Mahitir Mohamad of Malaysia once said: "To be a great leader, one needs to have good strategies, be knowledgeable and able to predict future."

Great leaders are the makers of a nation. Many icons cherished the ideals of justice and rights; and as a result of their life-long struggle, moulded complete mindsets. They sacrificed their personal interests for national cause. History abounds in so many prominent leaders who made their names. Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau died but the seed of liberty, equality and fraternity which they sowed, seeped into the great French Revolution. Karl Marx was to be remembered for days to come. Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, Fidel Castro and others contributed a lot to the society they were the product of and instilled an idea of civil and human rights, equality and justice in their people.

In the days of yore, leadership was a quality associated with powerful kings who led their armies to victory. Europe's history is enriched with tales of William The Conqueror and Napoleon Bonaparte. This was the age where brute strength, valor, and conquests defined a leader. Science and technology, however, redefined what was to be known as a person with leadership skills. Most of these qualities do not count for the present day leadership. People in European societies revolted against the age-old conception of leadership and freed the enslaved populace from the cruel yoke of Barons.

Modern day leadership traits look for orators, who cater to the masses through their verbal skills. In a world dominated by democracies, parliamentary institutions produced many political propagandists, debaters and orators. Question of policy and higher political principles set multiple precedents in the form of Lloyd George, Churchill, Malcolm X, and others. A leader is the one who upholds a cause without any selfish motive. As it is said, genuine leadership in politics is the capacity to look around the corner of history, and leadership is the process of not only foreseeing change, but of making the case for change.

Many nations have sustained under great leaders who endured challenges and eventually fulfilled national agenda. History is filled with such instances; Simon Bolivar's brave fights reaped political liberty for South America, John Brown stood up against slavery, and Garibaldi unified Italy. Their devotions to a noble cause inspired the world nations, and they were immortalized in history books. Modern political modules demand the masses to make an acceptable bid to obtain their rights and privileges within the realms of logical and systematic means, which could be at par with democratic routes. Gone are the days, guerrilla warfare lost its taste. It is incompatible with modern day politics. Armed revolts are completely un-affordable and affront to present day political struggle.

Martin Luther King Jr was a well-known civil rights leader. His services ensured civil rights to all people regardless of race. His strong belief in non-violent political struggle earned him sheer fame. Fidel Castro, a socialist, Marxist, and Leninist Cuban revolutionary fought for and granted blacks and colored Cubans the dignity of equality that was denied to them before. He led Cuba on road to vast development and empowered his nation on many fronts. Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar lived a life of struggle against military rule. She was under house arrest for almost 15 years but that didn't stop her from fulfilling her cause. A Nobel laureate, Suu Kyi personifies power of the powerless.

Nelson Mandela was devoted to a cause against apartheid. His services to his people are unimaginable as he spent 27 years behind bars. He staved off the entire south African nation from the claws of extreme apartheid. His political fortitude bore fruits. His services were recognized and he was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. Today's politically vulnerable and socially marginalized folks should follow into the footsteps of Nelson Mandela. The idea he inculcated provided people with vigor to stand up against injustices.

But the presence of a strong political leadership in our society is still a myth. Pakistani power politics gives a vivid impression of corruption and bad governance. Our so-called leaders are busy in flourishing their vested interests. It is folly to expect them leading this nation to its great destiny. Their priorities lie in personal gains. The idea of our nation is that of a cattle without shepherd, heading into oblivion.