States do not fail overnight but consistent bad policies and lack of vision will ultimately erode the system thus leaving debris for the successive governments.
No matter how dedicated and upright the leadership is, it becomes nearly impossible to deliver when a country is surrounded by economic mess and inflicted with bad governance, corruption and other issues.
Also, it requires serious efforts to deliver especially when tall claims are made just to bag votes. Quite contrary to the promises made, the record of Pakistan’s current government is a volte-face on various policies and issues.
It seems the government is plagued with ‘extractive institutions’ run by carpetbaggers. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government led by Imran Khan is under the influence of individuals and coteries. This has overshadowed the political lustre that he built while haranguing against opponents from atop of containers. For erecting a building, it requires grading, framing roofing and siding, but as of today, it looks like the castle has been built in air and no homework was performed before logging in to the new government. Out of 49 Reforms package, the PTI could only successfully formed a task force to combat corruption.
Let’s examine 10 reasons why this newly elected government has failed to deliver and how the claims and actions are poles apart.
1. Went back on his words
In his entire anti-corruption drive and stormy march, Imran Khan gave a tongue lashing to the opponents including former military ruler Musharraf, Altaf Hussain, Sharif brothers and Zardari. But just after coming into power, he turned a blind eye towards all of them. He teamed up with MQM and PML-Q. The members of these political outfits are under investigation by NAB for allegedly possessing assets beyond means.
Besides, cases against Pervez Khattak, Aleem Khan and others are hanging in balance. How can one forget his much-glorified performance by establishing independent anti-graft institution “Ehteshab Commission (EC)”? It was established in 2014 but had to abolish by the present Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly. The report says more than 1,000 inquiries, references and complaints have been transferred to the anti-corruption establishment. EC director general had to resign from his post after the influence of PTI members whose cases were registered with EC. Top of all, Peshawar Metro Bus has proven to be the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Khan’s failure.
2. Economic turmoil
The country is passing through a turbulent phase. Its economy is shrinking to a dangerous level with 3.3% GDP growth, least in regional countries and quite contrary to the target set by previous government ie 6%.
The country is drenched into national and international debt tune to Rs2.4 trillion and is left at the behest of the IMF.
For whole years, PTI team lambasted Nawaz Sharif’s government for an economic companion with the IMF but all his pastoral speech fizzled out when his own government struck a bailout deal of $6 billion with the IMF.
Rising inflation, hike in petroleum prices, current account deficit, unemployment and no foreign direct investment are the core economic heads in which government has miserably failed despite making tall claims.
3. Austerity measures
In his televised speech to the nation, Imran Khan had announced that austerity measures would be adopted to cut expenditures. He had declared that the expenses of the president and prime minister houses would be decreased besides bars on VIP protocol for ministers and the government officials.
Unfortunately, the drive didn’t yield substantial outcomes but proved much as a political stunt rather than improving the condition of the ailing economy.
On one hand, the government auctioned the luxury cars and the PM House’s buffalos to curtail expenditures, while on the other hand, billions were wasted on the royal reception of Saudi crown prince Muhammad Bin Salman.
The size of the cabinet at the time of administering the oath was 21 and now it has swollen to 47 thus increasing administrative expenditure manifold. Interestingly, the prime minister is not living in the official residence yet the budget of the PM House has been increased by 19%.
The last year, Rs259.81 million was allocated to the president’s household and staff expenditure, but this year it is Rs281.54 million. So much so, the President House released a tender of Rs1.948 million to construct new cages for parrots. So, the selling of luxury cars and the cattle was just an eyewash? Besides, many other departments are not paying heed to the PM’s drive for austerity.
It became evident that PTI in power is a different beast from the party that had campaigned for bringing back the looted money of the nation, establishing the state like that of Madinah, abolishing amnesty scheme, providing jobs to youngsters, low-cost houses to millions of people and adopting austerity measures.
4. Surrounded by cronies
Paradoxically, the current cabinet consists of those ministers who also served the PPP and Nawaz Sharif governments. Imran Khan used to cavil at previous government’s policies. Almost all the main ministries are pocketed by the people who are not from PTI, be it finance, home, petroleum, defence production and railways. All those members joined the bandwagon of PTI while sitting on the fence.
