It is a veritable reality that we are the victims of an interest-driven drama repeated often, only changing hues, shades and slants in the process. What are the factors which have forced the elite interest groups to take a position that is so untenable and so detrimental to the prospect of the country becoming a transparent, functional and accountable democracy? In over seventy years, everyone who has come to rule the country has been driven by a self-aggrandising greed to perpetuate their hold on the levers of power, even that of their progeny. Caught up in a mix of military dictatorships and the unleashing of family dynasties, Pakistan has been witness to multiple palace intrigues directed at advancing the interests of a select band of rulers to hold sway on power to perpetuity, always exploiting the name of the hapless poor and the downtrodden. Be it Bhutto’s Islamic Socialism or the Sharifs’ infrastructure-driven model, at the core of it all was the lust to keep ruling eternally. Sometimes, the alleged sell-out at Tashkent was the ploy used to grab power while, on other occasions, it was the gambit of taking on the establishment that was exploited for garnering support. In the process, a corruption- and inefficiency-riddled model of dynastic politics took shape in the country spearheaded by the likes of Bhutto/Zardaris and Sharifs. They believed that they would take turns at ruling the country to the exclusion of all others. Working on the behest of military dictators, or by their own grandiose whims, this constituted the core of an ingrained malady to hold on to power by all means, fair or foul. These are difficult times which are likely to get murkier because in the success of Khan lurks the demise of the corruption-riddled order and the political future of those who cultivated and nurtured the sickness of dynastic politics. The palpable quiet on the Raiwind front and the give-and-take rounds traced to the Bhutto/Zardari camp are reflections of the lull before the looming storm Money was one constituent that was employed ever so indulgently to win over support and eliminate opposition. The money-for-politics model was first introduced by the Sharifs. Coming from a business background, they used it to their optimum advantage. They treated everyone as a commodity that was purchasable — and they had minted stocks of illicit funds to pay the price. By adding to the quotient of insatiable lust, even use of strong-arm tactics, this model was replicated by the Bhutto/Zardari clan. Much to their angst, sometime in the mid-nineties, along came a new voice — a voice that highlighted the ills of the brand of politics that afflicted the country and wowed to change it all. He was not treated with any seriousness as the dug-in politicos thought of undoing him through employing various mechanisms that they had mastered along the way: inducing him by offering him a few seats in the parliament, tarnishing his character, lampooning him, or just treating him as a no-good novice who would be subdued in an arena that the old hands knew well. Imran Khan was, indeed, a novice in politics. Exuding a charisma that had international bearing, he thought he would overpower adversity. But, he did not realise how deeply dug in were the tentacles of corruption and how the malady swayed a bulk of the players who mattered — be it the constituents, the legislature, the bureaucracy, the judiciary, or other sectors that played a role in driving the country. Consequently, he remained a voice in the wilderness for much of the initial fifteen years that he spent trying to understand and assimilate the engines for moving further. The one thing that stood him apart from the hordes that had remained centre-stage in politics was his incorruptibility and an unbending resolve to persevere. He latched on to it with a deep-set faith. His politics was different. It did not begin by popping out of the military’s lap. It was rooted in trying endlessly to make people understand his message and sift it from what they had been fed on for decades. Much that his adversaries tried, he refused to go as his persona grew with the force and conviction of his voice spreading to all corners and communities of the country. While his ascent to power through a narrow victory has not been an easy ride, the real task that lies ahead for him is delivering on promises that he had made through the initial years of his political journey as well as along the election trail. And it is here that he faces a bigger challenge than the one that he confronted while making a place for himself and his party in the traditional political arena controlled by the corrupt elite of the country and their battalions of cronies and bootleggers. In the process of assuming charge, and as a consequence of this, the illicit dole-outs from the state exchequer have stopped, thus depriving multiple interest-groups of their means to move further along the rags-to-riches trail. This has not only angered them. It has driven them seething mad. They are now out to dismantle something that they never thought would see the light of the day, and they are using all tactics and tools which are at their command, the spread of disinformation being a potent one. An evening of watching the agenda-laced and interest-driven pontiffs delivering their slanted sermons tells the whole story. At times, one does not even have to hear the words they speak. Just watching the expressions on their faces would reveal the hate that they carry inside. It makes for such a sad story. Not all is hunky dory in the government ranks either. The first ninety days have revealed many chinks in their armoury relating to a certain lack of direction, policies and the shortcomings of the people who have been entrusted with key responsibilities. While few doubt Khan’s sincerity and his commitment to doing good for the country, as he has proven on countless occasions in the past, or the dire challenges that he faces in the domain of national economy that he inherited from his predecessors, there are serious concerns about the clarity of objectives and the expertise that he has at his disposal. This becomes even more daunting as he has only a thin majority which necessitates its own compromises. These are difficult times which are likely to get murkier because in the success of Khan lurks the demise of the corruption-riddled order and the political future of those who cultivated and nurtured the sickness of dynastic politics. The palpable quiet on the Raiwind front and the give-and-take rounds traced to the Bhutto/Zardari camp are reflections of the lull before the looming storm. For Khan, there is no alternative but to press on resolutely in changing the way this country has been governed for decades. He must chisel a programme tailor-made to the needs of the state, put his best people forward even if he has to induct them from outside the party ranks, and add loads to the energy reservoir that he commands. Even more importantly, his representatives should engage in delivering than indulging the spoken word. In time, he’ll be measured on the bar that he has struggled so hard at raising. The writer is a political and security strategist, and heads the Regional Peace Institute — an Islamabad-based think-tank. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @Raoof Hasan Published in Daily Times, November 25th 2018.