IK2: Ghost protocol

The mission, Mr Khan, should you choose to accept it, is to pick up the pieces and rebuild the Quaid's original dream.

Fahd Husain December 24, 2011

Imran Khan and Tom Cruise have both arrived in Karachi on a Mission Impossible. Both are expected to draw large crowds this weekend in a bid to break political and cinematic box office records.

But while Cruise already has three successful missions under his belt, Khan is hoping for a a bumper sequel to his Lahore’s mega-smash. Today his big-budget, super-hyped, A-cast production opens up at Mazar-e-Quaid. Watch out for crazed crowds, fluttering flags and motivational music as pumped-up PTI-wallahs revel in the river of rhetoric flowing fast and furious.

Will Karachi ever be the same again? Will Khan succeed in healing the wounds of a city that bleeds? And will today’s rally mark the beginnings of a new political phenomenon in this metropolis? The message that Khan brings to Karachi is a powerful one. It may resonate among Karachiites who have seen their beloved city degenerate into fratricidal bloodletting and state-sponsored mayhem. But today’s PTI rally is not just about Karachi, it is about the possibilities of a new future that lurks in the shadows; a future only yearned for but never within grasp. This yearning is a powerful emotional force, flowing like a raging river just underneath the surface, invisible to the naked political eye, but its roar audible to those who put their ears to the ground.

The mission, Mr Khan, should you choose to accept it, is to reverse the decades of rot that has permeated the power politics of petty patronage in Pakistan. It is such politics which has reduced governance to a game played by a small clique of personalities trapped in their own web of vile vested interests, stifling social structures and perverted personal priorities. It is a game of the few, by the few, and for the few. And it has led to the Quaid’s country being reduced to a heap of dashed hopes, shattered dreams and scattered hope.

The mission, Mr Khan, should you choose to accept it, is to pick up the pieces and rebuild the original dream. A dream in which every Pakistani child goes to school regardless of his and her social and economic status; a dream in which every Pakistani citizen is equal in the eyes of the law, his dignity as human being and citizen preserved and guaranteed by the state. A dream in which justice is blind, and swift; in which the president and the peasant have the same rights and privileges and the general, the judge and the janitor all submit to the law of the land.

The mission, Mr Khan, should you choose to accept it, is to initiate a process of ruthless accountability which nets the fat cats who have gorged on the resources of the state by trampling its writ, and bending the law to their own will. The mission is to create a level playing field for every man, woman and child, and fencing this field with the rule of law. Fat cats — including those in your fold — are not used to competing on a level playing field. Can you, Mr Khan, make them bend to your will?

Easier said than done.

The mission, Mr Khan, should you choose to accept it, is to reform the state itself. The structures of this state, and its institutions, are crumbling through decades of abuse, manipulation and neglect. It is a state which has failed to deliver. Now it has perhaps even been stripped of its capacity to deliver. The reform will have to be deep, and wide, and merciless. Deadwood — regardless of rank and grade — will need to be chopped with a massive chainsaw. Rotting oaks — with roots deep in the system — will have to be felled with swift strokes, and discarded as firewood.

Easier said than done.

The mission, Mr Khan, should you choose to accept it, is to smash all those groups who speak the language of the gun. No society can flourish under the shadows of fear. Decades of demented state policy have promoted the art of war. Ballet is now subservient to the bullet. Citizens cower in fear of the state and its unchecked penchant for unleashing violence. Can you, Mr Khan, bite the bullet and outgun the gunslingers?

Easier said than done.

But with titans like Javed Hashmi on your side, you’ve got the wind at your back.

All this may be Mission Difficult, Mr Khan, but it’s not Mission Impossible.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2011.


shoaib | 9 years ago | Reply

We love IK.

Jango | 9 years ago | Reply

WAIT!!!...what about the self destruct part at the end?

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