There was a mammoth numbering lakhs of people who showed up with compassion at the Minto Park gathering of PTI on October 30, 2011. Their assembling was in the hope for a changed and transformed Pakistan. Their aspiration was and yet not limited to a conventional type of leadership; emerging as a consequence to the next elections.  They long for a statesmanship that can swiftly lead to a transformation, which can change their destiny in the future.

Pakistanis have been trying and testing every brand of political conglomerate, but all have failed them. There hopes are withering, as they continue to crumble under the weight of soaring inflation, rising unemployment, debilitating energy crises, deteriorating health of public utilities due to incessantly bad governance and a corrupt political system.

Nevertheless, it is practically impossible for any conventional political party to change the system that has been so well grounded and plaguing the country since its inception.  Rather this system is perfectly designed by them for their exploitation. The elite bureaucracy, too, with all its executive powers and paraphernalia, is a permanent partner; making it possible for the political bosses to exact undue monetary gains from the system. That is the main reason why, most of these bureaucrats despite having meagre salary are millionaires and enjoy every luxury of life.  Therefore, it will not be easy for any political leadership emerging in a stereotypical and conventional manner to bring about a ‘real and tangible’ change that Pakistan requires now; more than ever in the past.

Imran Khan, however, is the only hope for people. But only as long as he promises to end the conventional style of politics and introduces a new one aimed at changing the country’s destiny. He has been on the political landscape for almost 19 long years; trying to fight his way to the top, but without much success. He mostly attributes his failure to rise to the top upon the political culture, the establishment and various elite interest groups. This may be true, to some extent; but then the onus lies upon him to show his own brand of politics to the people.

The nation has been pinning hopes on the cricketer-turned-politician ever since he entered into politics. But Khan Sahib has not been successful to lead them, as he could not manifest his widespread popularity into an election victory. Initially, he boycotted the 2002 elections that was not the right decision. And recently the by-elections!

Against this backdrop, in the aftermath of Musharraf’s resignation and his active role in campaigning against him and then the years between them, leading to the PPP’s failure to improve the lives of the masses, Imran had a historic opportunity to turn the tables by leading them to sweep the country in the wave of his popularity with what he calls ‘tsunami’; a nomenclature that needs to be rephrased to something better, since it stands for destruction; and not for the good. But unfortunately, he failed to grab the opportunities that came his way!

More so, what is being observed is that the same old, conventional politicians are joining PTI, which is also being christened as a party backed by the establishment. Imran needs to dispel this impression with the help of his supporters by agitating and exposing all those forces who are branding him as the king’s next chosen one!

As a final word, Imran Khan needs to start thinking about the ‘politics of agitation’ aimed at system change and liberating people, rather than what his anti-forces perceive as ‘politics of reconciliation’ aimed at appeasing the establishment. The next few months are very critical, as this might be the last chance for the people of Pakistan and may be the last as well for Imran Khan to become a ‘ harbinger of change’.

  The writer is running a publishing house, M/s Heritage Publications, in Lahore.

    Email: qasim.mehdi1@gmail.com