By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi
This is not a comprehensive review of Imran and PTI’s barely 7 days in office.
While the dung beetles will head for the filth and the non issues or the minor ones, Honeybees will flock to the flowers in the garden!
But what has Imran bought to the table?
First and most importantly! Hope!
Hope for a better, brighter, Pakistan. Last night at a dinner, 4 of 10 people I met have decided to head back to Pakistan. All extremely comfortable in their lives here in Canada with outstanding professional careers.
What will you do? I asked.
Something. Anything. Teaching. Technology. Social impact projects.
I’m certain similar scenes are being played out all across the non resident Pakistani diaspora.
There is “Hope” with a capital “H”. Hope that he and his administration and many others in the millions who have waited all their lives for such a day, will work tirelessly to course correct and steer this very massive ship, slowly but surely, in the right direction and to the shores of a wonderful Pakistan.
People voted and flocked to Imran because of what they believed in about Pakistan. They came for themselves, for their children for their children’s children. For their futures of a safe, secure, merit driven, fair, just and equitable Pakistan!
Another sentiment that he’s evoked. A feeling of great well being, a surge of happiness, a sense of pride in being a Pakistani!
Recently, a blue blooded white Canadian friend told me “…Your new PM is an awesome dude…..”
Even the optics elate us. The austerity measures, the clear stance on issues, the measured and balanced tones, the sense of purpose and above all a feeling that finally the key to the coffers is in the right hands!
And PTV. My God! Everybody I know is also watching PTV. Just this by itself is a miracle!
While his detractors will continue to criticise the occasional hiccup and relish the odd stumble by him or his administration, one must not forget that he and his administration has to do what they can, with what they have. And what they have is far from perfect. In fact it’s a royal mess.
Èven the images of the old guard on media, Shahbaz, Zardari, Diesel, Ahsan Iqbal, Asfandyar, Achakzai, Kaira, Sherry et al is like this terrible nightmare where one wakes up sweating and trembling!
The contrast is surreal, almost unreal!
He has five huge challenges.
1. Economic revival and stability.
2. Good governance which is transparent, merit driven, especially the elimination of corruption and bringing back the looted wealth.
3. Social equity, especially safety, security, justice and equitable opportunities for all.
4. Foreign policy, especially peace with our neighbours.
5. And perhaps the most challenging is to eradicate the terrible poison of sectarianism, extremism, violence and terrorism and bring the nation together.
These are herculean challenges! And the seas are rough and the storms, massive!
But If anyone can address them, its Imran. He needs the support of all patriotic Pakistanis.
Those who want him to fail, for whatever reasons are merely cutting their noses to spite their faces!
Even in organizations, sustainable change takes a minimum of three years. I know. I’ve been doing this for nearly 30 years
Year one is about planning and putting in place the right implementation architecture, the right people, the right processes and the right technology. And pilot testing!
Year two is about implementation. And the period of greatest resistance from the old status quo, which is desperately fighting to defend the old putrid order. This is the period of greatest risk.
Year three is seeing the fruits of the change. This is at a minimum .
Give him and his team, time. A minimum of three years!
Those before him had ample opportunity to do the above. But instead of fixing the system, they consciously and deliberately destroyed the system.
They weakened institutions by appointing corrupt and dishonest people to key posts and deploying processes which allowed them to siphon off our wealth!
They consciously eroded the authority of institutions which could hold them accountable, so no one could hold them accountable!
Can anyone in their right minds believe that Imran would knowingly appoint corrupt and dishonest people on key roles in government?
Can anyone expect that Imran would deliberately weaken institutions so he and his associates can indulge in unbridled loot and plunder?
Can anyone expect that Imran’s personal interests would ever overtake national interests?
I’ve been criticized for going overboard in my support of Imran. That I deliberately turn a blind eye to his shortcomings! That I’m not objective in criticizing him and his actions!
Well the short answer is. Yes!
I am overlooking the minor hiccups and stumbles, because I believe they are inconsequential to the larger objectives stated above.
I believe that honest mistakes and wrong decisions will be made. I understand that the insights and experiences from governing a province by proxy vs the whole country will be challenging. I understand that he’s not surrounded by angels. Many are dyed in the wool old timers who will continue to attempt to go back to the old ways.
Some wrong appointments will be made, not consciously but perhaps because due diligence was not done properly. But given time, as facts emerge, these will be corrected!
But I do know that he is incredibly honest, incredibly committed and also incredibly ruthless.
He may allow himself and his people the occasional honest mistakes or error of judgements or wrong decision, which can be fixed and rectified, but he will not spare anything which speaks of deliberate and wilful sabotage of his agenda.
So while he and his team are fixing Pakistan, do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are.
If you live overseas, and can, go back to Pakistan and see what you can do!
If you have money, set up a business and create jobs for the poor.
If you have money, provide micro finance funding to poor people who have skills so they can come out of abject poverty.
If you have money, fund scholarships for poor children.
If you have money, adopt a government school.
If you have money, fund those who are making a difference especially in health care and education.
If you have money, set up food kitchens to feed the hungry and the poor.
If you have talent. Teach and train the poorest so they can get jobs.
If you have time, volunteer to help the most deprived segments of your society, in government hospitals, schools, colleges.
If you have people working for you, treat them fairly, with honour and dignity! Whether in your homes or in your businesses!
If you can, avoid taking or giving a bribe!
If nothing else, at least support him with your written and spoken words!
There’s so much you can do!
This is your contribution to Naya Pakistan.
*Salaams and Prayers*.