Wednesday January 19, 2022

Imran’s generalised reform agenda: execution to be real test

May 02, 2018

Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has unveiled his reform agenda in generalised terms, lacking specifics, which he will implement if voted to power in the upcoming general elections.

However, the real test will confront him when it will come to executing it. It will indeed be an uphill task. An able team will be needed to work single-minded, without political chaos, to achieve the goals enumerated by him.

The manifesto and programme of almost every political party regardless of its public standing contains the eleven points, enunciated by the PTI chief, with vows to fulfill them while in power. But the actual issue crops up when they are to be realised.

After their success in the elections, most political parties digress from their agenda for being embroiled in other pressing matters and priorities, necessitated by their new positions, forgetting what they had pledged to the electorate.

At his Lahore show of power, Imran Khan unfolded his reform strategy for new Pakistan, just identifying the areas. He did not elaborate how they would be enforced. He talked about generalities rather than the details of their implementation.

PTI's Lahore rally was one of the biggest and well organised public meetings held at the Minar-e-Pakistan. Every political party lays maximum stress on education for all; provision of health facilities, self-reliance via revenue generation; corruption-free Pakistan; opening of new vistas of investment, ending employment; strengthening the Federation; promoting tourism and environment; improving police and justice system; empowering women through education, and bettering agriculture. All these are the pertinent points that Imran Khan listed, which are fine.

If one goes through the just presented federal budget, one would find all of these points in it. These are the slogans that every government and political force chant at the top of their voice in government, before coming to power and during the opposition days. What is to be observed and monitored if which of the points were accomplished while being in government by any political party. Most of them will be found wanting.

The PTI chairman did not illustrate and specify concrete details how all these points will be translated into reality. He will be required to lay out a comprehensive plan to execute his programme.

It emerges from what he stated while divulging his agenda when he only enumerated his points without expounding how they will be carried out. “The PTI will establish educational institutions of international standard, and set up twenty new universities across Pakistan,” he stated while talking about education for all.

On health, Imran Khan said that if someone from poor family falls ill, it drains everything, so PTI will make health facilities available for all. On self-reliance through revenue generation, he announced that the PTI would improve the taxation system and will make economic reforms to make Pakistan self-reliant.

On corruption-free Pakistan, the PTI chief cited the example of his decision to expel 20 lawmakers for “selling votes” in the Senate elections. “We will stop money laundering, and will strengthen the National Accountability Bureau and Federal Bureau of Revenue.”

On opening new vistas of investment, Imran Khan stated that the PTI will revamp policy to attract giant investors and termed overseas Pakistanis the biggest investing potentials. “We will reduce the tax on electricity and gas for our industries so that they could compete with Indian market,” he said. So on and so forth.

Mere rhetoric, to which every political party will resort before every general election, will not suffice. Solid and credible strategies and plans will be required to be presented how they envisage to accomplish their agendas in order to appeal to voters.

However, it was for the first time that during his lengthy address to the Lahore rally, Imran Khan offered his agenda, which has a lot of gaps to be filled up by him. This was a departure from his past public speeches that are mostly focused on attacking his rivals. Even now, he lambasted his political adversaries, but at the same time he read out his mission statement.

This was just the start, and in a big way, of his campaign for the impending fiercely contested parliamentary polls. It is not possible to press into service so much sources and resources for every such event. According to the announcements made from the podium, people from several areas particularly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa attended the show. In the 2013 general elections, the PTI had stood second in the Lahore city in terms of popular votes although it had won only one National Assembly seat.