NOTES FROM A SOCIAL SCIENTIST
By Dr. Haider Mehdi
A great gift of the Almighty to humanity is that we, humankind, can learn a great deal and infer a lot of great lessons from small life experiences. There is an intrinsic and formidable link between ourselves and in the way we wish to experience our existence in the lifespan of our consciousness.
In this context of our existence and because of an enlivened public consciousness in today’s Pakistan, here are several reasons and logical arguments as to why Imran Khan and his PTI will win and why the incumbent PPP government and some other political parties will lose in the forthcoming national general election.
One: a simple tale of moral-ethical development. Decades ago on a hot summer afternoon, at the height of the deliciously aromatic alu bukhara season, a case (box) of alu bukharaswent missing from my mother’s pantry. At the time, only three people were present in the house: myself, the cook and the sweeper. Regrettably, I had not gobbled the mouth-watering alu bukharas. When my mother asked the two household helpers about the missing fruit box, they blatantly denied having stolen it. Later, in the evening, my father told the two domestic helpers that though stealing and eating the alu bukharas was a minor matter of showing human weakness for a delightful delicacy, but in having done so, as the evidence clearly indicated, the two of them had lost their credibility and could no longer be entrusted with the care of the household. They were told to immediately pack and leave. Surprisingly, both of them immediately admitted having consumed the entire box of plums and apologized for lying about it. Both of them were forgiven for their minor indiscretion.
Later, my parents explained to all of us (kids) that the admission of guilt and the promise to work with honesty were acts of great moral courage on the part of these people. But, above all, their behavior indicated self-reflection, an instant realization that their ethics were in question and there was an immediate need to establish credibility and restore trust. All of these elements, my father said, were a part of a process in personal moral-ethical development.
“Value Development” is a fundamental undertaking of Imran Khan’s platform of social-cultural-political change in Pakistan. In fact, PTI’s ideological stance is to reinvigorate a moral-ethical Islamic democratic “values” revolution in the political culture of the country. It is precisely for this philosophical view that places Imran Khan on the same page with the majority of Pakistani people – who see the incumbent (and traditional) political leadership in the country as immoral, unethical and devoid of “values” that ought to be an intrinsic part and parcel of a national leadership and in the making of a truly Islamic welfare state.
It is also precisely for the same reason that Imran Khan’s “politics of values”, in its absolute entirety, rejects the present economic-cultural-political “status-quo.” Khan’s view is shared by a large majority of the Pakistani people who also seek repudiation and rejection of the entire present political culture and political structure in the country. (Of course, this perspective is not shared by those political actors who are fighting political-legal battles to protect the present-day systemic status-quo to safeguard their personal vested interests.) And it is exactly for this reason that Imran Khan and his PTI will win by a landslide in the next general election in Pakistan.
Two: a simple tale of shared integrity, common values and communal self-management. A friend who has widely travelled in the interiors of Balochistan narrated the following. Villages in Balochistan are situated at a great distance from the main cities. Hence, the villagers have to cover a long distance to reach the main roads to find transportation (mainly buses) to urban centers to buy goods and merchandise to do business in their small villages. When they return after buying merchandise and are dropped at the main roads, they have no instant means to carry their valuable commodities back to their villages. A communal tradition has developed over a period of time: the villagers place 3-bricks over their merchandise, walk to the village and come back with a donkey cart. In the meantime, irrespective of how long it takes between their journey to and from the village, no one ever touches the merchandise left unprotected on the roadside. The 3-bricks on the top of the goods is a symbolic communal signal of mutual business integrity, social cohesion, shared values and community credibility in self-management.
Imran Khan’s PTI’s political-social vision of a rural-based democracy is, in fact, a cultural, political and strategic endorsement of our traditional communal values and an acknowledgment that, given an opportunity, Pakistan’s rural society is capable of self-management in all aspect of self-governance. The fact of the matter is that “self-governance” and “self-management” was a distinctive socio-cultural-political norm of pre-colonial Muslim India. The point is that Imran Khan’s “politics” stands for the revival of our traditional communal values and faith in the time- honored communal integrity of Pakistan’s rural society. And precisely this political vision puts Imran Khan on the same page with over 60% of the population of Pakistan that lives in rural areas. And precisely for this very factor, Imran Khan’s PTI will win by a landslide in the next national general election.
Three: a simple tale of compassion for human interest, behavioral generosity and selflessness in Muslim history. The following narrative is from a co-columnist who is an authority on the compassionate nature of Muslim history. It is said that a traveler on horseback (a long time ago in the remote past) came across an ill old person standing by the roadside. The sick man requested a ride and the horseman agreed. After they had covered some distance, they saw a water well. As the owner of the horse was collecting some water, the sick old man decided to steal the horse and ride away. The horse-owner said to the thief, “It is OK if you steal my horse – but don’t tell anyone about it because then no one will ever offer a ride to a sick person again.” Mighty decent and compassionate, isn’t it?
NRO, corruption, massive financial embezzlements, kick-backs on contracts, bank frauds, bribes, money laundering, foreign assets, foreign businesses, foreign bank accounts, foreign properties, drug mafia, arms deals, foreign aid deals, international bank deals and so on and so forth are some examples of the “horse stealings” by the “sick” political actors at the helm of national affairs in today’s Pakistan. The amazing aspect is that, all of them, irrespective of their party affiliations, are hell-bent on continuing to steal, protect their lootings and see no dishonor in their claims over the national plunder. In fact, they proudly tell others to indulge in “horse stealing” and not to care if human decency and compassion die in the process of endless looting.
Imran Khan’s “politics” is the sole voice of the Pakistani people’s sentiments seeking a compassionate political leadership, a “values” revolution, a socio-cultural transformation and an end to six decades of political status-quo – without which the future of Pakistan’s existence is questionable.
It is precisely for this reason that Imran Khan’s PTI will win and why the incumbent PPP government will lose by a landslide in the next general election.
No more horse stealing! No more stealing alu bukharas!
Unquestionably, there is a need for the ethical-moral development of political leadership in Pakistan – and Imran Khan champions this cause!