I come from a generation that has watched this ‘Land of the Pure’ fumble and stumble through seven decades of existence. Ruled by politicians, who ought to have been strung up publicly and toyed around by dictators with grand illusions about their indispensability, we the nation have waited in vain for the moment, when we would be led by someone with the character, courage and wisdom to set our face irrevocably towards the direction desired by our founding father.

Much time has gone by since I had a brief and stormy stint as member of a national-level technology committee. I had refused the appointment on the grounds that I was a rebel with the reputation for ‘stirring still (read status quo) waters’, but someone, who I held in much regard forced me to accept the job since he needed someone who could ‘say it’ bluntly. A short time thereafter, during a debriefing session in the Ministry, I was rudely jolted out of my chair, when the head of a Pakistani delegation to an international technical conference informed the committee that he had successfully projected his viewpoint by carrying out a ‘smoke and mirrors act’. My spontaneous interruption must have been taken as out of protocol since I said that ‘a smoke and mirror act’ was based on illusion and if that is what had been done during a critical international moot, then it did not deserve any applause. A few more meetings later, I thought it appropriate to tender my resignation from, what was then considered a lucrative assignment.

This was not the first time that I had been confronted by ‘smoke and mirrors’. I have grown up to achieve senior citizen status, watching this gullible nation being duped by conjurors and illusionists. I have listened to political celebrities spewing fire and brimstone, slitting stomachs to recover stolen national wealth and dragging the corrupt on roads – only to find the orators breaking bread with those they had vowed to hold accountable. In a country where people die by drinking sewage-infected water, where mountains of waste plague entire communities, where spurious medicines and substandard lifesaving stents become instruments of death, where healthcare is deplorable, law enforcement corrupt and ineffective, literacy abysmally low, the government continues to perform its smoke and mirror routine by building metros and orange lines.

Pakistan is at this moment in time standing on the edge of a historical precipice, where one decision by the highest judicial bench in the country will either push us over the edge or pull us back from the brink. This decision will set the stage for our future destiny – greatness as envisioned by our founding father, or disintegration into corruption and anarchy.

I fully endorse the notion that the nation must never bow to the will of the enemy and that applies to the PSL final in Lahore. I can only hope that enough thought has been given to the worst case scenario, where even a minor incident (not necessarily in the sanitised zone around the venue) triggers panic. I also hope that a military style ‘appreciation’ of the situation has been conducted, carefully evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of taking such a decision. I am however disappointed with PTI’s approach to the event. Imran Khan has once again demonstrated his political near-sightedness by condemning the decision without taking into account that his remarks will not go down well with his vote bank, much of which will be watching the event. I would have been happier if he would have reemphasised the need for caution and security saying that as a gesture of defiance towards the enemy, he would himself be in the stadium watching the final. But then, the Chairman of the PTI cannot help saying whatever is in his heart – in other words he perhaps, is not a ‘smoke and mirrors’ man.