Here’s How Imran Khan Can Save His Sinking Ship
Awais Babar suggests some tough decisions for PM Imran Khan to save his government which is currently facing a plethora of crises.
Rumour has it that there is no such thing as ‘same page’ any longer and the parties may have been estranged. Meaning thereby, that PTI does not have the support of establishment any longer or perhaps no unequivocal support. Whether or not that is true, Prime Minister Imran Khan should make one final attempt at saving his ship.
Firstly, by accepting that he does not know anything about politics and his memorandum with the establishment to uproot the politics of PPP and PML-N was a flawed and unrealistic plan. The establishment seems to have realised both these aspects and some developments testify a reformed approach on its behalf. Compared to that, PTI is frustrated as always, pinning all its failures on past governments.
Secondly, the captain needs to finally choose a reasonably qualified captain for the biggest province of Pakistan which is Punjab. There is no time left to play the mental games. This one weird decision of choosing Usman Buzdar as CM Punjab has put his Khani at stake. Governance is not some Cricket tournament where a lot of variables determine the final winner. We may hope to win a cricket tournament by predicting other teams wins and losses, politics and governance on the other hand, have variables of there own.
Time is of the essence for PTI as the people of Punjab are suffering. It is also that compared to other provinces, Punjab had a reasonably good administration throughout past few decades. People are not used to such maladministration on the part of government.
Thirdly, he needs to get rid of Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, period! Though a shrewd politician, she is very much outdated to the modern politics which is embedded in social media as well as other mediums. These are the times when governments need a spokesperson who has multiple abilities. They ought to be neither too sweet nor too bitter in their approach, they must rather be assertive. Dr. Firdous is simply not equipped to handle the media. In fact, she ends up uttering something which she should not have, giving the media a chance to make some extra money by circulating anecdotes.
This exercise eventually hurts the government and most of all its image. Sometimes images gain far more significance than the reality itself. Who would know that better than PTI itself? They have been outplayed by their own weapon which they mastered at some point when without any sheer regard, they would pin baseless allegations on countless individuals and that too recklessly.
Fourthly, if the PM is sincere at all, it is time for action and to look the devil in the eye. Whosoever were responsible or hatched a conspiracy to make good on the profits in the wheat business illegally and unjustly enriched themselves must be brought to justice. If the PM fails to do that or looks for a middle way just to somehow contain the matter, it will ultimately make the poor angry. History tells us that whoever messed up with the poor did not even find the space for graves.
Fifthly, the PM must make a hard decision and take just another U-turn: fire the IMF team regardless of the consequences. No matter what IMF’s official agenda says about fixing Pakistan’s economy, it has inherent in its dealings its own priorities.
Asad Umar is not an option either, as he has too many opponents in the party and his politics is very much muddled. The world is full of genius people, if Khan sahab wants to find one, he will.
Lastly, the PM needs to do what Abraham Lincoln did. “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends”?, he said. Khan sahab has been trying to get to the throne by fighting his way through these other mighty parties. Now that he is at the throne, he is just one enemy against all. If he keeps fighting he will ultimately be overwhelmed especially given the fact that his governmental abilities are a question mark.
This is not to suggest that he may start being passive and make a compromise based on his compulsions. The only thing the PM needs to do is to behave like a PM. He may do so by telling his comrades to step down and stop bringing in the past in every argument.
In addition, he may start regular consultations with the opposition leader especially when the constitution requires him to do so. This will likely put the opposition parties at the back foot and give Khan sahab a chance to complete his term and curb the likelihood of re-election or in house changes as are the rumours these days.
It is also true that despite the fact that almost all parties despise PTI, they do not really want the incumbent government to perish and would rather wait for its term to be completed. After the damage that started since 2014 when the political restlessness began in the country and the recent devastating effects of that leave no desire for any party to assume the responsibility to oust the country out of the difficulties. The question is if Khan sahab wants to help the opposition keep it that way or not and the only way he can do that is by renewing his approach and say goodbye to slander.
Khan sahab can do some or all of the above actions, or can waste his time in the blame game.