Dear Khan Sahib, Six months ago, I stepped onto the cabin of an Islamabad-bound jetliner. I had made the journey countless times before, but this time was different. An excited and nervous chatter weaved across air humid with renewed hope. The passengers on this plane, almost without exception, were returning home for one very specific reason: to vote. The majority were flying home from London to vote for you, Khan Sahib, and I was one of them. I’ve always looked forward to coming home. I’d started my career in the business centers of Europe and felt the sharp pangs of pain and separation as I built a life in places that did not accept me, did not represent me. I felt the jabs of hypocrisy as a modern-day Janissary — an unwitting pawn in the global hegemonic game of immigration. But opportunity at home was scarce, and with few exceptions, distributed evenly across the nepotistic class. I, like many overseas Pakistanis, felt unable to fulfill a galling sense of duty to my country. So, I would bow my head and pray for a Pakistan that breaks through the shackles of oppressive, debased leadership. You, Khan Sahib, represented an answer to this prayer. Then you won, and we celebrated. I stayed up through the night with my family. Ustad Nusrat’s qawwali in the background, we cheered every seat you won, and between large swigs of doodh patti, we laughed, we rejoiced. This was a turning point, we thought. This meant change. We were wrong. You might assert, Khan Sahib, that I am too hasty in my judgement. After all, you have been in office a mere half year. Building nations takes decades, you might say, and I would agree. I understand that Pakistan’s rise as a genuine global player will take time. I do not fault you for seeking handouts from Saudi Arabia and China, even though this weakened your hand in negotiations with the IMF. It is not a crisis of your making. As has been asked of Pakistanis throughout our history, you will ask me to be patient, and rightly so. It is not your decisions on the economy or your foreign policy with which I take issue. I take issue with your moral failure. Jalsa after jalsa, you asked for my vote, promising to replenish Pakistan’s moral coffers, with wads of tolerance and fairness. You promised a “Naya Pakistan”: a Pakistan unified and tolerant, a fair and meritocratic Pakistan, a proud Pakistan with an empowered people. Yet, every day, these promises ring a hollower harmony. The act of the government, in appointing an altogether new batch of law officers for the Attorney General’s office casts a doubt on the intentions of the Government You chose not to appoint Atif Mian as Finance Minister and more disappointingly, reversed his appointment on the Economic Advisory Council. Because of his sect? Because he was Ahmadi? I do not pretend to understand the full extent of pressures that caused your decision, Khan Sahib, but I do fear its far-reaching implications. You essentially told overseas Pakistanis to contribute only if they fit a normative definition of Pakistani — in sect, tradition, and appearance. Atif Mian, of course, is Pakistan’s foremost economist. That he would not (at least) be invited to weigh in on the country’s economic woes is a disservice you are inflicting on us, the Pakistani people. It undermines meritocracy and sets up a precedent where it is acceptable to deny the deserving. Does the son or daughter of an Ahmadi have any less a claim to Iqbal’s dignified call to action: Astr-e-nau raat hai, dhundla sa sitaara tu hai.? Like you, I am a fan of platitudes. I believe actions speak louder than words. But yours mumble a piercing duplicity, Khan Sahib. You recently struck a deal with extremists to add Asia Bibi’s name to a no-fly list. That you would fail to provide protection to a Pakistani citizen suffering bigoted persecution and even further, impede her ability to escape said persecution makes you an abettor. There is a Shakespearean irony to it all. The leader of the ‘Movement for Justice’ believes in a lesser justice for some segments of society? It is against your rhetoric of bravery and truth, Khan Sahib. It is against everything you asked me to expect of you. Your political rise was awash with a revolutionary hue. It felt like an awakening: social, moral, and political. It strikes me now that it was perhaps a wail of desperation, of wounded hearts, and of assistance. With this in mind, I ask myself: Kyon ziakaar banoon, sood faraamosh rahoon? I have an obligation — to my country, my people, myself — to dissent. I ask for accountability, but I do not lose hope. I would vote for you again, Khan Sahib. I believe you can be the leader Pakistan needs. After my last trip home, I boarded another jetliner, to Boston in the United States. Here, people are fond of invoking Dr. King’s precept that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”. That sentiment is incomplete. I believe we must also will the arc to bend earlier and steeper. I am trying. Are you? The writer is a current Masters student at Harvard University studying politics. He has previously worked as a management consultant across Europe Published in Daily Times, December 14th 2018.