During his speech in Doha, PM Khan looked genuinely keen to follow up on his promise of bringing his country back in the mainstream of respectable nations.
By Rafiq Jan (Doha, Qatar)
I sat 50 meters from the stage, when PM Imran Khan was addressing a charged up crowd in Alwakra Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on January 22. His speech, which lasted 30 minutes, was nothing less than a statesman’s address. I saw Imran Khan up close and noticed how tired he looked, after months of working round the clock since he took over as the PM.
However, he was also full of confidence, energy and his hearty smiles. He exuded total control and composure while he talked to the Pakistani diaspora in the huge football stadium.
The stadium was jam-packed with a crowd that was charged up to welcome their beloved Prime Minister, who chose to address them in a typical political jalsa (gathering) style. This was indeed an unprecedented move by any head of the state to meet his people in such a candid style. This was also a first of its kind event that I witnessed in my 35 years living in the Gulf Arab countries. And clearly, the first time ever in the history of Qatar.
Pakistan, unfortunately, since the departure of its founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, has been ruled by politicians and dictators instead of “leaders”. It was unfortunate that self-centered rulers brainwashed their followers so perfectly that they took their allegiance for granted. They kept ruling for “one term” knowing they will not deliver as per their promises and left the country only to come back to clinch the power again. The ultimate losers were the people who gave these rulers the reigns to rule them.
The desire to be a politician is typically a desire to mould society into one’s own ideal vision. A vision of society that accommodates one’s own desires. It is another mechanism by which we try to seek security and purpose for ourselves. However, our politicians and dictators alike seemed to have lost this “desire” of serving the people.
A Chinese representative at the WEF in Davos last week sent a clamorous warning across the power corridors of the world’s top democracies. He said:
“you have to realize that democracy is not working well. You need political reforms in your countries”
Those serious notes reminded us that developing countries needed to breathe fresh air into democracy. The word democracy has increasingly become a misnomer for so-called large democracies. Inadequately groomed, dishonest, incapable and yelling leadership has largely polarized the otherwise intelligent and sensible societies.
In Pakistan, feudal lords-turned-politicians, who severely lacked imagination, have been calling the shots. They survived due to their allegiance to the superpowers for quietly toeing the line to stay in power. Similarly, the military dictators, once overthrowing democratically elected leaders, also strived towards consolidating power at the expense of common Pakistanis.
They enjoyed the freedom of gaining power through divisive campaigning by undermining public institutions and oppressive control over their masses. Their lack of wisdom is still forcing them to believe that they are immortal and that no one can ever push them over to the extinction level.
Nonetheless, the fast arriving “new world order” is forcing all the power blocks to adopt inward-looking policies to remove the unwanted international trade and investment barriers. We are stealthily heading towards this new world order as we see the unilateralism, protectionism and most importantly the populism fast spreading in the world.
Pakistan seems to be on the right track to its ambitious goals. The world is receptively responding to the notions of new guards in Islamabad. All it needs is to learn from past wrongdoings and continue the forward movement that has already been started a few months ago.
It must encourage innovation strategies across the nation on a war footing to alleviate poverty and gain sustainable prosperity. A forward movement is everything and it must continue at a steady pace to achieve the objectives.
RAFIQ JAN. QATAR