It is time we changed the bowler

Today, its our good fortune to have found the right leader whose character, integrity, credibility and ability fit the tide of history. He has courage, stamina, patriotism, idealism and habit of hard work that have become part of his being. Today he alone embodies something like the nation’s romantic dream of itself. 



by Roedad Khan


“Perhaps no form of government”, said the historian and diplomat Lord Bryce, “needs great leaders so much as democracy”. The corrupt leadership ruling Pakistan today has proved unable to govern a country rent by political, ethnic, economic, and social conflicts. No wonder, Pakistan is a nightmare of despair and despondency, in doubt about its future.

The rich are getting richer, while the poor, well, they are still dirt poor and are sinking deeper and deeper into a black hole of abject poverty. The country appears to be adrift, lacking confidence about its future. Disaster and frustration roam the political landscape. Look into the eyes of a Pakistani today and you will see a smouldering rage.

“In a president character is everything”, Peggy Noonan writes in her assessment of Ronald Reagan. “A president does not have to be brilliant. Harry Truman was not brilliant and he helped save Western Europe from Stalin. He does not have to be clever, you can hire clever… but you cannot rent a strong moral sense. You can’t acquire it in the presidency. You carry it with you”.

If a president has integrity, if he has credibility, if he is believable, nothing else matters. If, like Zardari, he has no integrity, and no credibility: if there is a gap between what he says and what he does, nothing else matters and he cannot govern.

We live in a country that is terribly wrong and politically off course. When will this tormented country be whole again? When will this sad country be normal again? The engine is broken. Somebody has got to get under the hood and fix it. Can Imran ride the storm raging outside like Valkyrie, determined to save Pakistan?

A palpable sense of melancholy pervades Pakistan. Tragedy aplenty: No cash. No gas. No electricity. No hope. And Zardari. At last, people have found their life’s mission: fight corrupt, discredited rulers, elected or unelected. And I believe they have also found the tool to achieve this uphill task: massive street demonstrations and rallies.

 These are critical days in Pakistan. There is no steady hand on the tiller of the government. The survival of the country, its sovereignty, its stunted democracy, its hard-won independent judiciary, all are on the line. In these dangerous times, anything is possible. I shall not be surprised at any event that may happen. The country is gripped by fear and uncertainty. Today the country is as near to anarchy as society can approach without dissolution.

These are dangerous times in our country. These are also anti-elitist times. Angry mobs are howling for retribution. Pakistan is seething in ferment and in disarray. This is dangerous. Under an imbecile and feeble government, as we have today, there is but one step from discontent to revolution. A sad situation but true.

Today Imran is the only truly national figure in the bleak, fragmented Pakistani landscape. In this atmosphere of gloom and doom, destiny is beckoning him. Today he is the right man, at the right time and the right place to shake up this stagnant nation’s sclerotic status quo and dislodge the corrupt leaders catapulted to the summit of power in the wake of Benazir’s assassination. It is our good fortune to have found the right leader whose character, integrity, credibility and ability fit the tide of history. He has courage, stamina, patriotism, idealism and habit of hard work that have become part of his being. Today he alone embodies something like the nation’s romantic dream of itself. 

How will he reconcile hordes of political leaders, with diverse backgrounds and conflicting ambitions, gravitating towards him? As cricket captain, dealing with cantankerous team players required more dexterity than most politicians expend in a lifetime. Keeping them together has made interaction with party leaders seem like a walk in the park.

It is amazing how history repeats itself. After the massive, unprecedented jalsa in Karachi, Imran’s political career (like Bhutto’s from 1966 to 1970) has turned into a love affair with the people of Pakistan. Like ZAB’s short period of four years, it now appears as if Imran and the people of Pakistan were made for each other. Nothing can stop him now from capturing political power. But “power is heady wine”, Churchill once said. Let us hope and pray it does not turn Imran’s head.

Citizens! The wheel is turning, it is time for Zardari to go. It is time we changed the bowler.

Writer is a former federal secretary. Email:

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4 replies to “It is time we changed the bowler

  1. A superficial change won’t cause a real change in Pakistan. The country needs a fundamental change. Only a modern, democratic, educated and secular Pakistan with liberal policies can be the instrument and result of such real change. Imran Khan along with MQM and Musharraf can initiate such a change.

  2. What ever has been passed on through this article is waste of our precious time. We have reached this stage with the blessings of the federal secretaries like him [Roedad Khan]. This is a sequel of the same grate game played by the so called leaders of Pakistan with the help of federal secretaries. The only difference is earlier the game was played through the army in forefront, now the game is being played with the judiciary in the forefront. This is just a white wash process taking place. Do not have big expectation. We will change the rules of the game one day not under Imran Khan but some one more reliable and trustworthy. The entire system has to be changed. With the existing system nothing is going to change, no matter whoever you put as the leader. The process has started; might take another 30 odd years to have a cleaner & better Pakistan.

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