Last week, Imran Khan and his party had planned to organise a large demonstration, dharna, in Islamabad. The police and other security agencies in the country were tasked with keeping the public and the demonstrators safe, did their work, blocking many demonstrators coming from other cities from reaching the capital. I am glad they had such foresight and competence. And it was luck and wisdom that the Supreme Court decided to hear the Panama cases, which much of Imran Khan’s grievances and causes for the dharna was about. Well, if it hadn’t been Panama, maybe he would have highlighted something else?

I believe that Imran Khan goes too far in outside-parliamentarian ways of national protests and demands; in many ways he keeps the government hostage to his and PTI’s opinions. Even those who are not happy with certain ways the current government is ruling, should follow the political rules of the land, especially since the government did win the general elections in May 2013, and the new elections are due by May 2018.

We must find ways of expressing ideological and practical political opinions within the rules of any country. In Pakistan, I believe there is need for more debate and new forums to debate politics, but without therefore expecting quick changes and easy fixes of one’s wishes and demands. Democracy is like a slow moving train, and the passengers aboard the train should travel and discuss comfortably – and those who have to wait for the next train, must wait peacefully on the stage.

On the other side, we find those who go outside the system and demand changes and power without popular support in elections; in Pakistan, the military has interrupted democratic rule many times.

In Pakistan, I hope that PTI and other forces that are anxious to see change fast, follow the rules of democracy in the country and the world. Indeed, it is hoped that the military stays in their barracks and carry out their duties as designed by their bosses, the elected political leaders – yes, even if and when there are shortcomings and mistakes on the elected leaders. Authoritarianism is defined by those who have more strength and (military) power to decide what is right or wrong. Democracy is defined by the people’s wishes, even when the people may be wrong.

That leads me to comment on some other trends in our time, universally and internationally – and at the end, also in USA yesterday – since it seems that democratic and parliamentary politics isn’t quite what it used to be any more. Populism is on the rise; logical, technocrat rule is on decline. Existing political paradigms for people’s rule are being questioned, even dismissed.

When we get surprised at outcomes, it is easy to say that people don’t know what they say and do; they vote emotionally or selfishly without seeing that their opinions may not be informed, even in their own long term interest. Yet, if we say that, we are also autocratic, even if we may be right, as seen from the side of establishment politicians and social scientists.

Our political parties seem to be slow in realising and integrating the populist political trends, which means that the ‘old, linear political thinking’ is insufficient and political leaders are responsible for the ‘political surprises’ we see.

It is also a fact that political leaders have become part of the scientific and technocratic knowledge world we all live in to such an extent that they have lost much of the time and ability to listen to the people they represent. In many ways, leaders are technocrats and too close to the civil servants rather than being ideological, moral and social leaders, plus results-oriented politicians, of course. But politicians don’t need to be too practical; we have civil servants, the private sector and others to implement activities.

In future, therefore, we need to revive political systems and parties so that they can handle the modern times, where new and unexpected demands are put on the agenda. In addition, we need to understand and use better the modern communication forms. There may be entirely new forms of communication between parties and other organizations, their leaders and the different groups of people.

In the latest, today, I am surprised and quite shocked that Donald Trump has become the winner of the American presidential election. He will be the next president of the superpower. The new leader and his loose political agenda and programme will have major impact on USA, and indirectly, on the rest of the world.

In many ways, I believe the new leader represents the time we live in – and I admit I neither like nor understand much of it. I also suspect that president-elect Donald Trump himself is also quite bewildered. That means that much is to be shaped and formed before his often unorthodox statements and opinions can be turned into politics and concrete action.

Let me also note the fact that when Donald Trump could indeed win the American elections, a major part of it is not new and modern, but rather based on old-fashioned power-thinking, not of modern parties and movements, but of the old world. It seems that we are stuck in the past more than we realise, meaning that change is more complicated than we often believe, and that new ideas are not always internalised in people’s values. Among other things, I wonder if we have really become as gender sensitive as we think, and as race and colour-blind as we say we are. Trump seems to have staunch support from many of the reactionary, old guard, those who are against many of the new values in our global world.

It is the ‘day after’, and it is a day when some of us feel we have a hang-over, having burnt the midnight oil in vain, yet, without having realised or admitted, much of what goes on in Donald Trump’s USA also takes place to some extent in Imran Khan’s Pakistan. And then, the anti-establishment movements do also have lessons to teach the rest of us.

Contradicting myself then, let me also express hope that in any country, indeed in America, the state, the apparatus behind the scene, will not let any politician loose – that Trump and the others are not only kept under control and surveillance, but that the Congress also plays its role better. After all, the power is meant to be with all the elected leaders, not only the presidency. In foreign policy, we know that it is the State Department and the military men in Pentagon that control what becomes policy, not any individual, not even the president. It is good that he will never really be Commander-in-Chief and have a finger on the nuclear button. But then, the Pentagon and everything else must also be controlled better, as is the role of the Congress and others in a democratic America – the world greatest democracy, they like to say.