Jalees Hazir Addressing a rally organised by his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf against the Reformed General Sales Tax, inflation and unemployment in Lahore last week, Imran Khan threatened the government with a civil disobedience movement, if the corrupt and extravagant rulers did not change their ways. He promised to donate all his assets to the treasury, if Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari declared their assets and started paying taxes. Imran Khan might wish the best for Pakistan and Pakistanis, but this is the kind of rhetoric we can do without. To change things, he will have to do better than riding the wave of public anger. When I asked a friend about his views on Imran Khan, he was full of praise for the man, remembering him as a great cricketer and captain of the Pakistan cricket team. He spoke with passion and in detail about his cricketing career and then fell silent, as if hed finished his appraisal of the man. I was expecting that he would build a case for making Khan the Prime Minister of Pakistan, and when the friend stopped at his cricketing brilliance, I tried to egg him on. I asked him about his views on Imran Khans social and political contributions, and whether he could lead us out of the mess we are in. The friend said that Imran Khan did not have the capacity to lead any significant change in the country, but he could surely contribute positively in the area where hed shown his mettle. So, should we make him the Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board, I asked. His stature is bigger than that, the friend insisted. So, what then? The friend thought for a moment, and then suggested that Imran Khan would make a good Sports Minister. When I probed my friend about his reasons for writing off Imran Khan as a serious social and political force for reform, he was very clear on the issue and very convincing indeed. He said his reason for having faith in Imran Khan as a Sports Minister, other than honesty and sincerity, was his understanding of the issues involved, the command he has over the ins and outs of the field and his sensible and fair positions on various cricketing matters. He knows what he is talking about and has a very good perspective as a sportsman, and therefore I trust him to manage the sports affairs very well. Somehow, he does not inspire the same confidence in me when he talks about national politics. This is, of course, one view of the man. In contrast, there is an emerging crop of PTI jiyalas, who see a messiah in Imran Khan and passionately believe that he is the only hope for change. They point out that he is not financially corrupt and is 'really sincere about fighting the rotten system. The question is: Are these personal qualities enough to bring about any meaningful change. And more importantly, what is the nature of the meaningful change that the cricketer-turned-messiah is expected to bring about? Has there been any thinking on that front or will the messiah think about it once he is elevated to run this country one day? It is unfortunate that a potentially positive and powerful national figure like Imran Khan is going down the beaten track. His rhetoric might be different, his personal credentials better, but he has nothing substantial to say on issues that lie at the root of our problems. The PTI might rant and rave against the RGST, but has it made public its stance on international financial institutions and how it proposes to run the economy without them. The party might rouse emotions against drone strikes, but has it presented its strategy for affecting an early withdrawal of NATO from Afghanistan? How does the PTI intend to control the militants and counter their extremist brand of Islam when the occupying forces are thrown out? Does the PTI have an alternative roadmap for Pakistans future, or should we just trust Imran Khans good intentions? To add to this poverty of vision, his party is being organised on the lines followed by traditional political parties. There is no concept of election to various offices, and the leaders find it easier to direct the party affairs through nominated party officials at lower tiers. Even the central leadership is not democratically elected. In another retrogressive development, it is sad that a party professing to bring about a change is banking on second-hand tried and tested candidates for contesting elections. Successive defeats, instead of strengthening the PTI resolve, seem to have convinced the unelected party high command that the only way to win an election is to buy into the existing game of entrenched players. And the buck stops once again at the saviour. They say that with an honest person like Imran Khan heading the government, the traditional politicians being coopted by the party will be kept in line. The point is not to write off Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Imran Khan as a future political force. As the people get disenchanted with the established political parties, they are looking for an alternative leadership. And Imran Khan, with his clean public image, is being embraced by many, especially the large number of young voters, as the possible alternative and a credible hope for change. The point is: Has Imran Khan built a political party that could come up to the expectations of the people and deliver? Or will his Tehreek-i-Insaf join the ranks of other political parties vying for power; clueless about how to change things, dominated by unelected chailas and chamchas surrounding another 'great leader and populated by jiyalas, who might not be educated in the politics of reform, but have full faith in the 'benevolence of their leader? If Imran Khan and his party are serious in bringing about any meaningful change, other than organising the PTI on democratic lines, they need to focus on developing a comprehensive alternative roadmap for Pakistans future. And of course, the party must try to enlist the support of the new leaders of a new Pakistan, rather than betting on horses entrenched in and sullied by the dirty old game of politics. The writer is a freelance columnist.