The media focus on the rising number of suicides among the less privileged sections of the population in Pakistan, and the ensuing analysis and debate on TV, side-stepped some crucial questions. It served as yet another example of the opportunistic hypocrisy of our political and intellectual elite that refuses to step out of the safe frameworks of status quo. They keep looking for answers within a system that is not designed to provide any, ensconced comfortably in their privileged seats. Meanwhile, a revolution is being born on the street. Our future depends on the emergence of a leadership that could make it work. We have seen how leadership can make or break public uprisings. We don't have to go to any other country, though examples abound in our neighbourhood, and we don't have to go too far back in history. The public uprising in Hazara division sparked by the renaming of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was rooted in logical demands of decentralisation and enjoyed massive public support. We saw how an insincere and opportunistic leadership tried to cash in on the public mood to further their petty personal ambitions. A new local leadership that could translate the public anger in terms of administrative and financial autonomy, and link it with the struggle of people in other similarly disadvantaged regions of the country on that basis, would have made the crucial difference. What we saw instead, was the entrenched local elite moving in swiftly and taking charge, defining the issues in the most retrogressive ethnic terms, and hence dashing the hopes of the Hazarawals for a better future. Of course, there were different strains in the popular uprising in Hazara, and there were misgivings among ethnic groups about each other as well. But that is precisely where leadership comes in. Instead of fanning ethnic hatred and divisiveness for political gains, a sincere leadership would have concentrated on the actual problems of the Hazara people that have more to do with practical matters of administration and development, and built a case around those concerns. Hazara could have led the much-needed national debate on effective administrative decentralisation and rationalisation of the federating units. Unfortunately, a defining moment for the people was hijacked by those ensconced in privileged seats. The case of the 'Rule of Law' movement is different, and much of its success could be attributed to a positive minded and clear headed leadership, whatever its other limitations. The massive public support for the Chief Justice, and later for the much larger number of illegally removed judges, also had different strains. There were those who tried to define it as a fight between the armed forces and the people of Pakistan, and those who brought their petty politics to the movement. At times, the religious parties tried to give it a colour to suit them and there were those who argued for violence. The leadership, however, was able to articulate the public unrest in positive terms and steer it peacefully to success. The movement was strengthened as the leadership linked the restoration of a handful of judges with collective goals that a large majority could relate to; rule of law and accountability of those in power. The collective leadership created a peaceful strategy and was able to convince the public that these concepts could lead to their betterment. This brings us to our present problems that seem to be multiplying, despite the success of the 'Rule of Law' movement. The ruling elite still consider itself above the law and beyond accountability. Rather than respecting the will of the people, the democratic dispensation is bent upon subverting it by undermining the independent judiciary. But this is not all. The new Zardari-led regime has continued with other anti-people policies of his predecessor. Behind the faade of change, the evil status quo continues to extinguish hope for those who need it the most. And oppressed by the insensitivity and insincerity of those ensconced in privileged seats, public discontent is rising. There are murmurs of a revolution as more and more people become convinced that our political tigers would never change their spots. Denouncing the ruling elite and their evil ways is not enough though. For the pubic rage to be steered in a positive direction, the new leadership must take on at least three clear objectives that could provide the foundation of a peaceful, prosperous and just society. Reforms and tinkering of the system here and there won't do. It is time we understood the importance of a revolutionary break from the present orientation of our state and shatter the three inter-dependent frameworks of status quo that hinder prosperity and well being of Pakistanis. It is time we took a fresh look at our democracy, economy and foreign policy. All we need to do is to remove our hypocritical blindfolds. The disconnect between the people and the current elite is now virtually complete. While Pakistanis are clear about the nefarious games that the United States is playing in the region, our government and the army are giving the greedy superpower a helping hand. This must stop. Pakistan's territory must not be allowed to be used by this global pariah to create violence in our neighbouring countries. While every man on the street knows the IMF and World Bank as villains, our government and high-level bureaucrats talk of them as messiahs we will die without. Pakistan's economy must not be allowed to be defined and weakened by these debt-wielding wily wizards. While people across the length and breadth of Pakistan look at the Supreme Court for protection against criminals roaming our democratic corridors, those in power are openly defying the orders of the court. Surely, people do not have to suffer such a distorted version of democracy until those ensconced in privileged seats are ready for a new election. The people are ready for change; to throw out the pseudo-democratic dispensation through peaceful democratic means and reaffirm the rule of law. Only this time, to make the revolution really change things for the man on the street seething in anger, the leadership will have to do two things: recognise that the hatred for the ruling elite, the IMF and the US are all linked and refer back to the issue of rule of law, and prepare to contest the mid-term elections that it mobilises for. The writer is a freelance columnist.