Not since Pakistan was founded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah has it had a political leader with a sense that the country is more than a territory on the map, but instead a place of purpose that has unique humanitarian obligations to its citizens. The concept of the Islamic welfare state championed by Jinnah had long been forgotten among a pseudo-hereditary political class that came to constitute more of a dysfunctional oligarchy than a government remotely representative of the people.
This year’s general election which brought PTI to power has already changed the fundamental relationship between state and citizen and the main reason for this is that Prime Minister Imran Khan has brought compassion, realism and patriotism to an office previously dominated be aloofness, idiotic grandiosity and selfishness. Imran’s launching of the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme will lead to the building of millions of modern homes throughout the country that will create tens of thousands of jobs and help shape new communities in the process. But with an unusually cold winter arriving early, many of the country’s poor and most vulnerable citizens simply cannot wait for the first houses to be built.
This has led Imran to order the erection of tent cities across major urban areas which will provide safe and dignified housing to the homeless.
Tents being setup in Lahore today as temporary Panah Gahs (shelters) for the homeless sleeping on the footpaths of the provincial capital. pic.twitter.com/psrsOnVfNG
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 24, 2018
The initiative on the part of Imran Khan demonstrates that his government operates not only with a different mentality to previous ones but that he is personally willing and able to take the action steps necessary to see that important and possibly life savaging initiatives are implemented without delay.
This is why it is all the more regrettable that those who see fit to criticise Imran’s every move – men and women typically associated with the failed PML-N and PPP parties, do so from a positive of morose negativity. While of course it is necessary to always professionally scrutinise the actions of any government, to defame Imran’s character and his intentions as many of his critics do on a regular basis is not just pathetic but immoral.
Imran Khan’s life story is one written with compassion and the current chapter is one centred on supreme personal sacrifice. After a successful career as a champion cricketer, Imran could have joined the corrupt political elite who would have welcomed his celebrity personality into their ranks. Instead he decided to fight the elite in order to transform politics and inject compassion into the national life of the nation. After decades in opposition, Imran won yet another fight and entered office as the political leader of the nation whose old elite tried but ultimately failed to stop him.
While previous Prime Ministers entered politics only to enrich themselves and later to protect themselves from justice, Imran’s goal remains one that seeks to enrich the Pakistani people while offering his constant service as a Prime Minister who in a matter of months has put in more time towards hands on problem solving than some of his predecessors did in a full political term. This in and of itself is not just a personal achievement for Imran or PTI – it is a national achievement. Pakistan at long last is led by a Prime Minister who cares deeply about his people, something which ought to be a prerequisite before entering high office.
The hungry who will now be fed, the cold who will now be warm and the forlorn who will now have a place where they can feel a sense of belonging. This is a testament to the fact that the edifice of justice and prosperity that is Naya Pakistan is being built brick by brick and step by step. It’s architect and its builder is Imran Khan. A man who made history in sport is now making history in politics. It appears as though his record in both will be equally significant.