On a day when the nation is celebrating the 71st Independence Day with due reverence and paying tribute to the memory of the country’s founder Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the newly elected parliamentarians are all set to elect the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), and its allies in the National Assembly, have leading numbers and Imran Khan is most likely to be the new PM when he takes the oath on August 18. Will the slogan of ‘Naya Pakistan’, corresponding to the vision of Quaid-i-Azam, be materialized by the PTI, or will it be yet another example of our dying expectations from our politicians?Pakistan owes its creation to the leadership and vision of Quaid-i-Azam who, through his mantra of ‘Unity, Faith and Discipline’, converted the Muslim nation into a dynamic force that swept the sub-continent and altered the destinies of millions by laying the foundation for the second biggest Muslim state in the world- an achievement without parallel in the annals of civilization. Whatever little time he had after independence, the Quaid tried hard to run the affairs of Pakistan, to pass on this commitment as his legacy to the leadership and citizens of the new nation. Mr Jinnah was something more than the Quaid-i-Azam, supreme head of the state, to the people who followed him. He commanded their imagination, as well as their confidence. With his unusual powers of persuasion, luminous exposition, searching arguments, and sound judgment, the Quaid was able to win the battle for Pakistan. Throughout his career as a politician and a legislator, his dedication to the rule of law and constitutionalism was unswerving. In the short span of seven decades, his successors have made a mockery of these values. It is not as if there has been no progress and development. No country ever wholly stagnates. We have progressed in many fields. We have become a nuclear power. Our economy has expanded. The cities of the Quaid’s days have grown beyond belief, and glittering new palaces have come up everywhere. It would have been impossible to stand still for seven decades but the benefits of development have been unevenly spread, and mostly have aided the privileged classes. For years together we have functioned without the benefit of constitutional governance. There has to be a future for Pakistan beyond all the skulduggery of the past and the present. There is no doubt that the Quaid wanted to see the country move ahead and prosper in all fields of life. “The first duty of the government is to maintain law and order. The second thing that occurs to me is… bribery and corruption. That really is a poison” he said in his speech on 11 Aug 1947. And today, the poison Quaid referred to has spread like cancer. That is the greatest disservice one can do to the father of the nation, and we, as a nation, do it every single day. Indeed, we have so weakened the Quaid’s ideals that some people question whether they are any longer relevant as a frame of reference. But it would be a grievous mistake if we fell into the error of seeking to compromise further on his faith in democracy as the only course for Pakistan to follow. With our repeated deviations from universally accepted principles, we are often spoken of as an anachronism in today’s world moving towards political and social emancipation.It is not as if there has been no progress. No country ever wholly stagnates. It would have been impossible to stand still for seven decades, but the benefits of development have been unevenly spreadToday a national consensus is needed, based on the precepts of our founding fathers and the experience of the past 70 years, on the direction in which we want to progress. The start of a new dawn, a new era for Pakistan is here. The nation has placed its confidence in the slogan of ‘Naya Pakistan’ which according to Imran Khan is the “reclaiming of Jinnah’s vision”. Will there be a genuine change of heart and direction? Accountability for all, austerity, good governance, tax reforms, pro-poor policies, friendly relations with neighbouring countries can make a difference. Naya Pakistan will be a welfare state, a model followed in Scandinavian countries. In Naya Pakistan, the people will be masters of their own destinies, they will be politically and economically empowered, there will be non-political model of policing, and instant and quality justice through comprehensive judicial reforms. Naya Pakistan will see industrial and agriculture revival, improved employment opportunities, overcoming electricity and water shortage, restored law & order, economic stability, educational reforms in schools, religious seminaries and vocational centres, and enriched foreign policy. And this is what people believe and the PTI manifesto says. Naya Pakistan can be more stable if the constituent units are given a strong stake in their strength and vitality. This means not only economic growth in underdeveloped provinces and regions, but also a proper devolution of powers from the centre downwards. It is no surprise that the journey to Naya Pakistan is challenging since it hopes to emulate Quaid’s vision for a modern nation-state, constitutionalism, rule of law, ethical and moral values, governance, and social and economic justice. The journey is possible only with active participation of each citizen without prejudice, tolerance, understanding, empathy and openness to diversity.We must understand that a nation progresses through the attitude of its people that honours the basic principles of life like ethics, integrity, responsibility, productive will and punctuality. Unfortunately, we as a nation, take advantage over everything and everyone. We are in this state because we see something done wrong and say ‘let it be’. We should have a spirited attitude. We need to pledge this day as a reminder that we all have a duty to fulfil. Let us be Pakistani, and let us celebrate this Independence Day by vowing to contribute and play our individual part towards making this ‘Naya Pakistan’. The writer is PhD Political Science, and Civil Servant based in Islamabad. He can be reached at email@example.com and tweet@zafarkhansafdarPublished in Daily Times, August 14th 2018.