In one of the upscale restaurants of the capital, some of the known national-fame intellectuals are found in the middle of a heated discussion. Two of them will soon be appearing on different TV channels to offer valuable analyses on internal politics and international affairs.

First:   Of course, contrary to classical economics, Keynesian economics primarily focused on using any government’s policy to manage aggregate demand. The idea was to address and prevent economic recession and to fight unemployment by devising a viable monetary policy. It is wrong to assume that such theories have become obsolete in a modern day world. People have started discarding old ideas without any rhyme or reason. This is sad.

Second: Everything revolves around psychology. Freudian theories should be taught in Pakistani schools particularly his concept of the unconscious mind and emotions that lie outside its awareness. If you know that even your leader’s personality is made up of the id, the ego and the superego, you would be in a better position to analyze his or her policies. The context is very important. One’s childhood must be studied carefully to understand various psychosexual stages particularly the libido’s pleasure-seeking energy, its nature and extent.

Third: You cannot move an inch forward without having a solid democratic system in the country. What is economics and psychology going to produce if your environment is not conducive to flourish independently? I disagree with the idea of any forceful change just because a certain society’s governance is not up to the mark. Let the democratic process take its usual course. People need to understand that no nation can be strong without rendering sacrifices. You are just seventy-odd years old. You are too young to become a truly strong nation and please don’t bring in comparisons. Each country needs to be seen in its own historical perspective.

Fourth: I think early election is not going to solve anything. In fact, elections do not solve anything. We have issues of basic morality. Free and fair elections could never bring any change in society’s mindset. The reality is that the elite want power at any cost. The rulers are there to rule while the ruled are there to be ruled over. And, please don’t tell me that the country is going through a critical phase. Was there any day, month or year in the past over seventy years that Pakistan was not going through a critical phase?

Fifth: Timing is very important. They should not hurriedly strike just because they have a hammer and a nail. If the hen is laying a golden egg every day, do not just slaughter it in search of countless eggs. Secondly, remember Hitler and the battle of Stalingrad? It wasn’t the Russians who defeated him. It was the unbearable cold weather that his army could not cope with. If only he had listened to his advisor on the timing of the attack..!! Strategies that cannot be translated at tactical levels must be discarded.

Sixth: Poetry’s relevance in society cannot be overlooked. I firmly believe in the power of poetry especially when it comes to motivate the younger generation. Celebrating ‘Iqbal Day’ once a year might be Islamabad’s official obligation. But it is of no use until the younger generation is introduced to Iqbal and his Urdu & Persian poetry in the real sense of the word. Unfortunately, even the educated people do not understand Iqbal’s concepts. No one on the stage knows what they are talking about even on Iqbal’s Urdu poetry. I think his Persian poetry is understood only in Iran. What a waste..!!

Seventh: The entire world has been taken hostage by social media. Technology has overturned all tables of logic and understanding. Whoever rules social media, will rule the world. Wars are being fought on TV screens and decisions are being taken after looking at the trends set by Twitter. Newspapers have lost relevance. Websites are mushrooming. Even the most sensationalizing news item is taken as routine. When will we understand that it’s a totally changed world we are living in. Economics, psychology, poetry and politics have all lost relevance. Misinformation, disinformation and hybrid ways of implementing plans have overtaken the conventional ways of warfare. Only one thing remains the same as before. Might is still right.

Eighth: Let the people decide what kind of governmental set-up they want. The so-called liberals can only make good speeches. On the other hand, the traditionalists are increasingly losing ground as they are not able to defend their value systems anymore. The idealists are cursing everyone while the realists, as in the ancient times, are still sticking to the so-called argument of sustainability through logic and facts. The powerful are not bothered about logic or arguments. The poor are getting poorer. Hell is other people, said Sartre. Being a professor of philosophy for thirty years, I still cannot understand the real wish of the people of this country. What do they want? If they want to change the leadership, what is restricting them from doing so? Amazing people of my country…! One leader had to step down because the sugar prices had increased by a quarter of a rupee. Such was the power of public opinion. Where has the conscience of this nation gone?

At this point, an old man, who was listening to this discussion from a nearby table, approaches this intellectually euphoric group. Pointing at the one who remained silent throughout the discussion, he says:

Old man: Pardon my interruption but I had to come and ask you why you remained silent throughout the debate. So many ideas have been floated here and with such variety. I am really impressed by the amazing wisdom of this group. But Sir, I saw you completely silent and quiet. If you don’t mind my asking, could you kindly satisfy my curiosity as to your silence?

Ninth: Why I am not saying anything? Well, I am the one who will foot the bill.

The writer is a former Ambassador of Pakistan and author of seven books in three languages. He can be reached at najmussaqib

In one of the upscale restaurants of the capital, some of the known national-fame intellectuals are found in the middle of a heated discussion.