PTI chief Imran Khan’s address to Pakistanis after his stunning electoral victory was in the best traditions of statesmanship. The speech was balanced, dignified, and progressive and delivered with modesty and humility. Politicians are driven by an excessive urge for power. Power can be both productive and destructive. This becomes even more pronounced when power becomes authority. Authority is the right to use power in the name of a state or government or other institutions and is derived from constitution and law. Imran Khan is now saddled with both power and authority and we shall all follow how he uses them. It is perfectly understandable that Imran has invoked the State of Medina established by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and consolidated by his pious first four successors as his ideal. Imran Khan’s hero is Mohammad Ali Jinnah, though he has also paid respect to Mahatma Gandhi in his book as well. I have never seen Jinnah refer to the State of Medina in any of his speeches, though he referred to the Prophet as exemplar par excellence of good government. Jinnah was too shrewd a politician to go beyond the Prophet and cause controversy among Muslim voters since the pious caliphate has been the subject of bitter controversy among them. I liked Imran’s reference to the Khalifa-e-Waqt describing his responsibility not to let even an animal starve under his rule. That was unmistakeably a reference to Hazrat Umar. The ultimate homage to the State of Medina was paid by Mahatma Gandhi when on July 7, 1937 he addressed members of the Bihar Congress Party in 1937 when they were about to form the government. He said: “Lest Congressmen think they have a monopoly over simplicity and that they erred in doing away with the trousers and the chair, let me cite the example of Abu Bakr and Omar. There is no division of opinion about the Prophet, Abu Bakr and Omar. They had the riches of the world at their feet. It will be difficult to find a historical parallel to match their rigorous life. Omar would not brook the advice of his lieutenants using anything but the coarse cloth and course flour” When Gandhi paid tribute to the Prophet and the pious caliphs he was speaking about good government and the simple and frugal lifestyle of the early stalwarts of Islam. When conservative and fundamentalist Muslims invoke the same model, their uppermost concern is the supremacy of the Sharia over human intelligence, segregation of men and women, with women covered from head to foot and religious minorities excluded from the category of nation. The truth is that Hazrat Umar suspended Hudood laws when a famine struck Egypt. General Zia introduced the Hudood laws in a thoroughly corrupt and degenerate society where half the population endemically lived below the starvation line. No rich or influential person was flogged for any crime while the poorest and weakest were dragged into a grotesque public shows of Islamic punishments.Imran Khan seems to be leaning towards the Gandian admiration for the pious caliphate, but many in his party and outside understand that entirely differently. My heart was won by Imran when he said he was willing to take two steps if India took one to establish normal, friendly and mutually beneficial relations between India and Pakistan I loved the emphasis on alleviating and ultimately eradicating poverty of the masses. Pakistan is among the top 10 countries regarding modern slavery, child mortality, minority persecution, female oppression and much more. I only hope Imran has the courage to make good his words. The examples of China as a model where 700 million people have been lifted out of poverty and of Western democracies progressing and setting standards because of the rule of law, show that Imran is enlightened enough to learn from a friendly state which is professedly based on an atheistic ideology as well from the much maligned West which is the favourite whipping boy of our dogmatic left which under the garb of imperialism is intellectually paralysed to see how societies correct and rectify themselves. Dogmas, religious or secular, are the biggest obstacle to progress. Reason, evidence and compassion always tell us that whatever is good belongs to all humanity. Of course, each society can learn and incorporate universal truths within their own historical and cultural context. My heart was won by Imran when he said he was willing to take two steps if India took one to establish normal, friendly and mutually beneficial relations between India and Pakistan. Let me admit without any equivocation that I think Maulana Obaiydullah Sindhi, Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani, Maulana Shibli Nomani and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s stand against the partition was enlightened, rational and progressive, but the partition did take place and now the only reasonable way forward is for both sides to accept each other; learn to respect one another and help each other when in need. I salute Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Atal Bihari Vajpayee for having had the courage to take the first steps in that direction. There is simply no other choice. The levels of poverty, illiteracy and other egregious failures on human development are a shame and a disgrace for our two nations. When neighbouring states engage in a vain arms race, sabotage, terrorism and their leaders and media give free reign to the demonization and dehumanisation of the Other: they perpetuate hatred and fear only and waste resources and opportunities on foolish zero-sum games. Let me also pay compliments to General Musharraf and especially former Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri whose Kasuri Plan is the only scheme which can be a win-win resolution of the Kashmir dispute for Pakistan, India and the Kashmiri people who in the last few years have been brutalised by the might of the Indian state. As we go along, I shall elaborate the Swedish welfare state model which in my opinion is the most enlightened balance between freedom and equality. The writer is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University; Visiting Professor Government College University; and, Honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. He has written a number of books and won many awards, he can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, July 28th 2018.