Can the Kaptaan prevail over the entrenched forces of the status-quo? In his own words, “You cannot be defeated unless you accept defeat.” Hardly anyone denies that he is fighting for the right cause but there are disagreements with his method. Some believe he should wait for the next elections scheduled for 2018.

As a seasoned marcher of change, we have been let down so many times that our resilience and age has started to squeak. Imran Khan may be the last hope of our generation. Naya Pakistan cannot be launched without the comrades who have lived through Quaid’s Asli Pakistan. The first Islamic democracy of the world ably led by the founding fathers where there was merit and decency, and where corruption was contained. Financial misappropriation and misuse of official perks were almost unknown.

Today, the debate in parliament is not on elimination but on shades of corruption. Shamelessly, the elected members claim that the other side is more corrupt. When Chaudhry Nisar threatened to take Aitzaz Ahsan to court, his prompt reply was, ‘I will take you to the cleaners.’ The National Assembly of Pakistan operates under the threat of courts and cleaners and if they don’t perform, the people are doomed. In October 1958 when Ayub Khan imposed martial law, he sent home the entire honest political leadership under the Elected Bodies Disqualification Ordinance (EBDO). Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy and Zulfiqar Bokhari challenged their disqualification and won their cases. State sponsored corruption was then introduced by the rulers.

Today, the comrades of change are living in their own utopias. Some of us believe that Imran will prevail over the forces of the status-quo and free elections will be held in 2015, while others are of the view that elections in 2018 after electoral reforms will bring in much needed change. In the end, it is always the evil empire led by the “badmash badshah” that survives. Unless cornered and defeated, the forces of the status-quo will continue to haunt us.

Badmash badshahs have been propelled into leadership by several national outfits (Pakistan Army, PPP, PMLN, PMLQ, MQM etc). Over the years, decency in politics has been replaced by “Badmashi.” Ayub Khan used the ‘thanas’ to get elected, PML(N) inducted their own men to run them, and the MQM created its internal hit squads. PPP started as an anti establishment party but starting flirting with the badmashs as well.

In the 90s, during the Nawaz-I government, one of their deputy speakers harassed an Army officer who was travelling with his family in Islamabad. The matter went up to the chief who summoned the rogue to GHQ and demanded an apology to the Army officer’s family. He was told in plain words that with his two guns he was no match with the GHQ Armory. Even President Ishaq Khan could not come to his rescue. He finally apologized but left PML(N) to join PPP. As an influential politician he freely roams about in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and its suburbs, with large land holdings and a business empire worth millions.

Recently, it has been rumored that the Army has reached an agreement with the government to monitor all mega projects. Only time will tell whether this monitoring will be dry or wet. PML(N) is a party of political interests with massive kick backs on projects. Human development is not part of its agenda. PPP and MQM are not too far behind. Quasi military outfits like National Logistic Cell (NCL) and FWO are not angels either.

The Kaptaan remains the only untainted political leader of our times. The badmash badshahs are threatened by his crusade. He does not have the physical muscle or financial resources of the opposite parties that have been involved for decades in the loot and plunder of national resources. He is relying on the power of the masses. But Islamabad is slippery ground. No one has ever left this city with grace. When the Kaptaan started his march on August 14, 2014, hopes were high but he soon realized it was one of the most ill-planned marches of our times. His show of strength in Lahore had been weakened by the time it reached Gujranwala. The first time marchers that surround him had erred.

Like the German army, the Kaptaan has no SOP for retreat surrender. He can prevail with the power of the masses. Naya Pakistan can emerge from D-Chowk at the end of this month, if the comrades of change reach the capital in multitudes as they did on November 16, 2007. So far, the Kaptaan wants a free and fair ballot to elect the future leadership of the country. D-Chowk Islamabad is the place to be on November 30th for a new Pakistan to emerge from the ashes of luteras and badshahs.

The writer is Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation