Pakistan is passing through a critical phase because its economy is in very bad shape and its politics have been hijacked by inept, corrupt and intolerant bigots. When the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government came to power following the July 25 elections, its Chairman and now Prime Minister (PM) promised the people of Pakistan that he would uphold merit, rule of law, good governance and tolerance vis-à-vis the minorities. Four weeks down the road, it seems it will not be possible for the PTI government to resist and take a stand against those forces who since the last several decades are involved in corruption, nepotism, militancy, extremism, violence and terrorism in the name of religion.Religion is and should be a personal matter. When religion is politicized for vested interests and is misused by those who have taken law into their own hands, in that situation the writ of state is fragile and bound to fail. Unfortunately, recent events dispel the notion that in the so-called ‘Naya Pakistan’ — which was supposed to have a new system based on merit, rule of law and good governance will change the destiny of the people of this country. While in the last four weeks, there has been change is on paper in the shape of announcements and statements made by the PM and other PTI ministers, in reality things are not moving in the right direction. The honeymoon period is over for the PTI government and now each and every act from the PM and his government will be watched carefully by those seeking vengeance from the PTI for making their lives miserable. It seems, lack of political prudence and wisdom on the part of the PM will give ample opportunities to the present opposition parties to render the parliament and government non-functional.It is not only the issue of withdrawing the nomination of the renowned economist — Dr. Atif Mian — from the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) but countless other acts of nepotism which are taking place right under Imran Khan’s nose. The removal of DPO, Pakpatan Rizwan Gondal from his post and the suo motu notice taken by the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) against that removal; the political interference of PTI’s members of assembly particularly in Dera Ghazi Khan region of Punjab for influencing the transfer of officials and the use of helicopter and special planes by the Chief Minister of Punjab negate the commitments made by the PM for austerity and simplicity. After winning the elections, Imran Khan said that he will not be blackmailed, but he has already failed his first test — the Atif Mian episodeHere we must ask, can the culture of nepotism and corruption which has permeated the Pakistani state and society be changed?It is true that one month is not enough to pass judgments about the performance of the PTI led government in the centre and the three provinces of Pakistan, but one can judge from the decisions and U-turns of the government that they will definitely create more chaos in the days to come because of their failure to stick to their decisions. Critics of Imran Khan had predicted that he will be a total failure in his promises and commitments because of his contradictory behaviour and lack of wisdom about dealing with issues which require prudence, consistency, courage and commitment. It will be a great misfortune for the people of Pakistan if the PTI government fails to deliver. If this happens, it will be because of the new government’s own blunders and the fault-lines within the PTI. Damage control measures cannot compensate for the blunders and U-turns the PTI government has made in the past one month. After a 22 year-long struggle, and five years of constant confrontation with the PML-N government should have given the PTI Chairman the political maturity and wisdom he needs.There are three reasons the PTI government has not been able to deliver so far. The first is contradiction in theory and practice. The PM and his Federal Information Minister were initially firm on the appointment of Dr Atif Mian as a member Economic Advisory Council. But, when they came under pressure from religious extremists, they relegated and asked him to resign. Perhaps this was the biggest blunder committed by the PTI government, because it will provide enormous space to extremist groups. The lack of moral responsibility on the part of the PM to own his decision will surely provide an opportunity to his political opponents in the parliament. The PM may think that now they have strengthened their control on the instruments of power by having their governments in three provinces, appointing their governors in all the four provinces, electing their president and getting avowed support from the military but this is all an illusion. It doesn’t take much time for a government to become unpopular, particularly when the opposition is united and has substantial electoral strength. Secondly, the culture of intolerance, corruption and nepotism cannot be eradicated from Pakistan despite the commitments and pledges made by the PTI Chairman because the country is still feudal and tribal in its characteristics and even educated people have feudal mindsets, which tends to be authoritarian and encourages the misuse of power. If the government has succumbed under the pressure of a segment of clergy, it means it can again be blackmailed by various pressure groups. After winning the elections, Imran Khan said that he will not be blackmailed, but he has already failed his first test. Thirdly, Imran Khan has thus far, been unable to take action against his close associates against whom National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is conducting inquiries. One of these individuals is Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, because he cannot afford to offend someone who is privy to his secrets and weaknesses.It has been rightly said that the credibility of a new government is tested in the first month of its rule. And a month has passed since the PTI government came into power and it has been unsuccessful to take concrete steps for appointing people on the basis of merit, upholding the rule of law and ensuing good governance. ‘Darbari’ culture is still thriving and the sycophants who earlier used to pamper the previous regime have changed sides. None of this points to the change the PTI had promised in its election campaigns. The writer is Meritorious Professor of International Relations at the University of Karachi and can be reached at email@example.comPublished in Daily Times, September 14th 2018.