Victory at Last

Spearhead Analysis – 27.07.2018

A concerted and possibly orchestrated attack on the military and its intelligence assets was the prelude to the elections. Local heavyweight journalists linked to either the international media or political factions or both, and ousted politicians set about creating the impression that the military was into unprecedented blatant pre-poll rigging. The media, especially, the international media picked up the vibes and joined the chorus enthusiastically. Elections have been held, and barring a most tragic externally sourced attack in Baluchistan and a few technical and incompetency based glitches, the elections have been declared as free and fair by the majority of people in Pakistan. The EU team is set to file its report but their statement endorses this view. A former Indian Election Commission official who was in Pakistan has said on Indian NDTV that what he personally observed was a free, fair and transparent election process. Those that the ‘establishment’ was supposed to be supporting have been trounced in the polls. The PPP was voted out in 2013 on the basis of their performance and now in 2018 it was a foregone conclusion that the PML(N) would suffer and that the charismatic PTI leader being untried was to be given a chance—so the result should not be a surprise.

The losers, especially the bigwigs rejected by the people, are predictably crying foul and readying all kinds of strategies to create doubt and possibly turmoil. The PML(N) decision to forge a strong opposition in Parliament in spite of rejecting the poll results is a pleasant surprise and will go a long way towards setting the tone for the post-election environment. There are likely to be all kinds of political manipulations and even devious tactics to forge the alliances that will determine the shape of the next federal and provincial governments. This is nothing new and the voices being raised with preposterous demands like re-elections are all part of the jockeying for a piece of the newly baked pie. Reports of Pakistan being in disarray or concerns about street confrontations are simply conjectures with no link to reality—post elections Pakistan is fully functional and inspired by the new leader’s victory speech that was hallmarked by humility, resolve and promises of a bright future. He has a track record of delivering what he promises.

Imran Khans speech was a breath of fresh air. Gone was the high backed throne like chair much favored by previous ‘leaders’. The setting was simple and business like with no floral or photographic embellishments. He went straight into his speech and it was soon obvious that the man was speaking from his heart and that his clear intention was to focus on governance to deliver a better Pakistan to its people. He covered all the points being debated but he did not dwell on past failures nor on those responsible for those failures. He took off from the present and showed a picture of the future. In fact, he categorically ruled out witch hunts and political victimization and offered to assist in the investigation of all election related complaints. This is exactly what the people wanted to hear—so no surprise that he won them over.

Leaders are born but they are also made. Appointments to positions of power do not make leaders—they merely create authoritarians using their power and in the process destroying their credibility. Imran Khan is a proven leader. His talent, hard work, determination and discipline took him to the very top of the intensely competitive world of cricket. He forged a team and led it to build and operate the two biggest cancer hospitals in the country. He delivered on his promise to set up an internationally recognized state of the art university in a comparatively remote area of Pakistan. He did all this with no authority or power and solely on the basis of his leadership ability. Starting his political journey with just one friend supporting him he created a political party, made it into a national party, broke the family based stranglehold of the two party system to not just bring in a third force but went on to win the general elections and reach the place where he is now poised to work for Pakistan. Pakistan now has a leader not just a person elected to a position of power.

If a government achieves credibility through governance, then it should have no problems with any institution. Governance can only come when governing and management teams are forged on the basis of competence and merit and not loyalty, pay back or kinship. Such teams need to be given independence to work and deliver. This is what Imran Khan has promised to give when he talked of structural reforms in all sectors, austerity in spending tax payers’ money, strengthening institutions, forging reality and Pakistan interest based foreign and economic policies and focusing on welfare policies that address the grievances of the people. Most importantly he talked to—not down or up to—his own people and the people of our neighbors Afghanistan and India as well as China, the US, the Middle East and the world. By promising good effective governance and the rule of law Imran Khan has raised the bar for political leadership and the people expect this bar to rise higher as he sets about the task of delivering on his promises. Each national institution that he strengthens and respects will work with him to orchestrate national power and be his partner in decision and policy formulation — with institutional confrontations relegated to the past. So congratulations Imran Khan and may you succeed in the gigantic task before you.

(Spearhead Analyses are collaborative efforts and not attributable to an individual)