The people of Pakistan seriously think that Imran Khan is needed to bring back the country from the brink of disaster that PPP and now PML-N government has pushed it to. The city dwellers are ready for him, and change, but the landed gentry of Pakistan is feeling threatened by this brave man who has a vision of a rich and stable Pakistan that would be corruption free. We are a paradoxical nation, we want change but are not ready to change our ways.

The land rich feudal do not want change as their monopoly will be threatened. The ownership of agricultural land in Pakistan had to be changed after the British left. The British created permanent landlords, who could be controlled by power that they exercised through well paid civil service. Land reforms should have been the first item on the agenda when Pakistan was created, in failing to do so we have given power into few hands that have been fleecing us for the last six decades.

Indian landowner had to give up a lot as the new rulers held on to their nationalist ideology; in Pakistan those in power had no concept of nationalism or its imperatives, thus they redistributed the land among themselves creating a cult like organism. When democracy surfaced after the failure of military dictatorship and the bifurcation of the country on nationalist lines, it brought the power into the hands of the hereditary landlords in Pakistan who put both the army as well as the people aside to grab whatever they could. Today Pakistan is perhaps among the most backward countries in the world.

As for the revolutionary power of the people in today's Pakistan, it has been used up by the religious elements in the form of scattered and disorganized pan-Islamism. In this political wilderness, Imran is trying to build nationalism in Pakistan. He has already succeeded noticeably in cities, but he has been stopped by the well trenched landed gentry from gaining any ground in the countryside.

Imran's PTI can become a rallying platform for Pakistan's nationalism but Pakistan's nascent nationalists have a lot of ground to cover before that can happen. They have to spread in the villages just as Gandhi spread the nationalist ideology of the Congress in the Indian villages. Before that the lawyers and the elite of India's cities were leading the Congress since 1885. In the 1920s, Gandhi declared “This is not India. My country is in the villages. I am going there”. The Congress leadership laughed but not for too long! Eventually all of them lined up behind Gandhi. Mao also went to the villages in China and eventually China’s leaders rallied behind him. China and India are now among the premier countries in the world. Imran must go to the villages to gather support and once that is done he will gain strength. This is a long gestation political program but it is the only one that would produce lasting results. Nationalists of Pakistan - spread this idea as far and wide as you can.


 October 1.