A dream we have seen for 70 years, a foundation laid by the Prophet (SAW), a vision given by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, whose implementation Imran Khan now promises, God bless him. Imran’s victory speech left many dumbstruck. He spoke from his heart. He was not like so many of our leaders who get hoarse calling ‘Awam, Awam, Awam’ and then forget them as soon as they are in power. Imran has grown from being a play-boy, from a self-centred individual, from the directionless U-turn politician, to a mature leader who has charted his own course of action. He could not have made any better choices. A ‘state’ has no reason to exist if it is not for its people. If it does not serve its population it has no reason d’etre. That is why massive brain drain and emigration takes place from Pakistan. We treat our diaspora as an export commodity instead as national wealth to be used to contribute to our country’s well-being. But Imran’s promise is not going to be enough. He has to take ‘visible’ steps. Otherwise he will not be forgiven. It is good that he is abandoning the Prime Minister’s palace in Islamabad. The move is symbolic of his intent. He would deserve a palace when all Pakistanis can afford palaces. It reminds of the time an interviewer asked Chairman Mao Tse Tung “Are you against Capitalism?” Mao replied “No, we will be capitalists when each Chinese has capital”. So far everything seems right and Imran deserves to be supported by all nationalists. His statement in his opening speech about the rights of minorities is refreshing. The Pakistani government has previously failed miserably to serve its minorities, once a people are recognised constitutional minorities they become the responsibility of the state. It is good that he is abandoning the Prime Minister’s palace in Islamabad. The move is symbolic of his intent. He would deserve a palace when all Pakistanis can afford palaces. It reminds of the time an interviewer asked Chairman Mao Tse Tung “Are you against Capitalism?” Mao replied “No, we will be capitalists when each Chinese has Capital” Imran said some interesting things about foreign relations. He promised to mediate between Muslim majority countries and employ civilised negotiations and discussions, instead of unnecessary threats or violence. Imran extended the same message to India as well. Indian politicians must understand that they cannot suppress the will of Kashmiris forever. The people of this region have been seeking a peaceful existence and if Indian and Pakistani politicians don’t work to attain it for them then they commit a social crime. States need to live in peace and promote good relations between their people and not indulge in counter-productive activities as India and USA have been doing recently. In his famous address of August 11, 1947 to the Constitutional Assembly, Quaid-e-Azam clearly said that corruption and favouritism destroy a country. Nothing can be truer but, on the contrary, a shameful example in our country has been provided by some rulers of the past. In his concept of building the welfare state, Imran will need to refine his thoughts and work out a detailed program. The generic label of ‘serving the poor’ is not enough and has become a cliché used by all politician exploiting the needs of the masses for their own attainment of power. Different sections of the populace have different needs. They need to be served accordingly. Some things like health, housing and education are the obvious ones. There is also a mention of the youth by all politicians. What they forget to talk about is the almost 10% of our population that is made up of senior citizens. Seniors are those who have spent their best years in serving this country in one way or the other. Help the young by all means, they are your future but a country and a nation is nothing if it does not respect its past. Therefore, the needs of the seniors must be examined, categorised, and met to let them live honourably and contribute on the basis of their experience and health as long as they can. In USA, hindering the work or refusing work to anyone over 60, because of age, is a punishable crime unless there is a physical issue. While building a welfare state, a great deal of hard work is required. What was disappointing in Imran’s speech was his lack of awareness of our heritage. Pakistan is one of humanity’s oldest civilisations. It is a country from where the world can learn. He didn’t mention anything about culture, arts or sports. If he had mentioned these important aspects of our society, then he would have been the only leader in our history to give any importance to them. Imran is a distinguished sportsman himself and I do entertain the hope that he will pay culture and sports the attention they deserve and use these to build a better national image. One can see many political parties grumbling and putting the blame for their loss of votes on something other than their own shortcomings. They blame the Election Commission, mysterious powers, conspiracies, and so on. All these excuses are familiar to the public of Pakistan. All political parties must show maturity and a national spirit to contribute in the process nation building. ‘No political victimisation’ has been promised, and, for now let us believe it. Let us feel confident that it is our country and if it becomes better, enriched, respected and esteemed, we all will share the honour and walk with dignity. Finally I wish to remind Imran that South Punjab has supported you and they have expectations of a Provincial Status. It is also an administrative necessity for the country. Don’t let us down! The writer is Pakistani theatre, film and television actor, scholar, public speaker, columnist, teacher and dramatist Published in Daily Times, July 29th 2018.