“I am alive, and was dead…….write therefore the things which thou hast seen.”

– From a Holy Scripture

If the PPP jialas were asked if their party could change the blue sky to green, they would readily claim that their leadership is capable of it; in fact, it has already done the impossible by passing the 18th Amendment and saving Pakistan’s nascent democracy. This naïve narrative on democracy is equally shared by the stalwarts of the other major party, the PML-N, who say that their leaders staged a democratic political revolution in the 1980s and have been tirelessly committed, as friendly opposition, to protecting the contemporary so-called democratic dispensation in the country ever since.

Both the PPP and PML-N leaderships seem to conceptualise “democracy” as some kind of precious commodity or a holy shroud that needs to be protected and saved in impenetrable safety vaults. But that is not what democracy is: Democracy needs not to be saved only, it needs to be practiced. Democracy, as a concept of representative governance, is a process of organisational capabilities that manages, promotes and delivers welfare to common people. As such, Pakistan’s present-day democracy remains absolutely unfulfilled in its democratic objectives, promises and ethical commitments. Today’s Pakistan stands at the crossroads bewildered with uncertainties, faulty institutions and ineffective elected representatives.

Only heaven knows, in these times of abrupt political upheaval, what might happen in this country tomorrow. But human genius, ingenuity, intellect and inventiveness has the capacity to make educated guesses, construct viable hypotheses and do credible analysis. It is in this context that I wish to make such a hypothesis and a prediction in respect to Pakistan’s future: Unless a revolutionary socio-economic-political transformation takes place in this country in the immediate future, Pakistan stands to lose its contemporary national identity.

The so-called Zardari-Gilani democratic Pakistan has aggregated and amassed such polemic and brutish national problematics that until and unless a surgical and revolutionary “out of the box” remedy is prescribed to its ailing polity, its present crumbling socio-economic-political structure will deteriorate to irreversible dimensions. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that today’s Pakistan is confronted with the crisis of national survival.

The first question is: What are the remedies to put the country back on track on a recovery course? Our only choice is a revolutionary transformation of the entire structure - political management, economic doctrine, foreign alliances - with urgency in setting up national priorities and fresh neoteric initiatives to tackle and address them all at once. The second question is: Who or which political disposition can accomplish such a monumental task in the murky political environment of contemporary Pakistan?

Indeed, the PPP and PML-N leaderships have been tested far too many times to be entrusted with any credible roles in the future politics of the country: Historically and resolutely, they stand for socio-political-economic “status quo”, a pro-US/West foreign policy and the continuation of right-wing ideological doctrine and bias. In sum, the parties have become irrelevant to the nation’s needs, aspirations and democratic demands.

I suggest that, for the sake of deliberation, we look at the political agenda of Tehrik-i-Insaf. Let us put Imran Khan aside for the time being as a hopeful in the future political landscape of the country. Let us simply analyse what he says and has been saying, what he has done in the past and what he promises to do for the nation in the future. Let’s examine how Khan’s envisioned and planned socio-economic-political prescriptions can bring the country out of its present crisis, and how the country can be saved from internal and external subversive and ruinous political discourse.

There are two distinct and yet intrinsically linked areas in this respect: a) the ongoing economic meltdown with its significant negative socio-cultural fallouts; and b) externally linked issues of foreign policy, foreign alliances, national sovereignty, stability and peace associated with major external interventions in Pakistan’s domestic policy and national decision-making. It is hoped that the PTI will offer the nation a comprehensive economic-financial plan by the end of the month for national scrutiny and analysis. It is only then that the people will be able to determine the credibility, viability and implicit promise in the PTI agenda of “change” and socio-economic equality necessary for an Islamic welfare State. That is a fundamental challenge that its leadership must address and offer with a visionary and realistic approach.

As for national stability, integration, peace and the issues of foreign policy and external alliances, Imran seems to have already taken bold and impressive initiatives. He has been consistently vocal on ending the so-called war on terror, the need for a fresh reengagement with the US and Western Europe, ending external interventions in Pakistan’s domestic affairs, resilience in economic self-reliance, ending dependence on foreign loans and US aid, and the exercise of full sovereign rights as a nation.

Imran’s latest sincere reflection on political change and justice for all has been his ingenuity to talk to Baloch leaders in Dubai, readjust the date of PTI’s Quetta jalsah on their demand, make plans to travel to London for further talks with them and to bring Baloch’s nationalists back into mainstream politics. The Baloch leaders’ reaction to his initiative has been very positive and it is good news for Pakistan’s stability and salamati. Be mindful that Balochistan’s plight is Pakistan’s top priority issue and the PTI’s chairperson is already taking steps for its peaceful resolution. By far, his most impressive accomplishment has been the political mobilisation of the Pakistani people: From all segments of the society, men, women, young, middle-aged and even the elderly. Let us see if the PTI becomes successful to move the Balochi people on a massive scale in Quetta soon. That will be a test of his political popularity and political effectiveness.

It seems that Imran Khan’s message to the people of Pakistan is: Uttho, jaago, badal doh, Pakistan! (Arise, wake up and transform Pakistan!).

The writer is UAE-based academic policy analyst, conflict resolution expert and the author of several books on Pakistan and foreign policy issues. He holds a doctorate and a masters degree from

Columbia university in New York.

Email:hl_mehdi@hotmail.com