With the economy in a mess and the government helpless in finding an answer to the burgeoning economic melt-down as predicted by the international lending and rating agencies, the portents in regards to the promised prosperity to the people are not very encouraging. Political stability which is a vital ingredient and a required catalyst for a sustained economic growth also remains elusive in view of the hiked tensions between the government and the opposition parties which have now decided to launch a movement against the government after Ramadan. Though the government and its two criers are trying to put a brave face by dismissing the opposition move as a damp squib but the reality is that more they beat this point more vulnerable the government becomes to the events that are likely to unfold as a consequence of the movement. Economic situation hurting the people in an unprecedented manner and the opposition parties ready to put pressure on the government make a deadly combination which the government needs to take seriously.

Besides the volatile situation on the internal front, Pakistan is also vulnerable to the fast changing geo-political situation in the region and its geographical proximity. The likely confrontation between US and Iran, not so encouraging situation in regards to prospects of peace in Afghanistan, nosedive in relations with India and a slight lull in relations with our all-weather friend China since the installation of PTI government are really formidable challenges on the external front for which Pakistan would be under tremendous stress to find amicable solutions and emerge unscathed from the likely unfolding scenario. The government alone cannot deal with all the foregoing challenges. Finding answers to the internal and external challenges, to begin with, needs national unity and consensus. In the permeating situation Pakistan needs a new economic and political charter among all the political forces. It is said that the worth of a nation in surmounting internal difficulties and managing the international affairs depends on its economic, military and political prowess.

Our unfortunate reality is that the political forces in the country are pulling in different directions and the incumbent government headed by Imran Khan is not making any effort at all to address that issue. Rather it is treading a path of confrontation with the major political parties by subjecting their leaders to a process of witch-hunt in the name of accountability, the theatrics which the people of Pakistan have seen in the past as well. Imran Khan entertains a kind of hate for the opposition leaders and is not even ready to talk to them contrary to the norms of a democratic behaviour. His cohorts and political free-loaders known for changing the bandwagons and who have invariably played a key role in making and breaking of the regimes, are making the matters even worse by acting as more loyal than the king. They spare no effort to denigrate the opposition leaders by calling them thieves and plunderers of the national wealth with utmost audacity forgetting their own tainted past. No wonder if they dump Imran Khan the moment they perceive a change in the tide.

I think Imran Khan needs to show maturity as a politician like the one he has shown in compromising his radical agenda and accepting the props to reach the corridors of power. To be able to retain that position and to be able to winch the country out of the present crisis situation, he will have to abandon his personal vitriol for the opposition. The witch-hunt in the name of accountability like the previous rulers is neither going to serve the national interests nor boost his stature as a political leader. The rhetoric of accountability needs to be replaced by a spirit of reconciliation and collective action to recalibrate the national narrative on governance, accountability and security.

The prescription of accountability against the opposition has been repeatedly tried both by the representative governments and the military dictators without serving the larger national interest. It has only served the narrow political interests of the rulers with irretrievable damage to the national polity. If Imran Khan thinks that he will be able to able to carry the day with the help of the turncoats and the political engineering he is sadly mistaken. His arrogance and improvidence will harm the country beyond imagination. He should not forget that both the PML (N) and PPP have a very strong political base. The PML (N) still is the most popular party in the country, particularly in Punjab. The statement by Chaudhry Nisar, that had Nawaz Sharif not confronted the establishment the PML (N) would have won the general elections, is quite significant in regards to shedding light on how PTI reached corridors of power. Imran, therefore, has his own vulnerabilities and should not feel inebriated about his ruling the roost. It is probably time to let the bygones be bygones and sit together to bring systemic changes in the way the people elect their representatives, the way country is governed and a process for across the board mechanism established to prevent future misuse of power and corruption. We can take the leaf out of South Africa model and establish a truth and reconciliation commission on the same lines to begin with and then use the collective wisdom to effect the required changes in the system of governance that are vitally needed to consolidate the gains of independence and winning a respectable place in the comity of nations. The country surely needs to unshackle itself from the archaic colonial system of governance which has inbuilt avenues of graft and corruption. Putting a few individuals in jail for political vendetta is going to prove counter-productive and harmful for the national unity. That is the lesson of our history. It is up to us whether to learn from it or continue to tread the path of self-destruction.