Pakistan is a country where the desire for a new leadership is immensely strong especially in the middle-class strata who are tired of traditional leadership. Most of them think that the emergence of new leadership is only a mysterious event which can only be seen by doing relentless prayers and chants. But, reality is that the emergence of new leadership is caused by rapid, effective and efficient socio-economic changes to which the leaders must be adaptable. Indeed, there are many hurdles coming in their way, yet their way of handling them and response to it speaks volume.
In order to expand their influence and power, they do not keep their interests to core coalition only rather they extend their interests beyond those who have dissent and conflict to their interests. They listen and understand their disagreements and try to evolve a middle path whereby they can take them with themselves to achieve their master goals. They analyze every situation and problem, they seek to understand the gravity of issues and in addition, they go for solution to these problems collectively.
For instance, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was a lawyer by profession and hailed from a wealthy business family. Initially, the agenda of his support revolved around the Muslims professionals and business community and groups living in Hindu-majority areas. But, this coalition was not a winning as it was witnessed in 1937 elections. Subsequently, he extended his agenda towards the Muslim-majority areas, landlords, tribal leaders and clergymen. The success of his changed-agenda can be gauged from the weakening of the British Empire ruling in the subcontinent during the Second World War. The new event created a mantra of freedom compelling the British to leave India in the constitutional means. The Jinnah, therefore, changes his agenda towards freedom of India from the clutches of British Imperialism. He directed his efforts towards Pakistan movement.
The subsequent leadership could not sustain the dynamic of Quaid’s leadership. Soon after 1947, political leaders became relegated. This, in turn, created dissent amongst them whose interests were not upheld by unelected leaders. To fill this vacuum, people-cum-leaders like Mujib Ur Rehman and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto emerged on the scene to highlight this dissent. But to their unfortunate, both belonged to complete different social backgrounds whose social structure was totally different.
Indeed, Mujib belonged from a humble background and rose to the heights of politics from the grass root level of student politics. On the other hand, Bhutto hailing from a royal family was an aristocrat. He was dragged into politics by a dictator, later on, he built a political career. The Mujib’s political agenda was more mass oriented whereas the Bhutto’s inclination towards aristocracy and socialism made the former overcome his agenda.
The rise of Bhutto instigated many ruler ruling elites to wrest power back from the urbanites. This conundrum created a chaos after which both leaders were apprehended but later on, acquitted after witnessing political collapse. Similarly, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto took the reign of the country as new leaders of this nation. But, their governments clamped down shortly on account of corruption and money laundering. The most important thing to notice here is that both leaders hailed from an elite class.
Moreover, the rise of Imran Khan did give a tough time to Nawaz and Co in the Punjab which was their bastion to a great extent. But, the latter resurrected itself in the province by amalgamating the mass support of middle-class ruling elites. The leadership of Imran Khan does not possess the Quaid’s charisma to fix prevailing problems of governance and socio-economic disparities.
The dilemma in Pakistan is that all the leaders happened to rule this country hailed from an elite background. No one elected from a middle or lower-middle class stratum of society who could understand the real issues of the masses prevailing at the grass-root level.
The similar is the case with today’s corporate world. Young CEOs and directors are running the companies and its affairs as the legacy of their forefathers. But, one may hardly find someone at the top-management position from a lower-middle class background. It is the reason that we may find the banks and other financial institutions running by these self-nominated seths who pay their employees grab.
If Pakistan has to have new and dynamic leadership, then it has to undergo robust and impeccable socioeconomic changes whereby it can extract true leadership which must have all those qualities which the Jinnah had.
Saqib Khan Yusuf Zai
Lecturer, Professional Trainer & Management Consultant