Finally, a faint light at the end of the tunnel as both PML N and PTI have lowered their ante to talk to each other. The development is too early to celebrate, but the successful outcome of the ongoing crisis must not be viewed as a defeat or victory for the parties concerned, as the real victors will be the people of Pakistan.

I hold the view that we as a nation need to change in a radical manner. This change will not be easy, for it will mean shedding mindsets, prejudices and ideas that have corrupted us. The only way we can do this in the short term is by ruthless enforcement and punishment without exception of status, rank or gender. It is however the long term rectification that will be critical. This will entail grooming our young children – a complete generation, to public and private life based on truthfulness, integrity and commitment to the ideals of our founding father. The process will require patience and the fruits may perhaps not be reaped by those of us who were born in the decade of the 1940s, but nonetheless our generation will become history, happy in the knowledge that we have atoned for our neglect and set our descendants in the right direction.

For the time being, we are nothing short of frivolously errant citizens of a state that is teetering on the verge of calamity. Take for instance, the use of the word ‘terrorism’ and ‘treason’. To me, these conjure images of mindless brutality, fear and the act of selling out to the enemy. Yet our politicians (both in power and out of it) bandy it around as if they were children playing with toys. Terrorism and treason clauses are invoked in First Information Reports (FIRs) filed against political opponents, democratic agitation or even police action, with a callousness that baffles the mind.

We have witnessed this happening as a classical case study, during the last few months of political turmoil, where first one side and then the other has trampled the ‘sanctity’ of the FIR. I use the word sanctity because in societies hallmarked by an efficient and just law enforcement system, this document (or its equivalent) forms the basis of all police investigations into a crime, its detection, apprehension of perpetrators and their subsequent trial. This piece of paper however, loses its stature when it is misused and abused.

It is a bitter truth that the eye of the camera does not lie; some may challenge this on account of what one can do with images using software, but live broadcasts are still a very authentic means of ‘taking an event to the sitting room’. The truth that the camera shows is somehow (deliberately) missed, when our sitting Government ministers issue statements commenting on rival political gatherings. While sky-cams are streaming live footage of a stupendously large crowd listening rapturously to their favorite leader, a minister comes on air to state that the crowd comprises of a few thousand individuals or that the public meeting has been a failure due to lack of attendance. Little do these ‘Romans more loyal to Caesar’ realize that by daring to challenge the eye of the camera, they are reducing their stature and credibility in the eyes of the public.

Statements by political celebrities lead me to make an observation on some political talk show hosts including some famous ones. Many of these talented men and women fail to display the killing instinct to reach the truth by doggedly pursuing evasive or misleading responses from guests. In my reckoning as a television viewer, letting an errant public figure off the hook can be akin to showing a full glass of chilled water to a thirsty traveler, but draining half the precious liquid to give him a mouthful.

The writer is a freelance columnist