“Rabb naray kay ghusun” is an unresolved dilemma spanning generations. It translates “Is God close or the punch thrown at you?” In this debate “God or the punch”, the pious claim that God is present in the main aorta, the arterial trunk that feeds the body. The realists state the punch is imminent while God’s intervention will come in its own time. A tough one to resolve; it is very similar to what is happening in Punjab by-elections. Last time I wrote on Punjab, I was lamenting with PM IK for saddling us with Buzdar. Drastic changes have occurred since. The future of Pakistan depends on the outcome of these by-elections. Centre and Punjab are following the “Basta Alif badmash” playbook of “dhamkee, touni, parcha tey peeshian”; akin to the Sicilian Mafia’s threats, beating, police intimidation or prolonged litigation. They beat up my elegant and articulate friend Ayaz Amir. It is despicable. Imran Riaz Khan is being shamefully dragged between courts facing multiple false FIRs. Sabir Shakir had to leave the country. Arshad Sharif, Sami Ibrahim, Kashif Abbasi and scores of valiant opinion-makers are being intimated and threatened. Yet, these heroes continue to stand tall. They question: why are the most corrupt fraudsters being shoved down the throats of this unfortunate nation? Can the courageous efforts of these principled heroes prevent Punjab’s power grab? I salute their struggle. Kudos. A backbreaking inflation has made life a living hell for all Pakistanis except the corrupt elite. A constituency-wise analysis of twenty “lota vacated” seats demonstrates that in a free and fair election, PTI will sweep. Army has loudly proclaimed disengagement. Who can steal these elections? They are the remnants’ of PML (N), its beneficiaries, police, civil administration, ECC and intelligence agencies under civilian control. How can these masters of poll rigging be stopped? Here is a seven-step solution: 1. Verify your name and address on the voters’ list immediately. Have it corrected if tampering has been done. 2. Despite the popular wave, go door to door for canvassing. Don’t prevaricate. 3. Arrange transportation for Election Day to ensure maximum votes are cast. 4. Prepare a list of volunteers for Election Day of at least 30 faithful at each polling station. They will provide security inside and outside guarantying fair play. 5. Never leave the ballot boxes unattended even at the risk of personal safety. 6. Resist any tempering and create a loud noise if such attempts are made, including filming such efforts to attract media and social media attention. 7. Do not leave the polling station without obtaining certified results even if you have to stand guard the whole night. No civilian force can resist such a forceful demonstration of willpower by the masses. It will break the historical chokehold of the corrupt. Let this resistance turn into a tsunami that will blow away the evil machinations of PML (N). What are the realities on the ground? I recap some events in recent history to help connect the dots. Pious pronouncements by this corrupt lot during PM IK’s tenure are fake. Claims of upholding the Constitution, rule of law, defence of human rights and freedom of speech went out the window as soon as they came to power. Their claimed expertise to manage the economy was a white lie. Sharif family is reliving their Gowal Mandi roots. When in power go for the jugular of the opponent; when beaten, grovel before the powers that be. Pretending to be on a deathbed, NS weaselled his way from jail to London. Within days he recovered without treatment. His escape is attributed by many to the naivety of PM IK with a nudge from the powerful. Nawaz Sharif viciously attacked the army leadership by name in Gujranwala. These attacks continued through Maryam and others in opposition. The army remained stoic for reasons best known to them. Why are they so sensitized now? After failing repeatedly to dislodge PM IK, they finally succeeded through the united efforts of Donald Lu, their nominated handlers, Zardaris’ Machiavellian traits and support from elements in the Establishment. It has happened in Pakistan many times starting from Liaqat Ali Khan. This time there are three differentiators. First, the target is IK, a man of deep faith, perseverance, and commitment who has nothing to lose. Second, it is the age of social media with no barriers. In this struggle, new heroes have emerged who cannot be tamed or controlled. Third, unlike previous regime changes when the public had celebrated, this time around they have protested loudly. Their unified resistance continues to grow each day. There is backbreaking inflation that has made life a living hell for all Pakistanis except the corrupt elite. The imported regime’s leadership is totally incapable. Speedster Shabaz is jumping from tree to tree without a direction or purpose. Only the enemies of Pakistan can rejoice in the present malaise. A victory in Punjab will confine him to the trees of Margala Hills! In a scenario where there is no intervention, PTI will prevail. Government or any other intervention and attempts of strong tactics will open gates to civil unrest never witnessed before in Pakistan. Let the people decide their future. God only helps those who help themselves. La Ilaha Illalah (There is no god except God) will determine the future of 220 million Pakistanis. The writer is the director of CERF, a non-profit, charitable organisation in Canada.