It is a universally acknowledged that a body smitten with malignant disease heals after persistent and prolonged treatment. If this malignancy is too far gone then implementation of radical surgery augments the treatment to save life. In both cases, the patient undergoes discomfort, pain and an acute reduction in the ‘quality of everyday existence’. Overcoming these side-effects requires fortitude, faith and the ability to fight against odds. The above example is also comprehensively applicable to states plagued by long term corruption, successively inept governance and an overall decay in national character. Regretfully enough, Pakistan became one of those afflicted by corruption ridden political dispensations, equally (if not more) corrupt public departments, martial laws and an anomalous national psyche. Consequently, we, the people, became so addicted to short cuts, enabled through bribery and influence that we switched to defiance, adverse criticism and agitation, whenever confronted with the rigorous application of law. Take for example the case of a traffic violation and our instinctive habit of reaching for the phone to call someone influential to get us off the hook or attempts to pass some banknotes to the law enforcer and in the least, the time we waste in arguing with the traffic cop to justify the offense.

Following laid down rules takes time and patience, but patience is a virtue that we as a nation do not possess. That is perhaps the reason, why there is finger pointing and criticism on a Government that is slightly over a month old and which is endeavouring to clear up the mess of the last many decades through enforcement of laws. Many see this as unfair, ‘brutal’ and even undemocratic. These are the people, who have been beneficiaries, directly or indirectly, of a corrupt system. Leading this group is a coterie of politicians, rejected by a majority of the electorate. These individuals live in a delusionary world fuelled by sycophants and have faults that defy basic notions of true leadership. This group of political parties and their leaders appear to have ‘sold their souls’ in the pursuit of their single minded goal - ‘to hell with collective good and prosperity’.

There is no denying that Imran Khan’s rhetoric during his public meetings included some promises that he may find difficult to implement in his stated time frame of a ‘hundred days’. I will however not be surprised if Khan Sahib manages to make good on these or a respectable portion of what he had said. Nonetheless, exploiting the ‘hundred days’ statement as a handle by PML N and PPP is indicative of intellectual bankruptcy amongst these parties. Before talking about ‘making good the promises’, both these parties must review video footage of their leaders promising the moon to the people of Pakistan, whereas what they managed to produce and pass on was a monstrous debt, an empty treasury, destroyed institutions, long power outages, rotten healthcare and a system infested from top to bottom with corruption. Before representatives from these parties appear on television channels and spew fire and brimstones at the Government, they must have the courage to admit on air that the mess they passed on was of their creation and cleaning it would require years and not a ‘hundred days’.

In all fairness, a few mistakes have been committed by the new government, which were errors of judgment, but such errors at this level should not occur. However, when viewed from a strategic perspective, a lot of good has been initiated during the PTI’s one month plus stint in power. The bloopers as they might be called did little damage, except domestic embarrassment, a field day for the media and creation of temporary leverage for the opposition, but as happens in such cases, the hoo-ha has fizzled out in time.

I have during the past week interacted with many people (not politicians) both for and against PTI and to my utter surprise found many of those opposed to PTI admitting (albeit reluctantly) that decisions considered unthinkable by past governments were now being taken and implemented in Pakistan. When I provoked them with the idea that perhaps this was an indicator of a ‘New Pakistan’, there were smiles followed by an enigmatic (or was it sheepish?) silence.

 

The writer is a freelance columnist.