We were born in Pakistan, the first free generation. Unfortunately we had to experience several shades of the motherland. Quaid’s Pakistan, then Ayub’s Manipulated Pakistan leading to its dismemberment, followed by Bhutto’s Democratic/ Naya Pakistan as he termed it, Zia’s Islamic/ munafik Pakistan where all civilian institutions were made to collapse, the Benazir/ Nawaz circus which continued till 1999 when Musharaf stepped in with an Enlightened Pakistan, Zardari who introduced democracy with loot and plunder followed by elections in 2013 and a democratic transition of power.

The 1973 constitution is a gift of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s (ZAB) democratic Pakistan on the foundations of which Imran Khan, the “Kaptaan,” desires to rebuild Quaid’s/ Naya Pakistan. Derailment of democracy that took place on October 27, 1958 will finally come to an end when free and fair elections will be held followed by a real democratic transition. The 1956 constitution could not be saved but the 1973 document has withstood the test of time. All of Zia’s and Musharaf”s illegal onslaughts on this sacred document have been removed, only some Islamic clauses remain which should also be re-visited. In other words, “Kaptaan’s ‘Naya Pakistan’ is the same as Quaid’s Asli Pakistan, an Islamic, democratic welfare state that can meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Our generation is the link between the founding fathers and the future generations of Pakistan. We were raised, educated and trained in the ‘Asli Pakistan’. Though we were born free, we were denied the right to vote by the first usurper which then brought us in conflict with the state. The brutalities of SP Halaku Khan, Administration of Nawab Kalabagh, the Courts of Justice Munir and Progressive Papers Limited of Chaudhry Zahour Elahi were let loose on the young comrades of change. It was an uphill task but we enforced our right to vote.

The first elections in 1970 were free and fair. When the second elections in 1977 were rigged we were back on the streets and demanded fresh elections. In the 2013 elections, first time voters protested against rigging. The dharnas in DHA Lahore and Karachi were spontaneous. The “Kaptaan” had succeeded in bringing back the idealism of yesteryears into the mainstream of politics. The sit-in rages on in Islamabad till the advent of “Naya Pakistan”. There is no going back. Perhaps for the first time in the checkered history of the motherland, the Khakis under General Raheel Sharif are not interested in taking over control of the country. The rule of law and ballot has to be returned, the Gullu Butts of Gawalmandi cannot hijack the mandate of the people.

Unlike us, first time voters have not experienced “Asli Pakistan” and that is why they need guidance and a road map to get there. Only “Kaptaan” and his team of untainted members can provide this leadership. Status quo politicians should have no role in this journey of change; otherwise it will be business as usual. Despite a “lota” infestation within the ranks of the PTI, the “Kaptaan” remains in firm control of the party. The workers are committed to the ideology of change and refuse to follow the “lotas” that surround him.

In the 70s, Pakistan Peoples Party merged as an ideological party seeking change. It was called the party of social equality or ‘Musawat’. Till 1975, the party lived up to its manifesto of change and then they too were infested with men of no integrity; those who swayed only to the tunes of power, also known as the “lotas.” These so called electables took over the party and contested the 1977 elections on PPP tickets. Today, the party only markets the Bhutto brand name while the ideology is long gone. In the words of Benazir, ‘The party has changed in line with ground realities.”

The rise of PTI in 2011 was quite similar. A charismatic leader on top, with an ideological party with him, seeks justice for the common man. In the 70s, ZAB’s Musawat was the key brand while in 2011 it was the Kapatan’s insaaf. ZAB was trapped and eliminated; the Kaptaan, it is hoped, will prevail.

In Kaptaan’s ‘Naya Pakistan,’ the focus will be on education, health, employment and essential infrastructure. The state will be responsible for the wellbeing of its citizens. Everyone between the ages of 5 to 35 will be fully utilized through education, training and employability. The country has a swelling youth population; about 50% of the total. The nation has to be made productive and put to work. Only a welfare state can provide human development at such a large scale. In the 21st century, the growth model of China stands out- by 2025, it is predicted that the peoples’ republic will be the world’s largest economy taking over Japan and the United States of America.

Asli Pakistan under the founding fathers survived, despite daunting odds and was emerging as a leading nation of Asia. There were many firsts: the High Tension Physics lab at Government College, launching a rocket into space, producing silicon from indigenous sands, the fabrication of ball point pens. And then it was overtaken by power seekers; the demons of democracy. Today, they have no role in the rebuilding of the Naya Pakistan.

We are ready to hand over the baton of the Asli Pakistan to the next generation to carry from where the founding fathers and their principal offshoots had left. This ‘Naya Pakistan’ based on Insaf is now unstoppable. The Kaptaan and his chargers both old and young will finally prevail. 2015 is posed to be a year of change in which Quaid’s Pakistan will finally emerge after its long, winded detour. But living nations survive and move on, learning from their past and building on their strengths. Pakistan will emerge victorious, after all.

The writer is ex-chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation.