“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

–Albert Einstein.

Traditional politics (rawaiti siyasat) and politicians have become ineffective and outdated. In a world driven by technology only change is permanent. Traditions of honesty, integrity and hard work still hold ground but have been over run by challenges of our times. Pomp, show and rituals have lost their significance. In this information age people demand visible results and solid performance indicators from the rulers.

Pakistan started off well on the political front. Most politicians had solid credentials of public service and performance. Despite its teething problems nation-building was at its peak. The founding fathers of the country led a simple and honest life with a commitment to solving people’s problems. As there was accountability at the top, the administrative machinery remained functional and almost corruption free.

Quaid-e-Azam was consumed by the struggle and passed away in September 1948. Liaquat Ali Khan the first Prime Minister held the fort well. Khawaja Nazim-ud-din was inducted as the Governor General in place of the Quaid. The slide started in 1951 with the murder of Liaquat Ali Khan. Khawaja Sahib was cornered to take over as PM and Baboo Ghulam Muhammed became the Governor General. The Khaki-Baboo alliance started to corner the political leadership. By October 1958 it was all over when Ayub Khan took control of the country under Martial law.

Ayub Khan’s period (1958 – 1969) brought in the tradition of “Thana Politics”. Service to the people was replaced by obedience to the establishment. Those who dared to oppose were punished. Decisions were taken during drawing room discussions of the elite instead of public debate and scrutiny. Madar-e-Millat posed the first major challenge to the repressive regime of the dictator. In 1967 Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) resigned from the government and started his ‘Awami Tehreek’ that brought politics back to the streets and public parks.

The students of the sixties played a major role in forcing the first free and fair elections in 1970 in which the traditional politicians lost badly as the Thanas were unable to help them. ZAB’s era (1971 – 1977) started the traditions of ‘Awami Siasat’ where ordinary people had direct access to the corridors of power. Student activists had free passage to the Governor’s house where Ghulam Mustafa Khar as Chancellor personally listened to complaints and ensured their redressal.

ZAB remained effective till he relied on the ‘Aam Aadmi’. The 1973 constitution was also enacted during this period. By 1975 the undisputed Quaid-e-Awam surrounded himself by the ‘Khas Politicians’ against whom he had launched his struggle. The disputed 1977 elections not only brought ZAB’s government down it also ended the period of ‘Awami Siasiat’. Zia brought the traditional politicians back and started a deadly coalition of Military-Mullah–Mufad that shook the very foundations of the nation from which we continue to suffer till today.

Zarab-e-Azab led by Raheel Sharif is an attempt to cleanse the country of the scourge of terrorism. It is an era of change in which the traditional politics and politicians should have no role. Karachi is a test case of operation clean-up where ‘Rawaiti Siasat’ is coming in the way as it signals a beginning of the end for them.

Political turmoil created by the 1977 disputed elections has not settled till to date mainly because of repeated manipulated electoral exercises since then. The country has gone from crisis to crisis.

In Urdu, “man of crisis| is translated as “mard-e-bohran” and “mother of crisis” as “madr-e-bohran”. Since 1985 the country has been ruled by Madre Bohran, who creates crises to benefit from them. Einstein was right, problems cannot be solved by the same kind of thinking used when we created them.

So, far General Raheel Sharif has proven to be Mard-e-Bohran now there is no room for Madre Bohran. ‘Rawaiti siyasatdans’ have become dinosaurs of the 21st century who can only consume not perform. Recently it has been reported that these beasts devour close to Rs. 300 billion every year in Karachi only. No nation can survive with this kind of drain of its resources.

Pakistan started with ‘quami siasat’ (national politics), which was then replaced by ‘luttera siasat’. For ‘Naya Pakistan’ we have to start all over again with a ‘nai siasat’ (new politics) which will follow the politics of the founding fathers, where giving not taking will be the norm. Politics should mean service not exploitation.

The year 1985 has been deadly for the politics of the nation. Political Zarb-e-Azab should start from this year. Assets of traditional politicians in 1985 should be compared with their net worth today. Almost all of them will be knocked out, paving the way for Quaid’s Pakistan to emerge. It is time to knock out the dinosaurs from the political arena and confine them to the “jurassic parks” for public viewing. They do not belong in the corridors of power, their approach is out of touch with ground realities.