PESHAWAR: It is natural to think about the performance of an outgoing government vis-à-vis its election pledges, more so its manifesto when one thinks of its tenure and next election.
With less than one month left in its five-year term, the performance of the outgoing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led coalition, or the way it governed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, deserves a fair assessment.
The PTI well before the 2013 general election started trumpeting its “national emergency declaration” and incorporated it in its manifesto that also included initiation of energy sector reforms, institutional reforms to deal with corruption and accountability, governance reforms, expenditure and revenue collection reforms, health, education and police system reforms.
When the PTI-led coalition assumed power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the province had just started descending from its climax of militancy and law and order and was poised to offset the effect of the 2010 floods.
The fledgling PTI-led government had to walk a knife-edge to implement its agenda of “change” while sharing power with its relatively experienced Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) partners.
The military operation in Swat had ended successfully. The multi-donors at the request of the Government of Pakistan completed the Post-Crisis Need Assessment (PCNA) to build peace in the country in general and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal areas in particular.
The PCNA findings had been pulled together into a strategy to implement the charter of Good Governance Legislative Framework.
The framework was actually a set of around eleven legal and administrative tools to reform nine sectors including governance, rule of law, agriculture and natural resources, non-farm economic development, education, infrastructure, health, social protection, and strategic communication.
It made it obligatory for the provinces to approve laws and set up organisations to ensure a) Right to Public Services, b) Right to Information, c) e-Governance, d) Prevention of Conflict of Interest, e) Whistle-blower protection, f) Public Procurement Regulation, g) Public Private Partnership, h) Performance management i) Public Financial Management and j) accountability & anti-corruption.
The framework in context of social and governance improvement was, though a roadmap for a turnaround in the province, yet the Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) coalition government of the time ran away from implementing it.
The PTI soon after assuming power in the province embarked upon its agenda, which it said, focused on culture of ‘good governance’.
On the economic front its efforts could not bear the desired result. It reorganized the Board of Investment (BOI), formed Oil and Gas Company (KPOGCL), set up Economic Zones Development and Management Company (KPEZDMC), Power and Energy Organisation (PEDO), Revenue Authority (KPRA) and Investment Cell.
It arranged investment Road-shows in Karachi, Dubai and in China, but could not fetch investment to set up its planned oil refinery and a gas-run power station. It could not establish even a single new industrial estate in the province.
Its administrative efforts, like those of the previous government, also fizzled out. It could neither retake executive powers form the bureaucracy under Articles 129 and 139 as envisaged in the 18th Amendment nor could it implement its monetization policy for the bureaucracy in the province.
However, on the rights, social protection, citizens’ protection and legislation side, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the last five years excelled among the other federating units. It enacted landmark laws and amended others.
The laws include the Police Act, Local Government Act, Conflict of Interest Act, Right to Information Act, Right to Services Act and Whistle Blower Protection Act.
A number of bodies were established to implement these laws. But its interest in improving transparency and accountability and service delivery remained unmatched.
The provincial legislature unanimously passed Right to Information Act 2013 and the government established Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Commission (KPIC) in 2014 to facilitate citizens to access public information.
Tens of thousands of citizens have been facilitated in getting access to public information held by public bodies, judiciary, governor and chief minister’s secretariats, autonomous bodies, press clubs.
As of April 30, the KPIC received 11,726 complaints against the public bodies refusing information to the requestors.
It has resolved 6,847 requests and converted 4,670 of them into complaints, while 367 are still under process.
It has penalised universities, hospitals, press clubs, KPOGCL, DHOs, Rescue Service 1122, and Central Police Office among other public bodies for failure to provide information.
Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan have not yet set up or made their information commission fully functional. At the national level the RTI law has been approved by the Parliament, but establishment of the commission to implement it is still being awaited.
The PTI has established Right to Public Services Commission to ensure time-bound delivery of public services to citizens.
It has made the government functionaries liable to penalty if they fail to provide services to citizens in a timely manner.
It has so far notified 16 public services for time-bound delivery which includes registration of FIR, issuance of domicile, Fard, death and birth certificates, approval of building plan (residential), OPD and Emergency services, issuance of drug licence, driving licence, arms licence, release zakat funds, grant of Jahez fund, water connection, clean drinking water, disposal of garbage/solid waste, and issuance of wood permit for construction of house.
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