A young PPP enthusiast asked me, “Can we fight America?” I smiled. General Pervez Musharraf on receiving the American threat of being bombed into stone age, had war-gamed the same issue, “Could we fight America”? The answer was “no”.

Around the 500 BC Athens was faced with an imminent threat of invasion from Persia (Iran), a superpower. The affluent tradesmen advocated that the war would be cost prohibitive. Peace would enable Athens to remain one of the leading Greece states in wealth and prosperity.

For the honourable, freedom was paramount, costs notwithstanding. Athens opted for a referendum. The freedom lovers won. In a long-drawn conflict, Athens, gradually joined by other city states, was able to inflict a decisive and comprehensive defeat on the Persians.

The Muslim history is replete with examples when the faithful had defeated the enemy despite huge disadvantage in comparative strength ratio.

From Badr, against the Makkans to the battle of Qadisiya, against the Persians, a superpower, the Muslims continued to win against heavy odds.

The apparent power quotients have no meanings once the battle is joined. The latest is Afghanistan, making one superpower after the other regret and leave.

War is no option for Pakistan, however. We need not fight America as we do not have to surrender before it. Joining the American War on Terror might have been a mistake of strategic judgment.

The Pakistani ego seems to have suddenly come to life catapulting the issue of national honour as an unending top trend on the social media and a compelling headliner on national news. Pakistani leaders’ reluctance to compromise on national integrity is not new.

Liaquat Ali Khan was martyred before he could take the nation into confidence on the American bullying. Z A Bhutto made an attempt to expose the conspiracy against him by waving the threat to a spontaneous gathering at night in Raja Bazar Rawalpindi. His judicial murder closed the chapter forever. The world has changed. In this global village, it is difficult to throttle dissent, internal or external. Social media has assumed gigantic proportions.

Pakistanis from all over the world have fallen for the narrative of national ego. Pakistani nationalism reigns supreme, is universal, loud and irresistible making all other affiliations obsolete.

Pakistan must assert its independence and freedom in formulating its domestic and foreign policies. The cost is immaterial. Imran Khan’s assertions on freedom, national honour and defiance of slavery have evoked historic response from the Pakistanis at home and abroad.

Maintaining the agitational momentum itself would be a Herculean task. Even if it succeeded and early elections were called, which is highly unlikely, Imran Khan would be faced with extremely heavy odds on the domestic and international fronts.