Cricket fans, rather the entire Pakistani nation was outrightly shocked by the sudden decision of New Zealanders to cancel the series of matches in Pakistan. With the dust raised by this extraordinary event settling, it has become clear that they took this decision on the frivolous security alert conveyed by the so-called five eyes at the behest of a hostile country. We know their decision has nothing to do with security apprehensions. It is purely motivated by political reasons to isolate Pakistan. The people of Pakistan were all praise for Prime Minister Ardern for having bravely confronted the nerve-wracking situation when a racist, fanatic and ideologically misguided Australian committed a dastardly terrorist crime in her country; ruthlessly attacking two mosques in Christchurch and indiscriminately killing over 50 Muslims-young and old, men and women. We were overwhelmed by her wise, composed and compassionate leadership and her spirit of humanism and human fraternity beyond cost, colour, creed, cultural and religious complexions. Her spontaneous outpour of grief and anger in the wake of the dreadful terrorist act touched the heart and soul of 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world. Madam Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and dear New Zealanders, your decision to use the gentleman’s game for the politically and diplomatically driven objectives of others has crudely altered our earlier image. It has reminded us of the nasty and brutish ways of this Hobbesian world. This is a moment of reckoning for the Pakistani nation. After the passing away of the father of the nation, the charge of this ship, by default or design, went to power-hungry, insincere, incompetent and dishonest captains. I wonder will this grave moment galvanise us as a nation; shaking us out of the stupor of political waywardness, religious arrogance, cultural chauvinism and acquisitive avarice for land, wealth and extravagance. A mirror view of our past behaviour as a nation is not so encouraging. We had dreamt of having land where democracy, rule of law, equality before the law, liberty in faith and worship, religious and ideological tolerance and fraternal coexistence, security of rights and privileges of religious and cultural minorities, would reign supreme. After the passing away of the father of the nation, the charge of this ship, by default or design, went to power-hungry, insincere, incompetent and dishonest captains. The Constituent Assembly squabbled over the constitutional framework for nine years. We indulged in experiments in the constitutional-making form of governance from powerful Governors-General to Presidents and Prime Ministers. Military leaders ruled the country for 32 years. Both civilian and military leaders had right priorities, as they erroneously believed, except for citizens’ basic right to education, healthcare, shelter, security of life and property. The gap between the rich and poor kept burgeoning with the powerful ruling the roost and the poor sinking into the depth of oppressive poverty. Both civilian and military leaders failed us in determining as to what Pakistan was-a theocratic state or a secular, liberal and progressive democracy, or a garrison state-with the result that this grand country has emerged as a confusing mélange of all this. We have a confused religion fragmented into a cluster of intolerant and extremist sectarian factions. Albert Einstein, recalling the pain inflicted on the Europeans by the sectarian anarchy, had woefully remarked, “a foolish religion in authority is the worst enemy of truth.” Islam is a sublime faith with comprehensive social and moral codes in which moderation, compassion, kindness, generosity, selflessness, unselfishness, sacrifice, truth, honesty, trust and trustworthiness, mutual help and peaceful coexistence reign supreme. It places more emphasis on the respect of the rights of fellow human beings and the observance of our duty to them than mere rituals. Unfortunately, we have lost sight of the above cardinal principles of Islam. The sectarian intolerance has been pitting one religious faction against the other. Intolerance, as Napoleon Hill tells us, closes the door to understanding and shuts out the light of intelligence. We have fallen prey to this intolerance in religion, ideology and politics. In this religious and ideological confusion, we failed to protect the rights and privileges of minorities in this land. We not only disallowed scientists, jurists, economists, scholars and intellectuals from minorities to play their role in the development of our country but we disowned them, forcing them to migrate to other more tolerant countries. The educated class of minorities has been seeking careers abroad rather than living in fear in their own country. The domestic compulsions, wrong foreign policy options and misplaced priorities found us in the tight embrace of the US from 2001 to 2018. We plunged into the Afghan war of the US euphemistically called anti-terrorism war earning the wrath of the Afghan warring militant groups and their affiliates. We rendered staggering sacrifices. We lost thousands of innocent lives and billions in economic loss. One whole generation of this nation has grown among the horrors of violence and bloodshed. We are reaping the crop of our follies. The democracy with political parties of hereditary leadership has been a farce. The political and administrative leadership, with a few exceptions, have remained enmeshed in extravagance squandering the precious resources of the country in ridiculous emulation of medieval monarchs and sultans. Their overpowering avarice for wealth and property has led them to indulgence in all vulgar practices to amass fortunes as represented by their palatial homes, commercial complexes and overflowing bank accounts in the country and abroad. Is there any alibi for further failure? We have unabashedly squandered all opportunities to disappoint this nation which, despite all suffering and sufferance, has always stood solid in crises and staged a remarkable comeback with renewed vigour and determination. Prime Minister Imran Khan has been an ardent admirer of every leader who has led his or her nation from the front, including Mr Jinnah, Kemal Ataturk, Nelson Mandela and Mahathir Muhammad. It is yet to see how far he will emulate his role models to take this nation out of the current despairing situation. The author was a member of the Foreign Service of Pakistan and he has authored two books.