Opinion @ TDR: A bumpy road lies ahead for PTI government

By T.A. Malik
Tuesday – August 28, 2018
KARACHI: Prime minister (PM) Imran Khan now holds the reins of power in the center. The cricketer-turned-politician has come a long way to finally become the chief executive of the country, to transform the society and develop envisioned in his party’s manifesto and promises he made during the election campaign.

It was a long struggle for Khan to finally assume the power in center; but this was just a fraction of struggle that he will have to make to realise the goals of a developed, prosperous and corruption-free Pakistan.

Pakistan is a difficult country to govern; from the linguistic and ethnic fault lines to poorly managed governance system, which is marred with rampant corruption and red-tapeism.

Undoubtedly, Pakistan is blessed with enormous natural and human resources, however our ears are so familiar with this oft-repeated saying that it doesn’t sound new or fascinating to our ears.

If Khan will be beating the same drum of “country been gifted with precious resources” like our past rulers have then nothing substantial will come out as we witnessed in the 70 years’ history of this ill-fated country.

Khan is supposed to translate the God-gifted natural and human resources into assets and wealth for uplifting the lives of more than 200 million people countrywide.

This task is so gigantic that Khan will be really jolted if he put his hands into the real issues the country is faced with.

The foremost and formidable task of Khan will be to act like a good manager to streamline the disorderly placed issues in the government sector.

This task will be accomplished only if he tightens the nose around the bureaucracy, which, over the years has turned into an uncontrollable white elephant.

This white elephant has been eating the natural resources in the form of salaries, perks and privileges, but delivering nothing in return.

The present “worst state of affairs” in bureaucracy, we didn’t inherit from our colonial masters at the time of the partition of united India.

In fact, what Pakistan inherited at the time of its creation was the “best brains” of superior service.

They were “brilliant bureaucrats,” who did excellent job to put on track a new-born country, which lacked not only financial resources but adequate human resources to manage the largest Muslim country, at the world map, at the time of the partition of the united India.

This bureaucracy performed well until it was politicised by the rulers for their vested interests.

It was then that the bureaucratic structure began to crumble and now we find that the bureaucracy is tainted with scandals and corruption scams.

The civil service reforms as Khan announced in his maiden televised address to the nation is the right and timely approach to address this issue.

However, Khan should not embark upon this mission half-heartedly as we saw in the past that such reforms at the end landed in the dustbin due to hurdles created by the “mighty bureaucracy” against reforms’ implementation.

Imran’s slogan of a “corruption free Pakistan” sounds sweet to the ears, however it is one of the most challenging tasks the new PM is to deal with.

If he merely talks and doesn’t implement his words for across the board accountability, then he will surely be disappointing the nation.

The accountability should not be confined to only politicians and bureaucrats as we saw in the past. The so called “holy cows” in the the shape of judges and generals should also be held accountable for their misdeeds, otherwise the accountability process will lose the esteem if it targets only the civilian side of the governance.

The challenges on the economic front are another uphill task for the new government and will be the real test for the economic managers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in center.

The national economy is in tatters and needs the iron will of the incumbent regime to put it back on track.

The first task will be to put in check the burgeoning trade and current account deficits, which are hitting dangerous heights due to excessive imports and government spending.

PTI government will be treading on a difficult path to manage the economy and to transform it into a vibrant one, to accomplish the socio-economic agenda of PM Khan.

We have to wait for some time to witness what radical structural changes the new government brings in or if it sticks with the same old-fashioned approach of seeking bailout package from the international financial institutions (IFIs) to build up the forex reserves to bridge trade and budget deficits.

Khan is fortunate that he has assumed power with the backing of electorates, who believe in his sincerity and intentions.

The people of Pakistan have pinned high hopes on Khan after having witnessed dejection at the hands of the past regimes’ bad governances.

But at the same time, a huge responsibility also lies on Khan’s shoulders to deliver expeditiously and truly while driving the country on the bumpy road of gigantic problems.

The writer is a political analyst and can be reached at: ta420438@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: The opinion expressed in this article has nothing to do whatsoever with the agenda, policy, guidelines, opinions, reports and/or views held by the management of The Daily Recorder (TDR - www.thedailyrecorder.com) and/or its associated team.