All eyes are on Pakistan as PTI Chairman Imran Khan will be elected as the prime minister of Pakistan in today’s National Assembly session. There is no doubt that Imran is determined to reform Pakistan along the lines of Quaid-e-Azam’s vision, which is based on rule of law, accountability, a stable economy, welfare, and curbing corruption. On countless occasions, I have mentioned that the first hundred days of the PTI government are quite critical to set targets and win public trust.
It is interesting to note that Imran Khan was only able to secure only one seat in the National Assembly almost 16 years ago. But today, his party has successfully emerged as a major national political party by winning a large number of seats from Karachi to Khyber. The political landscape of various democracies such as India, the US and the UK is based on a two-party system. Even before Independence, British India also had two prominent political parties: the All India Muslim League and the Indian National Congress.
Pakistani politics was also based on a similar system. In such circumstances, the emergence of the PTI as a third national political power due to Imran Khan’s 22-year-long democratic struggle is a remarkable achievement. It is a coincidence that Independence Day celebrations and the formation of the newly elected government happened side by side.
People had shown full confidence in Quaid-e-Azam’s dynamic leadership. Whenever he addressed public gatherings, people listened attentively to what he had to say. Although a majority of people in the audience didn’t understand English, they blindly trusted their beloved leader and sincerely believed that whatever he said and did was in their best interest.
In the 2018 elections, we witnessed a similar situation to some extent when many people voted in favour of Naya Pakistan. The people of Karachi have particularly reposed their confidence in PTI candidates. The PTI has also formed the government for the second time in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During my various interactions with Imran Khan, I have found that he is committed to selflessly serving our beloved country. I have also assured him of my cooperation to devise a workable strategic plan to achieve national targets during the PTI’s first 100 days in power.
The selection criteria for cabinet members must be driven by merit and key performance indicators must be clearly defined. We must refrain from solely relying on sincerity and political loyalty. In this regard, Quaid-e-Azam set a good example by selecting his cabinet members on the basis of their qualifications and experience in their respective fields. It is unfortunate that due to his tragic demise a year after the creation of Pakistan, some of his sincerest cabinet members – like Jogendra Nath Mandal who was appointed as law minister – were forced to leave Pakistan.
Today, the PTI must follow in the footsteps of strong economies like China. Although China gained independence after Pakistan and faced numerous challenges on national and international fronts, it is now an emerging superpower. This has encouraged the international community to do business in China’s currency. In the context of CPEC, the PTI government has to maximise bilateral trade. Another serious challenge is to restore the value of the Pakistani rupee and do away with IMF loans. Similarly, our national institutions, such as PIA, need urgent attention to rid themselves of incompetent political appointees.
We should also design our foreign policy by prioritising our national interests. We have to understand that there is no permanent friend or foe in international diplomacy and every country has the right to give preference to its national interests. South Korea’s transformation into a strong economy through an economic plan put forward Pakistani economist Dr Mahbubul Haq proves that Pakistan is quite capable to deliver progress. However, public confidence has been shaken by the flawed policies of previous governments.
We mustn’t forget that the joint opposition, which comprises renowned political parties with a track record of pursuing politics of protest, poses a real threat. While Imran Khan has wisely offered to cooperate with them to defuse political pressure, the PTI needs to win the people’s trust during its first 100 days in power to overcome the challenge of a strong opposition. This is the only way the party will be able to complete its tenure in a smooth manner. For this purpose, Imran Khan must follow in the footsteps of Quaid-e-Azam and ensure equality among everyone.
The writer is patron-in-chief of thePakistan Hindu Council.