LT COL (r) NASIR BAIG: Khan Sahib I have narrated it many a times before as well, how I have been your fan since my childhood, as a cricketer, as a philanthropist and then last as a politician. I never missed a single match which you played in Qaddafi stadium Lahore, was always there to witness it till 1990, after which I joined the Army.
As a young boy, I would sell copies of tickets to raise funds for the Shaukat Khanum Cancer hospital, and when you made a political party, I tried to visit as many of your political jalsas as I could even at the time when the total number used to be even less than 100. You said what I had felt for decades, we needed to change the system; we needed to change this monarchy-based political system in Pakistan; the one where only a few privileged ones are eligible to represent people of Pakistan, those who in reality only take part in elections for power and money and to strengthen their positions as social and political gods of people; Liars, corrupt to the core; To get rid of the corrupt bureaucratic system, to ensure speedy justice, a desperate need for revising the judicial system for speedy in-discriminatory justice system, an independent economic policy and development of industrial and agricultural sector to improve exports and stabilize the economy; to rid us of this political mafia which has kept us hostage for decades; to strengthen the political institutions and bring them out of the influence of unseen forces. The dream of CHANGE, the dream of a Naya Pakistan. Many like-minded joined you. Worked hard with you, the evolution of PTI from a one seat party to a majority party in the Parliament. Everything went well till the game changer.
The jalsa at Minar e Pakistan Lahore in October 2011which I attended to show all who used to call PTI a tonga party. It was that one Jalsa which resulted in some of the status quo elements to notice PTI and it started a wave. People started showing interest in joining PTI. The unexpected results of 2013 general elections in which Mian Nawaz Sharif delivered a victory speech even before the results could be compiled made you change your strategy to think and you probably realized that you would need support of some section of the status quo to come into power and maybe deep down you believed that they would change, fall in love with the ideology of PTI, like Julia Roberts in the movie, Pretty Woman.
A new term, “Electables” was coined and one after another many political gods started to join PTI and the true ideological worker and members of the party started to deplete, some old founding members did not agree to this compromise and distanced themselves from the party. The ones who were the true conscience of PTI, with them gone and with the induction of the new status quo elements corruption started to creep in the ranks of PTI, compromises made once set in motion a snow ball which grew gradually and slowly but consistently.
The internal politics of PTI became so dirty that no one trusted no one. There were numerous small groups. There were favorites, there were ones just accepted, there were ones who were needed, there were those who would only say what you wanted to hear, to please you and stay in your good books.
To be honest after 2013, I never attended any Jalsa of PTI but I still hoped against hope that if you came to power, you would make a difference. I also knew that your claims were absurdly tall and you won’t be able to achieve all that but then I gave you the margin of “Josh e Khitabat”. Still I believe you would achieve maybe 15 to 20 percent of what you had been claiming and YES I voted for you in 2018 with that hope.
Khan Sahib you came into power with a box of chocolates, a mix bag of PTI ideological members, the electables and the ambitious ones who had money and had actually waited patiently for years to come in power so they could impersonate the ones who have remained in power for decades. To become powerful and untouchables.
You came to power, your choice of ministers and advisors sometimes shocked me and sometimes disappointed me. I know there was COVID, I know that from day one the privileged ones the self proclimed gods who believe it is their birth right to rule this country were after you but Khan Sahib people were expecting way more than what your Government did. Corruption is as much a part of this society as it ever was, financially we are far worse, there was no industrial or agricultural development or reforms, no reforms in judicial system, absolutely nothing. I know you needed two third majority for change in the constitution but economic and industrial and agricultural policies could have been introduced. Nothing was done to curb corruption. One more thing which needed to be understood was that you don’t have to bad mouth and use foul words all the time, specially when u are in power, certain political norms should have been followed without making things personal.
Khan Sahib I would like to add one more thing that I have come to realize ever since you came to power and that is, that change does not come with slogans and it can not come by just dreaming or imposing. A change comes from within, our nation, our society wanted a change and they wanted you to bring it for them but did not want to change themselves. We are a nation of impatient and ungrateful, liars and cheats, a nation which uses cast, color, language, religion, sects, in fact anything we can for even a small gain. We are a nation of bigots, who lack self respect, we dream of miracles and shy away from hard work and honesty and we definitely do not want to change ourselves.
Now that I listen to the hyenas howling again in the capital, the self-proclaimed gods a step away from reclaiming the throne and kicking you out. I do not know if you will be able to survive the no-confidence motion. Win or lose, I hope that you will learn the lessons. I hope if not you, then maybe someone else will make a sincere and a better effort to rid us of the curse that plagues us for decades. I hope that you realize that compromising is okay but never on character or on ideology. Every Pretty Woman is not Julia Roberts and every risk-taker is not as lucky as Richard Gere.