Is fresh mandate the only way forward?

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In medieval times, a tiny sect of Muslims managed to establish a government in parts of Iran, challenging the mighty Muslim, Christian and other rulers of the time. The sect even resisted the onslaught of the Mongols giving tough time to the invincible warriors. They were finally wiped out by the ruthless Mongol invaders but the impact of this small sect is still there in history books with many prominent writers pondering over the factors leading to their rise and fall. Some believe that one of the reasons for their decline lies in crowning an immature young man as their ruler. They thought that he was their messiah who would not only emancipate them but would also make them a dominant community in the world. However, the gullibility of this tiny sect boomeranged on them.

The blind faith of the people pushed them towards an utter disaster, dealing a severe blow to their strength which they lost and never regained. Their dream to rule over several parts of the world dashed to dust and they never recovered from the destruction caused by this immature ruler to their community. This novice in the power corridors played havoc to the lives of the community, weakening state institutions, hatching conspiracies against his community and decimating the nobles who had invested their time and energy in creating the tiny state for the community. The novice was an extremely superstitious person who did not believe in running affairs of the state in a rational way. His imprudent policies created embarrassment for those who had brought him into power. They regretted their naive belief in him, removing him from power in the hope that things would return to normalcy but it was too late and the damage that had been done could not be undone.

The tiny community that once had its own territory was rendered stateless in no time, forcing its members to hide their identity for decades and after the decline of this small state, they could never summon enough courage to establish another political entity. A famous historian once said, “History has a lesson for those who want to learn something, not for those who want to remain adamant.” It seems that the historian has written these particular lines for us. Despite all blunders and disasters, we never learnt any lesson, bringing a number of artificial leaders into power to emancipate masses. Such people in politics proved to be catastrophic for the country. They served the interest of international monetary institutions and foreign powers, turning a blind eye to the plight of people and problems of hapless creatures. The country had to pay a heavy price for the disastrous policies of those who wield the real power in the ‘land of the pure.’ Their whimsical decisions and personal enmities with certain individual politicians cost the country dearly that was cut to size with one arm of the country falling into the hands of the enemy.

Does the decline of the tiny state of a small sect offer any lesson to those who are always in search of a third force to undermine the genuine political leadership of this country? It seems that Imran Khan and his tedious acolytes are following the policies adopted by the novice. Before coming to power, Imran Khan claimed to have an excellent team of experts who would redeem the country of all ills in no time. He asserted that his government would turn all loss-making concerns into profit generating places. The champion of radical reforms assured us that the corrupt would be accounted for and transparency would be the only guiding principle to run affairs of the state. He had made tall claims of eradicating poverty and bringing prosperity to every nook and corner of the Islamic republic. His agenda was to transform the ‘land of the pure’ into a place brimming with wealth and progress.

But three years down the road, the much-vaunted reforms can be seen nowhere. The promised change has not been translated into a reality. The tall claims of eliminating poverty proved to be an utter fraud. More than 44 percent of children are still facing the risk of stunting. The vast majority of Pakistan still has no access to pure drinking water. More than 67 percent are still living without a concrete roof over their heads. Millions of people have been affected by the anti-encroachment campaigns of the callous rulers. Accountability has become a farce. Inflation is skyrocketing. External debts are becoming unbearable. Our Afghan policy is turning into a nightmare with millions of people depending on the UN humanitarian assistance in the war-torn country. The sermons of the prime minister at national and international forums have created embarrassment not only for senior bureaucrats but millions of Pakistanis living abroad.

Like the novice, Khan is also accused of following superstitious ways to deal with the affairs of the state. It is not only Maryam Nawaz Sharif who is making such claims but some circles from the power corridors of Rawalpindi have also their reservations towards the ways the government is conducting itself. Punjab’s chief minister was not removed because it could have offended some supernatural creatures. The country’s chief executive failed to attend a number of funerals, not only those of the leading personalities but those of his close friends as well, stoking speculations that the PTI chairman subscribes to some rational ideologies. In personal matters, one can follow whatever he or she likes but in the affairs of the state, following irrationality could be disastrous. Many believe that this seems to be the case in the appointments of several important positions. The detractors of Prime Minister Imran Khan assert that his government has taken a disastrous path and if corrective measures are not taken, the country could suffer a heavy price. Many assert a fresh mandate is the only way that could steer the country in the current crisis.