Thursday April 25, 2024

Days of promise

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
December 07, 2018

In order to mark its first 100 days, the PTI government issued a review report. The purpose was to highlight the targets achieved within this time period.

The ambitious 100-days agenda faced criticism when it was unveiled three months ago. This was even acknowledged by the government during the ceremony held on the occasion of its 100th day. “When we presented the 100-day agenda, our friends warned that we are creating trouble for ourselves. I admit that they were right but we wanted this,” Adviser to the Prime Minister on Establishment Shahzad Arbab said.

The government was fully aware of the consequences. But difficult decisions are essential for the betterment of our country. I was also part of this ceremony where Prime Minister Imran Khan maintained that Pakistan is moving in the right direction and the government will definitely fulfil its promises. Every country sets its national goals to ensure growth and prosperity. In our national history, past governments made many tall claims but were unable to set clear targets. The PTI not only presented its agenda for the initial 100 day, but also shared a performance report with the public.

Every one of us needs to adopt a realistic approach in the larger interest of Pakistan. The opposition must appreciate the PTI government’s sincere intentions. As the head of government, Prime Minister Imran Khan must identify what hurdles were faced in implementing the 100-day plan.

The most important priorities set by the PTI government include ensuring the stability of the economy, safeguarding rule of law, and creating a corruption-free Pakistan. It would have been easy for the present government to turn towards the IMF for temporary relief. However, Imran Khan sought the support of our all-weather friends, such as China, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and the UAE, to pull Pakistan out of its financial crisis.

On the international front, the prime minister responded boldly to the baseless allegations levelled by Donald Trump. The laudable decision by the present government to establish the Kartarpur Corridor is a major achievement that projects a positive global image of Pakistan as a peace-loving country. The foreign media has also praised the country’s political and military leadership for this achievement. However, the historic event could have been made even more effective if we had gained active coordination from the Indian leadership and invited foreign envoys to the groundbreaking ceremony.

I was pleased that the PM asked the Indian delegation to not cling to history and instead learn lessons from the past. This is the right time to say goodbye to hostile policies and welcome a new era of win-win cooperation.

To strengthen the national economy, the devaluation of the rupee needs immediate attention. During the first 100 days, the Pakistani currency has weakened considerably against the US dollar. Regrettably, we are also unable to boost our exports. The increase in dollar prices could be beneficial in this regard. We should study the economic policies of some of the world’s emerging economies like China, Malaysia and the UAE. In the context of CPEC, we should try to maximise bilateral trade in the local currency. The government’s austerity measures have also resulted in millions of rupees being saved.

To curb corruption, properties worth Rs11 billion were also detected abroad and agreements were signed with Switzerland, the US and the UK to gather information on money laundering. The independent operation of NAB has successfully empowered the accountability process. The government vowed to set up a Madina-like welfare state. But it has so far been unable to implement this model.

It is indeed an achievement of the PTI government that the opposition hasn’t been able to create any hurdles. However, the unwanted behaviour of the opposition over appointing the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and standing committees halted the parliamentary process. Those elements that were involved in blockades on roads and highways have been brought to justice during the government’s first 100 days. This will lead our society towards peace.

Self-assessment is necessary to overcome all obstacles and improve the government’s performance over the next 100 days. We must not forget that time is passing quickly. By the time the next elections draw closer, we will once again have to appear before the public. When that time comes, only our performance will decide our political fate.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani