IMRAN Khan’ first address to nation as PM, has been acclaimed by a number of intellectuals, second in history of Pakistan which was so inspirational and comprehensive that touched every sensitive heart. First one was of father of the nation, Quaid-i-Azam on August 11, 1947 which set the nation to embark upon to erect newly born state of Pakistan which in eyes of its detractors was artificial and fragile and could collapse in six months. The nation stood taller. To a wide range of laymen, address of Imran Khan raced through their bodies as of what Allama Iqbal epitomized in his one popular verse – Dil se jo baat nikalti hai, assr rakhti hai, Par nahin taaqat-e-parwaaz magar rakhti hai (when passion stemming from the heart turns human lips to lyres, some magic wings man’s music then, his song with soul inspires). Without meaning to prejudice preference of anyone, it was an address which left the nation in a vibrant state of mind from despair and poignancy to hope and buoyancy because of its sincerity and candour contained therein. It was from mouth of a man who has already served the nation multifariously and struggled astoundingly before arriving at a vintage point from where he could turn around the nation from depths it presently ebbed at the hands of dubious characters of different stripes. Besides, there are other aspects too which galvanizes essence of instant address; an enduring solution to our maladies of all kinds.
Imran Khan is at pinnacle of power with all traditional ceremonial trappings, discretions and prerogatives but he has started cleansing act from himself; no protocol, no royal residence, austerity in official expenditure and modesty in conduct etc. it is always better to set standards by personal example rather than percepts. It spurs the people to forge ahead in trust which in return, is a tremendous force multiplier. It has locomotion of its own kind. History is replete of such examples when rulers refused worldly glitters, nation rose quickly to get past even insurmountable hurdles. Imran khan did not speak rather conversed in a way as it was two way traffic. There was no aristocracy but all empathy. He did not miss anything contained in his party manifesto. This remains close to his heart. In our chequered political history, manifesto is a document of convenience than political creed. After elections, it usually finds its place on shelf to gather dust but now things seems to be in right strides.
Imran khan has talked of tackling problems of stunted growth because of malnutrition, maternity affliction, health, contaminated water, education and human development deficit, failing judicial system, challenges of climate change, local government, economic self-reliance, uplift of agriculture, scarcity of water, austerity, revamping of institutions, tourism, child sex abuse and development of neglected areas etc. Out of all these, there is no work of easy proposition and instant self-glorification. These are ticklish and formidable tasks by their nature and magnitude. These would certainly consume a lot of time and entail gigantic effort before yielding fruit. It makes amply clear that he is eyeing on next generations, not on next elections. Former is done by a leader and latter is focus of an ordinary politician. It is a nation building, not aimed on self-aggrandizement. It is fighting against roots, not the window dressing. By implication, this approach is of taking first step with no certainty of seeing its logical conclusion by himself. One may pass away. Great people do so. They are mission oriented, not career minded. Ordinary one tends to undertake parochial work to see completion in own time to accrue personal gains. This difference makes the difference in life of nations.
It is also a responsibility of a leader to teach the nation in order to demolish old mindsets. He shows the path and asks the people to follow established principles because no civilization could grow and prosper without following them even Allah does not change condition of a nation until it does not make effort itself. In his address, Imran khan has laid facts bare and ask the people to take ownership to steer the country out of precarious quagmire. It seems that people are inclined to stand with him. The reaction of people to his address to nation reminded of sentiments expressed by a former civil servant, Roed Khan in his book on assuming office of President of Pakistan by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in midst of 1971 crisis. It was December 20, 1971 when he called all federal secretaries after taking oath of his office same day. With dismemberment of country, there was all around despair, gloom and despondency. It was moment of truth. When we saw Bhutto, we instantly thought, man of hour has arrived. We all wished him to succeed and he delivered. After listening address of Imran Khan to nation, emotions also ran very high. A plenty of people not only prayed but also gave money in way of Allah for his safety and success because he is the last hope. Allah willing, he would also deliver because he has come into power after defeating formidable nexus of ruling elite single-handedly. His determination, resolution and persistence know no bound with no crisis of intent. People are at his beck and call particularly, middle class which could turn trumps.
— The writer, retired Lt Col, is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.