Asad Umar was considered Aristotle of PTI who used to explain economic policies and soaring inflation. Imran Khan and his aides also realised that monetary policies were too serious to be left with an Engro salesman and they whispered into ears of Imran Khan to get rid of Umar.
Despite the fact, Aleem Khan, Jahangir Tareen, Naeemul Haq and Zulfiqar Bukhari are not parliamentarians but they have a strong influence on the party. Their interference in decision making is also not liked by the members inside of the party.
5. Amnesty scheme
Imran Khan has not been able to stand even on his own maxims. A few days ago, Imran Khan announced an amnesty scheme for tax evaders. It was a bolt from the blue for the public and provided a reason for the public to mock at the government’s own policies.
When the previous government had announced tax amnesty, it drew angry rebuke from Imran Khan calling it scheme of “protecting the thieves” and ensured the public he would put all those behind the bars who took benefits from the amnesty scheme but after assuming the power, Aleema Khan. Jahangir Tareen and Aleem Khan are given a fair chance to clean up their black money.
6. ‘Netting’ more taxpayers
It is the poorer segment of the society that always suffers the most when a country is grappling with economic turmoil. Like the previous government, the PTI government is also demanding from the poor strata to sacrifice more rather shifting the burden onto the wealthy segment of the society.
7. Failed to protect minorities
In his speech on the occasion of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s birthday anniversary December 25, 2018, he told the nation that in ‘Naya Pakistan’ minorities would be treated as equal citizens. Apparently, he is more welcoming to the minorities of India by opening up borders for them, but for minorities in Pakistan, priorities are different.
How minorities are safe in Pakistan can be gauged from the fact that Atif Mian, who belonged to the Ahmadi community, was forced to step down from the position of the member of the Economic Advisory Council. Imran Khan is more kind to Sikhs of India but pays little heeds towards the forced conversion of Hindu girls in Sindh.
Pathetically, Imran Khan lauded the act of New Zealand’s prime minister for her solidarity with the Muslims community, but he didn’t bother to console the victims of Hazara community who were killed in Quetta.
8. Pashtoon syndrome
During the election campaign of 2013, Imran Khan was the sole leader who visited Northern areas of Pakistan canvassing for votes by using the ethnic card. He has been advocating for the cause of Pashtoon for the last 15 years so much so he has remained a staunch supporter of Pashtoon Taliban. All his affection for Pashtoon slowly petered out when Pashtoon took to streets for their rights and the political leaders were arrested by law enforcing agencies.
9. The foreign policy fiasco
Imran Khan’s mistake of distorting geography can be ignored on account of slip of tongue but when it comes to international forum you cannot expect blunders by asserting that Pakistan’s territory was used by terrorists. Whether or not Pakistan’s territory was used as a hideout for militants that is a different thing, but being a leader of the country and that too speaking on serious notes, one cannot expect such nonsense from the premier of the country. Pakistan and Iran enjoy cordial relation. How laughable it is to speak of establishing the state of Madinah while ignoring the context and geography of the country you are visiting.
For whole years Imran Khan’s campaign was Nawaz-centric. Imran harped on (Modi Ka jo Yar ha, ghadar ha (he who is a friend of Modi, is a traitor). Moreover, Imran Khan has failed to bring international leaders on table talk.
In a massive embarrassment, Imran Khan could not convince Russia President Vladimir Putin for a bilateral meeting at the BRI summit.
10. Reforming cricket
When the national team was underperforming, Imran Khan had scolded the then premier Nawaz Sharif and questioned him of appointing the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Later on, Imran Khan nominated Ihsaan Mani, a chartered accountant, as the chairman of PCB. He was not even happy with Pakistan Super League (PSL) led by Najam Sethi, a staunch opponent of Khan. However, despite these structural changes, the national team could not sweep any mega international event save few domestic shows like PSL and under 19 contests.
These mantras are not new. It is easier said than done. Nevertheless, there is no denying the fact that country is facing economic and social woes, but common people must realise that every politician uses the rhetoric approach as populist tactics and there is a wide difference while being inside and outside of the government.
It is evident that the captain, along with the crew, has no clear vision to steer the ship. Before reigning in as premier of the country, substantial homework was required to avoid chaos and bedlam.