We might be witnessing a tectonic shift in Pakistan’s socio-politics. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to the nation was so ambitious that some think he has promised the nation the moon. In individual lives and those of nations, idealism is a good thing, particularly when it is backed up with a solid action plan. In setting goals you shoot for the stars, and settle for an average or slightly above average result. Cynicism and supercilious criticism only perpetuate the status quo. And if there is one nation on earth that cannot survive the status quo it is Pakistan. Imran Khan has an exhaustive list for dealing with education and agriculture, corruption to climate change. His reading glasses are testimony to the fact that he has a thought out plan of action for each item. The changes that Imran Khan lists are only possible with a change in mindsets. Seventy-one years of explosive population growth, an imploding economy topped with baffling corruption has served to fashion the Pakistani psyche. Times were such that the middle class, the classic perpetuators of morality, maintained integrity and faced adversity with the rules they grew up with. But who can live on love and fresh air? Especially over the last thirty years or so, you see the survival of the fittest as a major highlight of Pakistani politics. My first brush with corruption was in 1982 when the clerk in Dow Medical College’s office demanded money for release of my mark sheet. But 2016 will go down in my family’s history as giving all of us PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. My mother, my daughter and I had travelled to Karachi so that Ammi could collect my late father’s pension. In current day Pakistan, your two options to get anything done are doling out money or applying influence. Those government servants know how to break you. And my distress was worsened at the plight of the many desperate faces roaming those halls that didn’t have the connections or wealth. How do people live with themselves spending millions of rupees on wedding outfits and functions? Especially when all around them, starving children are begging on the streets? The trend is set at the top. Everything, small or substantial, matters. To his credit Imran Khan knows this. His ill-fitting sherwani caused a buzz on social media and it seems a regular tailor stitched it. Furthermore he was brave enough to wear Peshawari chappals to his inauguration. Wearing that chappal, Imran Khan gives many messages; he is thumbing his nose at Western culture, showing pride in our attire and underscoring simplicity. When there is no fear of retribution and the whistle blower law comes into effect, there will be a nationwide movement to self-correct. Or else get turned in. Political leaders use Islamic principles to advocate their agendas, however they just become empty lectures when these leaders drive around in bullet proof luxury vehicles. Moreover they don’t own one or two- but fifteen to twenty of these vehicles. Their mansions have over 500 servants and food to feed a squadron. A three-bedroom home with two cars is a great start! Changing the mind-set that has been groomed and nurtured for decades is the challenge. Except for the elite one senses a national enough-is-enough frustration. How and why is life so difficult at every step, from the time one gets up, till the day is done? There is in fact a danger of the pendulum swinging the other way and the elite and corrupt getting street justice. Imran Khan assiduously avoided vengeance. And it is important to maintain this. A change in mind sets needs to happen but it must be modulated to achieve results and not revenge. I was very touched by his repeated emphasis on creating mercy in our hearts. One really notices its absence in Pakistan. How do people live with themselves spending millions of rupees on a wedding outfit and functions? Especially when all around them, starving children are begging on the streets? Mercy has been squashed out of our hearts and we’re blind to the misery around us. I was looking through clothes at boutiques on M. M. Alam Road in Lahore in July 2013; most of the outfits were Rs.25,000 and above. The power went out and the generator quickly hummed in. Under his breath the salesman said that the power outage didn’t matter to him for his six children sweat all day and studied by candlelight at night. I asked him how much he made and he said Rs.25,000 a month. I left the store and cursed our nation’s inequity. Qatra qatra darya ban jaatahai-drops coalesce to form a river. The cost of the Bhasha Dam is estimated to be Rs.1450 billion. The small Rs.10 SMS donation created by the Supreme Court, and then larger donations from Pakistanis and Overseas Pakistanis, can be the drops that can easily coalesce to give us the dam. All of us, within and outside Pakistan should take at least one action to change things. Plant a tree, clean your street, educate a child; the opportunities are limitless. Imran Khan has great minds in his cabinet and advisers. In five years if we achieve even half of his ‘lofty’ goals, we will easily see naya Pakistan. Dr.Mahjabeen Islam is an addiction medicine and family medicine physician practicing in Toledo, Ohio. email@example.com Published in Daily Times, August 22nd 2018.