People often refuse to believe facts or face reality because doing so makes them feel vulnerable and weak. They prefer to live in an illusion that makes them feel strong. This has been the case with Pakistan since its creation, where the majority of ordinary people, deprived of true knowledge and the realities of the modern world, are kept hostage by policymakers who thrive on delusional theories of threats of war, insecurity and self-created enemies who would destroy the country if it were allowed to seek the knowledge or realities of the modern world.

A fresh example in this regard is the performance by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where he delivered an emotional speech in an evident attempt to revive his rapidly growing unpopularity at home.

The pro-establishment Pakistani media, journalists and anchors are declaring the speech a victory, as if Khan has won the case on Kashmir and the world has asked New Delhi to lift the curfew in Jammu and Kashmir. In reality, nothing has changed: The siege of J&K continues, and Pakistan still stands isolated on the diplomatic front, as it was not able even to win the support of 16 members of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to present a resolution highlighting the Kashmir issue.

The fact that Khan after such failures is still being hailed as victorious with this speech is a classic example of the state of Pakistan keeping its citizens ignorant and incapable of critical thinking. How is it that the masses did not bother to question why Pakistan voted against a resolution calling for an extension of the UN investigation into war crimes in Yemen? Why has it ignored the plight of Uighur Muslims in China? What was the outcome of Khan’s recent visit to the US?

Imran Khan’s condemnation of Islamophobia was as weak as his own political credibility, as in his own homeland such minorities as Ahmadis, Hindus, and even Shiite Muslims have been subject to violence on the basis of their religious beliefs

Prime Minister Khan is the face of a hypocritical society that is still intellectually living in the stone age. His condemnation of Islamophobia was as weak as his own political credibility, as in his own homeland such minorities as Ahmadis, Hindus, and even Shiite Muslims have been subject to violence on the basis of their religious beliefs. And this is not to mention the growing number of rapes of women and girls. Dissent is considered treason, the right to differ is a blasphemy.

The generation prepared by the establishment and then fed with hatred of dissidents by Imran Khan himself is mostly from the urban areas, and whose tendencies are visible on social media. Just imagine what kind of ignorance and extremism exist in the rural areas, where the religious clerics still hold a strong grip over the social and political fabric with the help of invisible forces.

This hatred and ignorance of the realities of the modern world are not the result of coincidence or lack of resources. They have been deliberately brought about by the powerful security establishment that controls the narratives of the state. It is in the best interests of the state that society should remain ignorant and unable to think beyond the propaganda and narratives imposed by the state. Anyone who differs or has the ability to think critically and show dissent is considered a traitor. So it is very easy to keep the disillusioned masses in a state of hallucination and make them believe that the UNGA is a debating club in which Khan has scored a victory.

This actually is an old tactic, that when the establishment or its puppets fail miserably to avert economic turmoil, they sell the tried and tested formula of religious and patriotic euphoria. After all, it is easy to convince a society of dwarfs that just by speaking emotionally at international forums, the whole world can be made dwarfs like them.

But real diplomatic victories are won through the art of behind-the-scenes negotiations and by taking practical measures, not by giving meaningless, emotional speeches. Yes, the economy plays a crucial role in determining who will win the diplomatic wars, as the stronger the economy the better the chances a country has to lobby for its case internationally. However, at the same time, diplomacy is also about playing the cards one is dealt, no matter how bad they are, smartly and timely.

One cannot win the sympathy of the globe by threatening that Kashmir will witness a bloodbath when the curfew is lifted, or that the conflict will lead to a nuclear war. If the world is not listening to Pakistan and is more inclined toward Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the establishment in Pakistan needs some soul-searching on why it has made no headway as Modi’s atrocities are ignored, and why Pakistan, despite fighting the Saudi monarchs’ and Washington’s proxy wars for them, is still not considered trustworthy and is deemed a country of extremists.

Why is Pakistan forced to go out with a begging bowl in its hands and ask for aid from its friends? Of course, it’s not the corruption, but the unnecessary wars that have resulted in defense spending eating up a major chunk of the country’s budget. A country that spends too much of its budget on defense and purchasing weapons and does not allocate sufficient amounts to education, technology and poverty alleviation can never progress or become a major player in the modern arena.

The question also arises as to why, when India was deploying its forces in J&K in late July the Pakistani establishment was not able to assess that Modi was planning to annex the state. Another question is why Imran Khan and the establishment continue to try to fool the masses into believing that if India starts a war, Pakistan will be able to mount a fitting response. In the first place, why would India wage a war when it was perfectly capable of annexing J&K without doing so?

Meanwhile what we are seeing is a complete disaster on the diplomatic front, where Washington and Riyadh both are backing New Delhi while the Pakistani establishment now says war is no solution to this problem. That at least is true, but keeping the masses in hallucination and ignorance is also not a solution to the Kashmir fiasco. Brave nations and societies always learn from their mistakes and prepare the coming generations to cope with their failures.

Hiding from reality and living in a delusional state of mind has been the story of Pakistan since the era of General Ayub Khan, and Imran Khan’s speech at the UNGA was a hint that the invisible forces will never let the masses get out of the illusions and false perceptions created to protect the establishment’s rule over the state and its resources. The choice is very clear: Will the powers that be continue to produce millions of mindless brains incapable of critical thinking and keep producing narratives based on euphoria and hallucination, or will it take a back seat and let the narratives be shaped according to the 21st century? Meanwhile India needs to think about whether it will be able to flourish under the fascist ideology of Hindutva and polarizing its own society in the name of religious and ethnic supremacy that eventually will bring an end to its secularist image.