PM Imran Needs To Get His Head Out Of The Clouds
Brig (r) Mahmood Sadiq urges PM Imran Khan to put the house in order and act swiftly to restore the people’s trust in his government which has largely declined with the government’s recent failures on some pressing issues facing the country.
A friend of mine in November 2018 predicted that Imran Khan would no longer be the prime minister by 30 June 2019. I took it seriously based on my friend’s as well as Khan’s personality profile, but with conviction, denied its actualization. Because the domestic environment and the then popularity of PTI and its leadership made me think Khan is here to stay.
However, seeing the events of the last five months, prospects of its actualization seem probable, if not certain. The environment is being gradually shaped in a way as to prepare the nation for (yet another) change.
Informal gossip in close gatherings by sitting federal and provincial ministers including diplomatic circles has given rise to uncertainty and fear with noticeably visible tension on the faces of people at the helm of affairs.
It is not the intention which is in doubt nor corrupt practices but ability, experience, capacity and capability of the ruling party are being questioned in power circles, diplomatic rings, king makers drawing rooms, media houses and in the markets and bazars of the country.
The prime minister mostly remains in background while ministers continue making verbal and physical blunders providing desired fillip for exploitation by the rival political parties and financially dried up media houses.
With reduced revenue collection than expected, insignificant increase in tax base, marginal increase in foreign remittances, minimal reduction in imports, dip in stock market, predicted lowest growth rate in the next two years, sharp increase in interest rate and growing depreciation of rupee against the dollar, government is under severe pressure to introduce tax amnesty scheme.
The common man is crying with utility bills in one hand, grocery list in the other, education and miscellaneous bills still in front pocket. Exaggerated claims of employment opportunities, houses and accountability are haunting both PM and PTI.
PM’s own house is in disorder may it be in red zone or at Banni Gala. Punjab, the hub of power in Pakistan is facing governance and leadership crisis while mismanagement has exposed PTI in KP which is their home ground and the base of political power. Lobby culture within the ruling party at federal and provincial levels is a demonstrated reality. Over-cautious top civil bureaucracy even technocrats with go slow approach have seriously affected the system of administration and governance both in Punjab and KP, forcing a major shuffle and appointment of bureaucrats of Shabaz’s ten years of rule in Punjab.
Grant of six weeks unprecedented bail by Supreme Court to Nawaz Sharif and protection provided to Hamza Shebaz under special environments followed by release of Hanif Abbasi by Lahore High Court and judgement by Islamabad High Court on the dharna at Faizabad forcing the armed forces to request Supreme Court for reconsideration seriously undermines the state institutions and has truly dented Khan’s government in political, moral and even physical domains. Military establishment continue to be alleged for political engineering projecting an image of puppet for the PM contrary to the reality on ground while media houses are serving the opposition and the king makers despite control demonstrated by military establishment on the pretext of national security.
What PM said on the first day in the National Assembly warranted that state must own and give credibility to its institutions concurrently eradicating the shortfalls but things have not taken the right course and direction. Educated vote bank of PTI which constitutes its back bone stands frustrated, heading to state of disappointment and depression while damage to the wheat crop by rains may slip the farmers on the same track if Imran Khan is unable to decide correctly and act swiftly.
It is not change of system from parliamentary to presidential which will guarantee success. Imran will have to first turn the tables and eradicate the fault lines. He needs to put the house in order to restore the public’s confidence and make them believe that mess created around and inside Pakistan can and will be put in order.
Please don’t kick the bucket by proposing any new system of governance and get the ball rolling. Enough fits and starts have been witnessed by the nation. Please don’t let the frogs out of mouths of your ministers and eat the humble pie once and for all. It’s not a low hanging fruit so we need to start thinking outside the box. Remember, all good things come to those who wait but time and tide waits for none.
The writer is a PhD scholar with diverse experience and international exposure. He possesses conscious knowledge about phenomenon of terrorism and extremism coupled with realistic understanding of geo political, social and security environment