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August 6, 2018

Imran’s real challenge: transformation from angry man to statesman

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August 6, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan wants to forget the bad patch of his political past and also forgives all those who had hurt him to focus on his ambitious agenda of reforms and institution building.

He is confident that he would turn around the country, and tells his audience at Banigala these days that within three to six months, one could feel the change. Whether he is overconfident or naive or has really got some proverbial magic wand to correct the complicated wrongs in the country’s governance, economy, health, education, bureaucracy, etc., Khan thinks he has solution to every problem.

Others expect a 180-degree change in his demeanor -- from that of an angry opposition voice who is alleged to have loudmouthed the country’s politics during the last five years to a statesman to steer the country out of serious problems.

It is widely apprehended that without the cooperation and support of his political opponents, who would not only be a formidable force in the National Assembly but are already in absolute majority in the Senate, Khan’s reforms agenda and institution building scheme would remain a far cry.

Thus the foremost challenge for Khan is to get the support of all those political parties like the PML-N, PPP and MMA whom he abhorred and condemned in the past, for the formulation of a consensus national agenda for reforms and institution building and its successful implementation.

There is no other option but to take his strong opposition along. Those whom he used to shame in the past are now placed in such a huge number in parliament that no law could be passed without their consent and support.

The government, while using its executive authority, could hardly implement a few reforms but anything meaningful and major would only be possible through act of parliament and even in some cases via constitutional amendment(s).

It is said that Imran Khan is apprehensive that such a support of the opposition will compromise his resolve to get all the corrupt punished and bring back the looted billions (of dollars) from abroad. But what Imran Khan needs to understand is that it should not be he or someone else on whose whims and wishes it will be decided who is corrupt and who has plundered the national wealth.

Reform the institutions like FBR, SECP, FIA and NAB, make them neutral and independent and then leave it for the institutions to act on merit and without any external pressure against tax evaders, money launderers and corrupt.

However, after repeated experiences of how the NAB has been massively misused to target the opponents or those marked by the powers that be, there is need to keep even a check on such institutions. The aim should be across-the-board accountability, and not victimisation, witch-hunting or arm-twisting, which unfortunately have been the hallmarks of the NAB.

Economy is a great challenge but Khan insists he can fix it. He is confident that the nation would pay taxes after seeing their new rulers having adopted simplicity and checking wastes of public money by rulers and the ruling class. Khan has a lot of faith in overseas Pakistanis, who he thinks will bring in much-needed billions of dollars of investment and businesses to turnaround the country’s economy.

Hope Khan will understand that the much-needed investment will come only when there is a political stability in the country. Political stability is linked with the relationship between the government and opposition. If the government-opposition remains at each other’s throats as has been the case during the last five years, there can’t be any stability in politics and governance. It could only be possible if Imran Khan as the new prime minister gets the opposition involved as his partner in the greater national agenda of reforms and institution building. For this, he has to act like a statesman and apologise to all those whom he wrongly blamed and hurt in the past. Thus the most serious challenge for Khan is whether he will be able to transform himself from an angry man to a statesman!

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