Until recently, Imran Khan was under constant advice from all four corners of the country to severe the forthcoming agitation and let PML-N run the governance business as usual. But with the new development seen on 5th December, things seem to be taking a new turn. Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s (PTI) conditional offer to urge his party to call off the Faisalabad protest if talks with the government start by December 6th is bearing fruits as the government seems inclined to resume negotiations with PTI, now officially scheduled to be held on December 7th. No doubt that the news about resumption of these dialogues has provided relief to civil society as the intensifying deadlock between the government and PTI may soon be warded off.

Although through his social discourses Khan promises change, the very fact that he rose from cricket stardom to corridors of power and challenged the prevailing status quo in the country is in itself a big change that we have witnessed over several decades. It runs counter to our political norms. As our political culture is driven by penetrating feudal and industrial dynasties ruling the country for decades now, it secures the exclusive right to rule for the descendants of these two dynasties. In the face of these harsher realities, the rise of Khan to his current prominence symbolizes a big change.

Khan’s followers are mostly educated youth in big and smaller cities. Khan’s rally on November 30th held in Islamabad showcases one of the largest rallies ever held in Islamabad by any politician. This speaks volumes about the growing public support for Khan. His rallies in Punjab and Sindh have also been quite successful reflecting that his awareness campaigns have been successful in eliciting public support and are now beginning to pay off through huge gatherings in his rallies. Delightfully, through these rallies, the nation is also witnessing an escalation in Khan’s political cadre as he is now beginning to emerge as a politician big enough to talk level headedly with any of the two conventional parties in the country. Khan has been able to positively influence the political culture of Pakistan with awareness building campaigns that focused on the major problems of Pakistan. We all know Khan talked at length about massive corruption by the ruling elite, crises of governance and poor spending on education and healthcare systems by comparison, which seem to have awaken the masses.

It seems that the changing reality of Pakistan’s politics has completely eluded the attention of the conventional political parties – PML-N and PPP. Or at least they have turned a blind eye to it. Because of growing urbanization, the size and political nature of the middle class has been changing subtly but surely in Pakistan since recently. The emerging middle class thriving in urban and rural Pakistan with greater political activation is educated, distrusts the existing system, does not want to reconcile with the status quo and confides completely with the PTI primarily for Imran Khan’s sake. Under the leadership of Khan, this class may begin to transform into a potent political force soon to appear on the streets of Pakistan. Since people from this class have suffered repression and exploitation for decades, they are extremely disappointed with the performance of conventional parties, are fed up of their dynastic structures and want to see real change. Since they trust Khan, this class showcases in Khan’s rallies everywhere in the country. While Khan has a lot to offer them, the class now shows greater political activation for the sake of Khan alone. The leaders of conventional parties, on the other hand, are failing to address and detract this class from stacking up in Khan’s political order. Under Khan’s leadership, the class is fast transforming into a potent political force thriving slowly but surely pushing the country through a quiet revolution now beginning to take place in Pakistan.

Khan’s credibility continues to bind his supporters with PTI since he enjoys an almost undisputed character. He has no financial scandals and talks frequently of merit, rule of law, transparency, accountability, better healthcare and education systems. Reforms pertinent to each of these areas are already being implemented in KP province on the quiet without creating much media hype. This adds to Khan’s already strong credibility in Pakistan.

What is important for us now as a nation is to recognize the precise defining moment in our history. It may be a threshold for a change to begin to unfold in the coming days, weeks and months. A third political force is now beginning to take off which speaks the public mind and openly challenges the status quo. This change is eminent as the two bigger parties – PML(N) and PPP  – in a bid to secure their regime stability against army interventions, have long since tied the knots through the marriage of interests nicknamed ‘playing friendly opposition’ at the expense of public interest. The mutual understanding or shall we say ‘the muk muka’ between the two bigger parties has for sure damaged the cause of meticulous accountability and transparency in this country. People now look up to Khan to do this job.

The resumption of dialogue between PTI and the government for the setting up of an independent judicial commission to inquire into alleged electoral rigging in the elections held in 2013 should have been held long ago. Let us hope that talks progress without any further hurdles and the PTI does not have to return to implement Khan’s plan C in the aftermath.

The writer teaches business management at a University in Lahore