The last few weeks have been a period of momentous events, which bode well for what appears to be a transformation towards a different Pakistan than the one we have been used to, since more than seven decades. We have a newly installed government that is taking out of the box courageous decisions. Mistakes are being made in the process, (which in any case are not many), but they are being rectified on occurrence. As I watch their performance, I am reminded of the famous saying that taking a wrong decision is better than taking no decision.

The financial, administrative and moral bankruptcy that the previous government of Nawaz Sharif left us in, after their ignominious defeat in the 2018 General Elections was of an unimaginable proportion. Much similar in effects like a country ravaged by war, its industry destroyed, its law and order ineffective and its day to day running in the grip of a well-entrenched mafia, where any and all efforts to rebuild it are criticised, opposed and obstructed by those that destroyed it in the first place committing nothing short of high treason.

It is said that whenever a state passes through a crisis such as this, it is the will of its nation to defy adversity with fortitude that mitigates the situation and defeats it. The city of Leningrad (now known by its original name of St. Petersburg) withstood a German siege of Eight Hundred Days unflinchingly, to emerge victorious. The Armistice at the end of the First World War imposed terms on Germany that were unbelievably harsh, yet the German Nation persevered and rose to a position, where they conquered a major portion of Europe and almost half Russia before they were defeated by the Allies after bitter fighting that began in 1939 and ended in 1945. This second defeat was even more humiliating. With its engines of growth totally destroyed, the country was divided into West and East Germany, between the two major victors i.e. the Western Alliance and the USSR (now Russia). But the spirit of the German people remained unbroken and they now live in a country free from foreign ‘occupation’, ranked amongst one of Europe’s leading economic and industrial powers and whenever Germany speaks, the world listens.

In sharp contrast, the Pakistani nation and its Opposition leadership whimpers, when a government adopts desperate damage control measures by tapping the only resources it has access to – the people, friendly countries or the blood sucking International Monetary Fund. Regretfully the people of Pakistan are being tested and a vast majority found wanting. Everywhere I go I find citizens criticising raised tariffs, higher prices, higher taxation, without giving the thought that this is the sacrifice they are required to offer – this is their contribution towards undoing what the previous governments have viciously accomplished during their respective tenures. This is the reason, why their leaders and members of Parliament are spewing nothing but ‘venom’ against Imran Khan for seeking help from our tested friends China and Saudi Arabia (to name a few). The leaders of both PPP and PML N are calling this strategy as ‘stretching out a begging bowl’, conveniently forgetting that for decades of their rule, they stretched out their begging bowls kneeling before the IMF – an organisation that bought their souls along with our coffers. If these individuals had an iota of national pride, they would have gone instead to the friends of Pakistan - For seeking help from a friend is not ‘extending a begging bowl’.

I marvel at the brazenfaced shamelessness of PML N legislators when they use words like ‘our era’ during their speeches on the floors of various houses. We are reaping the rewards of ‘their era’ in the form of an empty treasury, corruption, politics ridden administration and every other evil that I can think of. It is indeed ironic that they speak with full cognisance of what their leadership has done to erode the foundations of the state and yet they sing their praises.

It is through the lines of this week’s piece that I am addressing the real power behind any dispensation – the people. The current situation is a test of your determination to defy odds, this is your Leningrad. This is a time for you to sacrifice your comfort to deliver the final coup de grace to the corrupt politics of the past and step over the threshold into a new and better Pakistan.

 

The writer is a freelance columnist.