people. The estimates of the people who attended defy all claims. Ignoring the figures the organisers put forward, independent accounts put the numbers of participants at 200,000 to 400,000 people. While the opposing political pundits play down the figures, but one had to be there to believe it. The most striking feature of the rally was that it represented the silent majority, especially the youth on which the future of Pakistan depends. The message was loud and clear: The Khan has arrived. Whenever a Khan arrives on the political scene of Pakistan, the events move with accelerated speed. The last time, in Pakistans history, a Khan had emerged on the political scene with a bang in 1958 when the country was gearing for its first national elections under the new constitution. Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, hailing from the middle class background had led a 30-mile long procession of the masses demanding a change from the feudal-led governing elite. That procession shook the foundations of the system and the forces of status quo ran to the shelter of martial law and military dictatorship from which the nation has yet not recovered. How the forces of status quo will react in the present situation cannot be predicted. Imran Khan was generally taken by his opponents and opinion makers politically of no significance. He was dismissed, as a cricket icon with little political maturity. It was generally said that leading a team, building a hospital or establishing an educational institution does not compare with running a country. However, the Khan one saw and heard at the podium of the rally was a different personality; a mature and confident leader, who understood the maladies haunting this nation. He spoke on problems besetting the country with maturity and confidence, which conveyed a definite message that can potentially be translated into concrete action plans. Though some of his declarations could be termed 'crowd pleasers, he spelled out the national sentiments. His call for the national leaders to declare their assets hits at the core of our national malady. Our leaders have indulged in massive corruption and embezzled the wealth of the nation. They hold large assets in shape of bank deposits, properties and businesses abroad. The nation wants to know how much has been looted in the past. Recently, membership of a large number of parliamentarians was cancelled for the non-declaration of assets. The people are not aware of the magnitude of national wealth stashed in overseas banking system. Once it becomes public knowledge, a national government can devise ways and means to get it back from the Swiss banks. The wealth held abroad is estimated to be twice the value of national debt burden estimated, which stands at $60 billion, according to PTI Chief. Though he hinted at getting this wealth back, Khan did not spell out how. If he is able to pull it off, it would be a miracle. His views are well known on terrorism, war on terror and Pakistans role in it. He has all along advocated a balanced political approach. He had in the past advocated political dialogue with Pakistani element, who has taken the militant road; in his views, strong-arm tactics alone do not work and are counterproductive. Pakistan needs to alleviate social and economic hardships of the people to woo them away from militancy. He talked about this dialogue in his speech at the rally; he even offered to facilitate and help the USA in getting out of Afghanistan. It is a complex problem and may not be that easy as the Khan thinks. But, in principle, he is right. Fighting cannot go on endlessly and someone has to take the first step. From the signal originating from warring factions - USA included - it is clear that the desire for dialogue is intense, but our egos hinder that; if Khan can help pave the way in that direction, he would do an immense service to Pakistan and the region. For that to happen he does not have to and should not wait for winning the elections. In fact, if he can pull this off, it would place him in the ranks of statesmen of substance. After this rally, he will be noticed; the USA cannot ignore him as a political force in Pakistan. On the subject of corruption, he has hit the very basis of it. According to him, the present thana and patwari culture is the root cause. These are the two organs through which the rural feudal and urban rich, from whom our political leaders emerge, exploit the masses. A saying in rural Punjab says it all: Ooper Allah Bari, neeche patwari (God Almighty above, patwari below). What patwaris do in villages, the SHOs do in the urban areas These two institutions lay the foundations of corruption and are protected, patronised and maintained by our political system. Khan has hinted on a system of elected SHOs, perhaps, borrowed from the 'Sheriff System in the West; but how he will implement it, he did not explain. He did, however, declare that he has plans for a different local government system in mind. In Pakistan, we need to change the laws and rules governing the agricultural holdings, their management and distribution. Mr Khan should now build his schemes in doable election manifesto and disseminate it widely. Further, he talked about reaching out to the people of Balochistan. It is an unfortunate region of Pakistan where the masses have suffered for long. It languishes under the sardari system and has been left far behind in development. The deprivation of people has lingered on for so long that the society there has become polarised on ethnic lines. Despite being rich in natural resources, the benefits have not reached the masses of the region. Khan has talked about reaching out to people, but how will he alleviate their hardships is something that he has to spell out clearly for them to understand. Khan has, indeed, arrived with a loud bang and its reverberations are being felt across the political spectrum of Pakistan. If he can give a political programme, which ensures the rule of law and dignity of life in the country, he has it made. We, the silent majority, need security; affordable and cheap justice; quality education for our children, which prepares them to progress in life; and opportunities to earn an honest living. We need reasonable ease and comforts where we can make something of our lives and can claim with pride that we belong to a dignified nation where no Rambos can come and flout our laws and society. It is a tall order. If he can deliver this, the entire nation would follow him even to hell. Now, PTIs Chief needs to be specific and definite in his programmes and should work in that direction. There is one danger though. He has challenged the forces of status quo. These forces are not going to take it lightly. The last time when another Khan had threatened them, they responded with the military might. They can go the same route again. Our history shows that the martial laws, in Pakistan, were a mixture of the military and the feudal, and were later joined by city elites. The political forces, in fact, used it to stem the social change that the masses needed. These forces will launch a vigorous counter effort to defeat the force of change. The time ahead will be critical for Pakistan in its internal political dynamics. The writer is a retired brigadier and political analyst. Email: arjerral639@hotmail.com