Tuesday May 28, 2024

PTI’s one-year performance a bad show

By Liaqat Baloch
September 15, 2019

The PTI formed government in the Centre and three provinces after July 2018’s controversial general elections. Widely considered as engineered and rigged and held under overwhelming support of media for the PTI, July’s polls yet provided an opportunity to Prime Minister Imran Khan to fulfill the promises he made to the nation during his years’ long politics of protests. One-year performance of the PTI government has raised big question mark on overall capacity of the Khan’s team. This one-year rule of the PTI disappointed the nation including those who were outspoken supporter of the cricketer-turned-politician in the past.

Definitely this short duration is not enough to bring some kind of revolution in the country which is plagued by the issues of bad governance, mismanagement, corruption and law and order. The government, however, was supposed to fix some directions and develop policies in a way that could put the country on right track.

One should avoid making sweeping statements that the government has desperately failed to perform in all sectors but it becomes obvious when one keenly reviews the situation in different government sectors. It can be safely said that in one year of PTI rule, masses have become desperate and lost all their hopes they pinned on a new party after being fed up from decades’ long rule of two parties and military governments.

Khan, in his first speech after polls victory, has promised to turn Pakistan into a “Madina-like state” but practically he has not taken a single step to fulfill his promise rather he acted against his claims. He set freed Asia Masih and many among his team openly talked in favor of Qadyanis and Israel.

Despite being a parliamentary democracy, the state was not run through collective vision of elected parliamentarian in the past. PTI chairman made severe criticism against this practice but after coming into power he himself followed the bad tradition and failed to ensure his presence in the parliament on all important occasions. His ministers appeared at the floor of parliament without preparation and instead of answering the questions raised by the opposition benches, they acted as fiery orators and just played the jugglery of words.

Civil bureaucracy acted as backbone to the country, having key importance in running the business of the state. The nation witnessed its decline with the passage of time and the reason was political interference and nepotism in the transfer posting and other matters of the federal, provincial secretaries and police officers. Khan’s government not only continued the old practice but even increased political interference in the matters of bureaucracy. Furthermore, the NAB’s interference in bureaucracy proved fatal, badly affecting its performance in all key sectors of the federal and provincial governments.

Opposition groups in the past always alleged that the NAB was used for political victimization. The PTI government came into power by cashing in on his anti-corruption slogan and it was expected that it would start a ruthless across the board accountability by making the anti-corruption watchdog more autonomous, more powerful and impartial. But, unfortunately it continued selected accountability which provided an opportunity to corrupt mafia to propagate its narrative against the accountability process with more power. The NAB has yet to act against those who were named in Panama Papers besides no action has been taken against 150 mega scandals and against money launderers and loan defaulters.

The government has badly failed to improve economy of the country. Worst decline in foreign investment, skyrocketing inflation, increasing unemployment, devaluation of rupee and increase in foreign debts are few indicators where the economic team of Imran Khan performed worst during the whole year. Traders have taken to the streets as the government could not implement its tax reform agenda. The business community termed the tax drive unjust and their victimization.

Being a popular personality in the west, Imran Khan was expected to build solid diplomatic relations based on equality with Europe and America. He was also expected to bring massive foreign investment in the country but no significant improvement was seen on these fronts. Growing isolation of Pakistan at international level should be matter of concern for Shah Mahmood Qureshi led foreign office.

The biggest challenge for the Khan’s government appeared when India abrogated special autonomy of held Kashmir on August 5. New Delhi announced the decision few days after Imran Khan’s visit to the US. President Donald Trump made mediation offer during a joint presser with Khan which was taken as victory of Pakistan. The government was busy in ‘celebrating the victory’ when it met with the Kashmir shock. The rulers were expected to act bravely against Indian brutality on the people of IOK but it desperately failed to respond Modi’s hawkish designs. The overall performance of PTI government on Kashmir cause badly disappointed the nation. The country has long been facing the problems of provincial autonomy and a division of powers between centre and provinces. The 18th amendment had provided the roadmap for this but no progress was shown in implementation of these reforms. Similarly, the government has made no improvement in local government system despite tall claims. Being himself a cricket legend, Khan did nothing to bring betterment in field of sports. From Benazir Income Support Program to introduce a uniform curriculum and implementing basic health reforms all sectors have seen no reform in last one year.

(The writer is Jamaat-e-Islami leader and former MNA)