A state of deep anger and desperation seems to be taking over in the country. Everyone around appears to be on the edge as if heavens were about to fall down. Instead of engaging in rational discourse to achieve a level of clarity and move forward, there is an increasing propensity to be smitten by a reactionary syndrome that is both debilitating and destructive.Discordant and abrasive voices are emanating from multiple sources which reflect an abjectly crass disposition. It is like everyone trying to charter a course that would suit their personalised interests with little care for the collective good. Simultaneously, people seem to be consumed by the urge to bring their adversaries down irrespective of whether there is a need for this,and whether pursuing this course would do any good to improve their own political stakes.The opposition appears determined to attack the government on the inkling of a reason. While the Sharifs are already on the mat facing a plethora of corruption charges, the Bhutto/Zardari camp is intensifying their attacks in direct proportion to the strangulation they feel around their necks because of heinous acts committed by them, or on their behest, the latest being the unearthing of innumerable fake accounts for money laundering. In doing so, he must look at the policies that are being pursued and the people who are facilitating this. Pakistan deserves the best of both. Without hesitation, the prime minister should further fine-tune the targets and get rid of the team members who don’t measure up to the requisite standards forthwithOn the one hand, and on the quiet, there are pleas for foregoing transactions of the past and, on the other hand, in excessively aggressive tones, the government is being castigated for its breach of the traditional yardsticks and its days being counted with bated breath. Even good things which are taking place in stark contrast with the sickening practices of the past are being painted in the negative. The opposition sees absolutely nothing good happening principally because of the government’s resolve to pursue accountability, irrespective.Simultaneously, among the governing circles, two things appear to be missing. While individual excellence and expertise are scarce, there also seems to be an absence of a comprehensive and collective strategy to attain the stated objectives. Addressing his audience, the American conductor, David Robertson, reflected on the makeup of his orchestra: “When looking at strife in the world, and for examples of overcoming it, just think of the orchestra. All the instruments you see originated in different parts of the world. They have different histories and modifications. They look different and produce different sounds. But, here, they are playing together in harmony”.The government should function like an orchestra with everyone, though doing a specific job, performing in coordination and collaboration with other players who may be busy fulfilling their respective responsibilities. That has not been the case so far. This is further disheartening in the context of the high moral ground and the achievement bar that the prime minister had set for his government. I am reminded of the famed philosopher and academic, RaminJahanbegloo, who, while delivering a talk on “The pursuit of excellence and the role of philosophy”, said that “a life in excellence is an agency and a transformative force, a lived experience underpinning the dialogue and cross-fertilisation of cultures. Hence, to make the world a better place to live in, we must do a better job of ourselves. That is what a life in excellence stands for, and it is that which constitutes the final goal of humanity, when we rise from our present existence to a better life”.This, I thought, was the intent of the prime minister when he discarded, and rightly so, the conduct of the past rulers and spoke of generating better prospects for a starved land and provisioning hope and opportunities for an impoverished people. That was not a long while ago. I also fully understand that four months is too short a time span for judging the performance of a government, even less so writing its obituary. But, to escape the dragnet of condemnation, it must clearly show the direction in which it is headed and the goals which it targets to achieve in the longer duration.There is no questioning the good intentions of the prime minister. But, just nurturing or feeding on promises is not the food that this country has been starved for. It is moving further in transforming these good intentions into credible policies and mechanisms that would bring the desired change in the fate of the people.I am not the one who would be willing to concede that the prime minister is content with this state. I know he would be immensely disturbed with the apparent lack of direction and resolve that his administration appears to be stricken with. I am also sure that he would not rest unless he has succeeded in generating the requisite quotient of energy and clarity for delineating and accelerating the forward momentum.One also understands that the results of fundamental and structural reforms, which are likely to unfurl soon, take longer in showing.But, it has been a while since he took charge and, considering the abominable state in which the country was handed over to him, every day matters. That is why the lack of achievement so far rankles even more.All well-meaning people in the country want him and his administration to succeed, as indeed he should. He has struggled hard, and for long, to get the opportunity to put things right. But, one must also remember that, in spite of a lacklustre performance so far, it is only with him that there is a prospect of improvement. If he fails, there would be no hope left. The old and the decrepit lot would come charging back with a vengeance. The self-styled head of the Bhutto/Zardari camp, who took over the party vide a dubious will, is already prophesying his arrest by his successor and the Sharifs are over-eager to see him walking into the sunset. So, what possible options does the prime minister have at this juncture?The only option that he has is to succeed. But, for that to happen, he needs to conduct a reappraisal of what he has accomplished so far and, more importantly, what he has not, and why? Therein may be found the way to move further in pursuit of his goal of a better Pakistan.In doing so, he must look at the policies that are being pursued and the people who are facilitating this. Pakistan deserves the best of both. Without hesitation, the prime minister should further fine-tune the targets and get rid of the team members who don’t measure up to the requisite standards forthwith.Then, as a matter of practice, he should instruct the remaining ones to engage in doing more than just talking!The sound of drumbeats afar is captivating. But, it is only when we hear it close up that the real melody would resonate forth.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 HasanPublished in Daily Times, December 9th 2018.