While sanity seems to have got the better of Dr. Tahir ul Qadri and made him put his revolution on hold at least for now, Imran remains adamant as ever to hit the capital on Independence Day. Not only this, but he has stated he will now not settle on anything less than the audit of all the constituencies instead of four as earlier demanded. Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, he also changed his stance on rigging. From Najam Sethi, he shifted his focus on collusion between the ECP, ROs and the Judiciary, which he claimed indulged in massive rigging of the national elections. By taking a complete somersault on his earlier demands and the rationale behind them, he is actually asking for the moon which he knows he is not going to get. Trying to achieve the impossible by violating the sanctity of Independence Day is insanity. Leaving aside the merits and demerits of his allegations and their veracity or otherwise, any person in his right mind cannot approve of such irresponsible, ill-timed and self-centered adventures.

Nations celebrate their independence days to reinvigorate the spirit that characterized their struggles for freedom and also to reiterate their commitment to the objectives and goals of their independence movements. For them, it is a day to reflect on past follies and achievements as well as an occasion to exhibit impregnable unity among its ranks for nurturing and strengthening national causes. Politicking takes the back seat and politicians and leaders from different walks of national life join in to make the independence celebrations a truly national undertaking.

To say that Pakistan is at a cross-roads would be an understatement. It is about to burst at the seams. Fixing the behemoth challenges requires collective wisdom and unity amongst all political forces, military leaders and civil society. While celebrating Independence Day, they must express commitment to winch the country from the quagmire. Our salvation, peace and progress is inextricably linked to following the democratic path as envisioned by the Quaid. Any deviation from it is a recipe for disaster as is amply evident from our checkered history.

PTI is the third largest party in the national Assembly and running the show in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. It has the forums available to it to push for the reforms that it contemplates are necessary to make the electoral system more transparent and rigging free. The best forum for it to strengthen its democratic credentials and nudge the reforms in the electoral process is in parliament. There is a national consensus on reforms in the system and the government is also agreeable to the proposition. Reforms must come through the parliament within the parameters of the constitution. There is no other prescription available to achieve this objective. Imran must remember that the politics of agitation and settling political issues on the street have always paved the way for anti-democratic forces to make their move and derail democracy.

Our Army is fighting a war against a faceless enemy which poses an existential threat to the country. Fighting this enemy and eliminating the spectre of its threat requires impregnable unity among the nation. Our soldiers need the unqualified support of a united nation. Politicking can wait for better times. Launching political agitation at a time when the country is at war damages national unity. Imran Khan, therefore is better advised to revisit his strategy and must not consciously or unconsciously allow himself to do the bidding for those who carry hidden agendas.

Reportedly, Chaudhry Shujat has written to the COAS and asked him not to participate in Independence Day celebrations being organized by the government, terming it a PML(N) show. This is indeed a regrettable move on his part and a deliberate attempt to involve the Army in ongoing political bickering. The Chaudhrys and Sheikh Rasheed are also allies of Dr. Qadri, who stands poised to unleash his own brand of revolution. With the likes of them egging on the proponents of tsunamis and revolutions to make their moves, there is certainly something sinister about the entire affair. The nation needs to be vigilant enough to thwart the designs of these self-seekers, wearing white masks on their black faces.

The writer is a freelance columnist.

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