‘Na jai raftan’ (nowhere to go) and ‘na pai mandan’ (no place to set a foot). This describes the predicament the politicians in Pakistan have brought upon us to bear. To be, or not to be, that is the question: whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them.” (Shakespeare) Lies upon lies, shameless, white and preposterous, repeated over and over again, to the innocent, credulous or shall we say unconcerned people, too deeply involved in the unrelenting struggle for survival to afford the luxury of entertaining finer notions of basic human rights and liberties. They are brought by the electable to go through the agony of waiting for hours and listening to the so-called peoples’ leaders just to make the political circus look vastly attended, an ‘unprecedented’ show of political power. They could be easily spared the torment, for they would in any case vote for the local political lord who controls their fates. Who would save them from the dreadful police atrocities, get their kids admitted in the school or find them a place in the hospital veranda? Therefore, the politicians can say what they like without anyone questioning them. We, as a nation, have short memories and our leaders maliciously keep none. The PPP is the party of the poor. The first real inflation the people of Pakistan confronted was during the ever-living Bhutto’s rule due to his massive devaluation of the Rupee and bizarre nationalisation. Bilawal may be too young to recall BB-Zardari 1990s achievements, but the last PPP government is only five years old. After that appalling demonstration of ‘how not to govern’, one would require Herculean courage and barefaced shamelessness to pose as the saviour. The sugar scam, Surrey Palace, Swiss bank accounts, outrageous power crisis and innocent children of Thar prematurely dispatched to the merciful presence of their maker are few of the many examples of dysfunctional administration that even Bilawal with his young years should have remembered well. Still he finds the audacity to claim with shocking certainty that Manna was guaranteed if he came to power while his party continues its dismal show in Sindh. The Nawaz league takes the cake. Zardari was the richest man of Pakistan before Nawaz came to power. Now Nawaz must be one of the richest Muslims in the world. The Panama Leaks came as a bolt from the blue. It has made Nawaz, his cohorts, family and especially the young princess go completely off their rockers. Their unabashed public conduct would have made us a laughing stock before the whole world if it had time to look at this side. They know not the meanings of shame, self-respect, sense of individual or collective honour. The younger Sharif, famous for his out of sorts dress and hysterics seems out of favour and is perhaps manipulating some party members to stage a coup within the party. Some wise men have already left the sinking ship of N League. They are others who are only waiting for a surer moment. The king’s slaves, however, are still singing hymns in praise of their god. The poor country continues to suffer in the absence of a government and anarchy being perpetrated in the name of democracy. The younger Sharif, famous for his out of sorts dress and hysterics seems out of favour and is perhaps manipulating some party members to stage a coup within the party The N League desperately wants some miracle to let them escape the trap of their own making. They provoke the military and abuse the superior judiciary. Both the institutions have so far held their ground. They are not prepared to intervene beyond full legal recourse. General Awan (retd) recently said in a talk show, “the army will never take over.” Perhaps he recalls that had power drunk and dimwitted Nawaz Sharif not made Musharraf’s coup inevitable, his party would have been exposed long ago along with the other signatory of the charter of kleptocracy. There are clouds of despair all around, only a few silver linings. The media is vibrant in support of accountability and justice. The military seems blissfully content with addressing its internal and external security concerns, occasionally butting in to put the record straight in face of vicious provocations. The judiciary has mercifully taken up the gauntlet it should have decades ago. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief, an ex-justice cannot entirely throw justice to the winds like the unscrupulous bureaucrat before him. There is good room for optimism. But still, the clear road ahead has yet to emerge. The people not used to inherent legal delays are getting frustrated. What next? The possibility of N League coming to power again remains on the table as long as the elite is ready to sell its soul to the devil at the cost of national interest. Khan may not be the messiah Pakistan is in search of. He may not be the total solution. But he is the only hope for a healthy change, mainly because he is yet to be tested at national level. But even if judged in the context of his party’s performance in KP the room for optimism is more than justified. The writer is author of the book Pakistan, in Search of a Messiah Published in Daily Times, January 13th 2018.