According to Dwight D. Eisenhower, “The supreme quality of leadership is unquestionably integrity”. Compromising on core values, democratic norms and integrity are Machiavellian traits to be used as part of the political game in the name of strategy or flexibility. The compromising characters are sure to receive both embarrassment and opprobrium. The PM has justifiably been censured across the sections of the society, including political bigwigs for his controversial concept of taking U-turns. Prime Minister Imran Khan said the real leader of a nation always takes U-turns and changes his or her strategy according to the situation and the need of the hour. According to the PM, “Both Hitler and Napoleon faced defeat as they did not change their strategies according to the situation and (as a result) both the armies met their Waterloo in Russia”. Thankfully, Pakistan is not in a warlike situation hence the comparison is not only odd, but also out of touch with the situation on ground. Tackling governance issues, and economic crises inherited from the past government and handling war is as different as chalk and cheese. Leaders live in the real human world rather than in a utopian one. They are supposed to be visionaries, looking ahead of their time and planning policies as well as taking decisions with prudence but once the decisions have been taken, they stand by it. They also measure their words before speaking and suiting their actions according to their words /promises made. Seemingly, it has dawned upon Prime Minister Imran that he has bitten off more than he can chew. Faced with few takers for his heady version of Naya Pakistan; the PM understands that he is going to be grilled by both masses and the media for his failure to give a clear roadmap and an unpromising beginning. He earlier had asked both to be mild to his government for the first three months. This is the reason why, the PM has started justifying U-turns taken and some others that would be taken given poor planning and compromises made in the name of strategy. Certainly, euphoria emanating from IK’s ascension to the highest public office has evaporated and he has realised the enormity of his responsibility and an over ambitious agenda to be beyond his capacity in the face of prevailing economic challenges, governance issues and an uphill task ahead of ushering in Naya Pakistan through the promised revolutionary reforms. PTI leadership created a high moral ground and made tall claims for the execution of “Naya” “Clean Pakistan” which has not been materialised in the desired way. Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar suspended politically-motivated transfer of the Islamabad police chief Jan Muhammad after the news surfaced that he had been removed from his post following verbal directives from Prime Minister Imran Khan. Importantly, demoralised Jan Muhammad, despite court intervention, has asked to be excused to continue under current conditions The PTI during election campaign created hype that if voted to power, in Naya Pakistan cabinet with clean characters, clean governance, no cronyism, no political influence in posting and transfer of bureaucracy, making of a Medina like welfare state, meritocracy, retribution of money from the corrupt and quick fixes in accountability, and no bailout packages from International Monetary Fund (IMF) etc will be sought. This was both the pre- and post-election narrative fed to the population. The PM, wet behind the ears in terms of governance, had promised not to visit foreign countries in the first three months. However, desperate to get aid packages needed to improve economic crises, he visited Saudi Arabia, China, UAE and Malaysia to date. Also, PTI supremo was dismissive of going to International Monetary Fund (IMF) when he was the opposition. But, a much-needed bailout package was discussed with the IMF team that came to assess the case as well as fix terms and conditions for loan to be given to Pakistan. The bailout package has been deferred to January 2019, due to the heavy IMF wish list and tough terms and conditions. The retribution of alleged looted money from the corrupt that PTI leadership had touted to underpin the ailing economy, is far from being deposited in national coffers due to the lenient and lengthy legal process. Clean cabinet? The promise of inducting a clean cabinet faded faster than expected. Some cabinet ministers and advisors taken are facing corruption cases as well as the misuse of authority. Aleem Khan was inducted as Punjab’s senior minister despite being found guilty in EOBI land scam. Appointment of Zulfi Bukhari as Special assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Overseas Pakistanis & Human Resource Development, has been challenged on the grounds of his dual nationality. Political transfers: Police is the most politicised institution in the country, because of this every new provincial and federal government’s top priority is placing pliant high rank officers; a series of reshuffle in police postings, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP ) Mian Saqib Nisar suspended politically -motivated transfer of the Islamabad police chief Jan Muhammad after the news surfaced that he had been removed from his post following verbal directives from Prime Minister Imran Khan. Importantly, demoralised Jan Muhammad, despite court intervention, has asked to be excused to continue under current conditions. Earlier, in the wake of Pakpattan controversy, DPO Pakpattan had been abruptly removed from his post in the middle of night following his failure to visit the Maneka family. Besides, Amjad Javed Saleemi, the Sindh IGP, was replaced by Kaleem Imam, the Punjab IGP, in September. In Malaysia, while talking to Pakistani community, our Prime Minister instead of highlighted his government’s performance and future policy plans, resorted on a vilification campaign against opposition, saying they were united to protect their looted wealth and were conspiring against his government. The tone assumed by the PM, was suited to a politician addressing an election rally than the Head of Government. Political criticism and political disagreement is the democratic right of the opposition. It cannot be condemned as conspiracy against democracy rather such vigilance by the opposition can put pressure on the government for better governance and public service delivery. What revolutionary policies and structural changes has PTI government prioritised that are opposed by the opposition parties? It would be wise to remind the PM that mainstream opposition parties PML-N and PPP had unconditionally put their weight behind the PTI government to restore writ of the state when right-wingers under the umbrella of TLP stoked flames of extremism in the country in the wake of Asia Bibi’s acquittal. Besides, why should the opposition parties be trying to bring down this civilian -setup when its poor performance and contradiction between the PM’s words and actions are set to bring about his political downfall. Changing destiny of the nation and making a difference, demands rising above party politics, strengthening democratic order and political unity, implementing parliamentary tradition and rule of law. It would be prudent to advise the PM to take the last U-turn in order to revisit policies, reset priorities and much needed – political direction. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. (John C Maxwell). Time to correct the course, Mr.Prime Minister. The writer is an Educationist and a freelance contributor; he can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, November 30th 2018.