This is that time of the year when going from anywhere to anywhere in some areas of Punjab becomes a nightmare in early morning or late evening, as the fog makes it a zero visibility affair. Travel between cities becomes hazardous too both by road and by air. What makes it worse is that so many people plan their weddings in this season so a lot of comings and goings are unavoidable, making matters worse. “Jan hatheli pai” is the saying in Urdu, which best describes this foggy dilemma.Just as we’re trying to manage these foggy days of our lives to the best of our abilities, a totally new situation hit us last Sunday in the shape of Allama Tahirul Qadri and the crowds he drew to Minar-e-Pakistan for the biggest ever congregation. He knocked us all out I have to admit with the sheer organisational skills of TMQ and the power of the message he gave. He has also thrown off balance the houses of Zardari and Sharif in the bargain, who have, as yet, not stopped reeling from the shock. The timing of the Allama’s return and the perfect synchronisation of his demands to the wishes of the ordinary Pakistani is homework done well. The extensive ad campaign that ran for days ahead of the jalsa also speaks of some good professional brains in the Allama’s camp. Of course, advertising alone could not have pulled the millions to the jalsa on its own if the crowd had not desperately been waiting for just such an opportunity. We saw it earlier too on October 30th last year when Imran Khan gave a call for change. The keyword, thus, is undoubtedly “change”. That’s the magic word that draws people like the Pied Piper to whoever appears to be the harbinger of the possible eventuality. It is also the inability of the sitting government to deal with this one word that keeps them harping on the oft tried clichés, which are only impacting people in the negative. They speak as if the government for all these five years has been altogether somebody else! In the ultimate analysis gimmicks like the launch of Bilawal in active politics, however good looking he may be, is not what’s going to cut it for the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The PPP is an established party and will regain lost ground again after some time when it throws up leadership from within and offers real, thought-out solutions to some of our issues and grasps its own, liberal, progressive personality again. The limelight, for the moment, is on Allama Tahirul Qadri and nothing will take it away until January 14, which is the day for show of numerical strength in Islamabad.What the Allama is saying is making a lot of sense. He wants electoral reforms so that the vicious cycle of a select few over power is broken. He wants all official as well as non-official stakeholders (not just the two main parties) to decide who the caretakers will be. He wants more representation in Parliament of the ordinary but brilliant Pakistanis. That he has managed to draw to his fold the MQM and also got PTI to agree with his agenda is adding to his strength. He makes our deeply entrenched and sordid problems sound solvable, which itself makes one want to hope again. Any party that will give hope to the people will capture the votes.Our cynicism, a result of 65 years of misgovernance, gets the better of us and we tend to question the sudden appearance from out of nowhere of a person talking of change. It has to be the handiwork of a lobby that is used to manoeuvring things here, we assume. It has been an interesting few days this past week when the Allama has been on all-important news channels and has been quizzed by the toughest of hosts with direct questions of his past and his present intentions. To give him marks, the Allama has not tripped or faltered once. He is comfortable answering all questions and is as clear-headed as is possible. Still, just one jalsa at Minar-e-Pakistan is not enough and we wait, with bated breath almost, to see if the large numbers in Islamabad will materialise to make the impossible wish list come true. There are others who are putting scary thoughts in our minds by saying that any messing with the system might just trigger a bigger crisis and may lead to a situation that cannot be controlled by anyone at all. The political fog and uncertainty after these recent developments is not making accurate predictions possible for anyone. The President has warned against the ‘Egyptian’ model of popular action, which sounds strange - as it is just that model that Pakistan keeps hoping to emulate. It does not matter how we are led out of the rut so long as whoever leads us out understands the moderate inclinations of this country and the peace and progress that its people yearn for. We will welcome him with the words of a poet:“Dair lagi aaney mai tum ko,Shukr hai phir bhi ayie tau,Aas nay dil ka saat na chorra,Waisey hum ghabraiey tau.”

The writer is a public relations and event management professional based in Islamabad.Email: tallatazim@yahoo.comTwitter: @tallatazim.