The present times are the toughest. The last four years of the PPP-led government have been the worst in the history of Pakistan, especially with respect to the overall economic situation. The downslide had been simmering; but the political cohorts either do not seem to care or do not have the capability to see what has been going wrong and to what extent in the state; and so they never tried to control or rectify the situation. Ironically, the prime victims of this omission of their first and foremost duty - i.e. to serve the masses - are the people of this country.

Pakistanis have been extorted for years by the political leaders. But now due to the revolution of information access, and enhanced awareness and connectivity that make facts more obvious for people to comprehend, it has become almost impossible for future government’s, both civilian and military, to carry on with the practice of jugglery and exploitation of the masses. They are becoming more politically aware and have resented the role of a ‘friendly opposition’ being played by PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif and his partymen during the last four years, blaming them equally for pitching the country into this quagmire. This bitterness, the people will exhibit, perhaps, when they vote in the upcoming general elections.

The people have been severely hit by skyrocketing prices, extreme poverty, rising unemployment and the worst kind of energy crisis. Unfortunately, the problems are compounding with the passage of time; increasing the number of suicide and crimes committed by the hapless.

More so, it appears that the government has no viable solution to the ever-increasing problems of the masses. This terrible situation is breeding fury and preparing them for an uprising – just like Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street Movement. In the light of the ongoing protests against government policies, perhaps, a major change will take place in Pakistan.

Continuous mismanagement, exploitation and lack of integrated planning on the part of political and bureaucratic elites will, God forbid, lead to an economic, physical and psychological disintegration of Pakistan. Surely, the situation is so volatile that it requires only a spark to initiate public wrath and anguish.

More so, it is frustrating to learn about the huge coal reserves in Thar worth trillions of dollars, which can be used to produce at least 3,500MW of electricity per day, have not been exploited. No effort has been made by the government to mitigate the energy crisis by exploring the coal and other energy-generating options available in the country. Also, it is really annoying to hear the tall claims made by government functionaries for years about the initiation of gas pipeline projects - IP and TAPI; but no real work is visible on ground yet.

Further, there is complete uncertainty about whether the multi-billion rupee worth of assets, such as copper, gold and silver deposits, present in Balochistan will  be utilised for the country’s uplift!

The masses are well aware of the precious water that is being wasted due to lack of reservoirs; whereas, Kalabagh, Bhasha and Skardu dams are nowhere in sight. Pathetically, any amount has been allocated for these projects of national importance in the previous budgets presented by the PPP government.

Needless to say, political parties in their manifestos and election campaigns have repeatedly pledged to bring about a real change: eliminate poverty, reduce unemployment, end corruption and work for the welfare of the people. However, in reality, our leadership has never made a conscious, serious and committed effort to find longstanding, genuine and coherent solutions to the problems affecting almost 180 million people.

Most of our leaders, by their very nature, focus more on amassing wealth and exacting personal benefits during their stints in the Assemblies. Once a candidate wins the elections, his main aim is to pocket as many times the money he had spent on his campaign. The normal cost of contesting a seat is minimum Rs25 million these days. Such leaders, as well as those in opposition, are not keen and pushed to pressurise the government to develop policies or take measures that can provide relief to the common man, making their lives better or at least liveable, to say the least.  

The ‘time’, too, for taking the right initiatives in the best interest of the public at large is the most important ingredient in a visionary and sincere leadership.  Against this backdrop, the present government has the resources at its disposal and apparatus for effective, broad-based and long-term planning and ensure its timely execution as well. However, there is only one prerequisite without which nothing works - that is, the commitment and political will to serve the people!.

The repeatedly tried and tested stereotypical leadership, with all its inherent pitfalls, weaknesses and incompetence is the core reason for Pakistan’s continuous decadence. What we see in the post-general election scenario is a replica of the same; however, with a slight change in the numbers; with loss of few seats to some parties and a gain for some others. But a near replica is certainly a perfect recipe for a complete disaster; as the country has already touched rock bottom and cannot sustain a similar experiment. 

The people, hence, are desperately looking for a ‘new brand of leadership’ that can introduce a system of governance, which will lift the country from a deep abyss of destitute and insolvency by bringing about a ‘real change’ that can give them direction and provide security.

The factors for a ‘real change’ are becoming rife. The only missing link is that who is going to lead the people to this change; since the journey is going to be tough and the road is treacherous. Nevertheless, a march to a real change has to begin sooner than later!

    The writer is running his publishing house in the name of ‘Heritage Publications’.