Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him Zaboor 126:5-6
The anguish of political opposition, media in support and the liberated class of desi intellectuals is visible. To borrow a term from post 9/11, they are in Shock and Awe. In what they described as a stuttering and incoherent start by the present government, has taken an unexpected turn for the better. Certainly this is not what they had bet on. Frustration and anguish on the face of carpetbaggers is quickly turning to grief and despair. The ante of mischief will only escalate.
In the past five years they had shaped an environment in which Pakistan was to meltdown and the government to collapse like a house built on sand. This was to come as a reprisal, as and when they were voted out of power. The plan had definite external linkages tied to the notion of civilian supremacy. Out of power, anguished faces wanted to see the system collapse in the next two years. To chagrin, their wicked dreams were snubbed. Watch out for the logic of ill-fated economic czars in the next four weeks.
It was repeatedly pointed out in these columns that theirs was a cantankerous hitmen policy to bring Pakistan to a point of bad governance wherein ventilator support would make Pakistan pliable and discredited. That Pakistan was in a debt trap, current account deficit and stunted growth is to undermine the gravity of the situation. Pakistan’s financial crisis is far worse than imaginable.
The legacy this government inherited was not of its making. The previous government had systematically worked on a strategy built on idiosyncrasies and self-promotion in a manner that by the time the new government took over, the economy would have run dry. Not just the economy but many international agreements with long term consequences were shrouded in mysteries. It was a very tangled web and the maze succumbed many to IMF Mantra.
When Imran Khan took oath as the prime minister, the ship was derelict in rocky seas. He was inexperienced but had the trait of thinking out of box. When his choicest could see nothing but IMF, he brought in his toe crushers. Whatever his team may claim, it is him and him alone who has pulled Pakistan out of a very big embarrassment and crisis.
The litany of economic manipulations is amply documented in these columns.
The figure of 8.5 billion dollar reserves was virtual and elusive; in fact hardly one billion dollars in central bank reserves- nothing to cover the current account deficit. Economy of Pakistan had run aground.
Pakistan’s debt liabilities were imminent and the moneybag empty.
Circular debt in energy sector had ballooned to Rupees 11 billion.
Most IPPs had political connections. They did not hesitate to mock and jeer Pakistan in a British arbitration court.
The stock exchange was built on speculation.
Most of the consumer industry was in control of corrupt elites and politicians.
The central bank was continuing to underperform while private banks were thriving on fictitious accounts.
That IMF was complicit is to under state. All this had happened when there was a slump in international oil prices and right under the nose of an IMF Programme.
In politics built on external linkages, corruption, greed and revenge, Imran Khan had been pushed between the deep sea and a rock. Most expected and hoped that he would drown forever. The crises would halt investigations and court proceedings on their ill-gotten wealth. The dirty rich were shaping an environment when they would ride the waves of populism ‘back to power’; and so they kept saying on the vitriolic talk shows.
Their main bet was on Imran Khan’s inexperience and the many albatrosses they had craftily planted in every department and political sinew. They had invested for just such a scenario for four decades. They were sure that winds from the West would blow in their favour. The counter offensive seemed practical but destined to failure.
Inexperience could be a factor but not a limitation. Imran Khan was not a novice at comprehending the international financial system. He knew more about it than most politicians and adventurists. His constant left of center policies indicated his awareness to the many pitfalls that afflicted his country.
Opposition’s biggest failing was that it had failed to factorise that Imran Khan was dexterous, could marshal temperate willpower when hope was forlorn and thrived in a cornered tiger situation. He boldly took the gauntlet knowing it was now or never. He knew he had a limited space for manoeuvre but sure he would wriggle out. Characteristic of him, he took to turbulent waters. To everyone’s astonishment, he waded calmly onto a ledge and a lifeline to shores.
There was an intangible factor. Something no genius or devil can predict; the power of prayer. At the Holiest of Hollies he wept as he prayed. The tears flowed straight from his heart. He did not pray for his politics but for the people he was representing. Divine providence came from most unexpected events and quarters.
Like a hardy navy seal he emerged stronger from the turbulent waters that were crafted to drown him. In one jab, he had neutralised the venom of all conspiracists. This rock solid ledge is the pathway to everyone’s dream.
This is one of the first elements of Imran Khan coming into his own; of defying odds; being unpredictable and blessed with willpower as hard as tungsten carbide. Many more will follow. He will keep plunging head on into challenges with remarkable success.
The entire world knows he has inherited a system corrupt to the core. The world knows that those who preceded him endeared self-interests more than the interest of the country they governed. Wherever he will go, the aura of his personality, simplicity of his persuasions and his deep convictions will make statesmen realize, they face a romantic revolutionary, a man of peace and a dervish. They will believe and embrace him.
He is bound to succeed. His visits to China and Malaysia will be ground breaking, unprecedented and enduring for Pakistan’s future. This will follow with much more. The monuments of inertia that besiege him will eventually crumble like a house of cards. His detractors will keep spitting at the skies and let it fall on their faces like spit.
So the Godot has arrived by shattering the Greek myth.
Take us all, across the horizons and through the rainbows, infested ponds, peaks and valleys to the highest summit. Take us to our land of promise which is also your land of promise. We will endure the rigours, torments and poisonous darts to reach the cherished goals of humanity, egalitarianism, and self-esteem. Together we will celebrate the unity of being diverse. Take us to Jinnah's Dreamland.
Such is the strength of conviction, persuasion of honestly and most importantly, the Power of Prayer.