No saviours, please.

IF I could remove one word from the dictionary, it would be all the iterations of 'saviour'. No, I'm not selling anything remotely religious here. This idea came to me after a few weeks spent in 'Decemberistan', meeting more people than I have the entire year, wherein conversations turned to 'What is happening in Pakistan' almost straightaway. More than ever before, I heard discussions around 'Who will save Pakistan now?' Now was a reference to the disappointment folks felt at Imran Khan who, they reckoned, was the last hope for the country given how everyone from the 'corrupt cabal' had been tried and tested.

While no one explicitly said Pakistan also needed saving from the establishment's disastrous experiments, more people expressed resentment at their interference. This may seem a small step but I'm hopeful it has a big impact, especially when it comes time to vote.

Even I, who likes to identify as a happy cynic, can feel this uncertainty because I don't know what's coming next. Whatever type of governance emerges - technocrat, another compromised democratic set-up interested in protecting business and establishment interests - let us not pin hopes on one person or one institution. It is evident how placing expectations on either a popular leader or an army chief has resulted in more authoritarianism, more hatred, more intolerance, etc. I genuinely believe people want to come out of this dark side, including the many folks who say they want democracy but support systems that serve and protect the elite.

Let us not pin hopes on one person.

What really needs saving?

To those seeking to be saved, perhaps a moment of reflection is in order: how can people protect democracy from the forces who, frankly, don't believe in it? How did Pakistan come to this inflection point for its economy and democracy? What can be done to ensure resources and wealth are shared?

Last year, political leaders spent a great deal of time convincing Pakistanis, through the media, that X leader would save the economy. None of the supposed and promised saviours have delivered. I'm amazed we've not run out of saviours.

This saviour syndrome isn't limited to matters of governance. Women need to be saved by men, men need to be saved from wicked women, society from western influence and the list goes on. What if the word saving was replaced by safeguarding?

Pakistan's precarious democracy needs to be safeguarded. Supporters of popular political parties are hellbent on...

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