In Immy’s (Now Prime Minister of Pakistan) cricketing career he made total 7 centuries which includes 6 in Test matches and 1 in ODI’s. His highest runs being 102* (not out), with a strike rate of 72.65 and Average of 33.41 he concluded his cricketing days by becoming the World Champions in 1992 Cricket World Cup. (Figures Courtesy ESPNCricinfo.com)
The latest century which Imran Khan played is after taking oath as 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan. This century would be remembered by him and all Pakistanis as First 100 Days of his premiership. These 100 days have symbolic significant as Khan himself announced 100 Days Agenda a month before General Election 2018. Now this period, both by government sources, observers national and international considered a benchmark to measure the early success of the prevailing government and will also lay a foundation for the coming five years which are to be completed by Khans Party. In this 100 days PM Khan had himself set a benchmark to judge and analyze the work performance of his Ministers. Imran Khans populist rhetoric has raised expectations which he now finds next to impossible or he finds hard to meet. But honestly speaking mixing sport of cricket with politics has its own perils.
It’s really not easy period for an inexperienced supreme leader to get control of what he often used to define as ungovernable state. The cricketer turn politician came in to power through the elections which left the country politically polarized. With mere a wafer-thin majority, the untested administration has to go in deep waters. Imran Khan has been very much reluctant to come out of opposition mindset and his one dimensional approach has turned his politics into stuff of satire.
PTI seemed to be in right direction while formulating policy of prioritizing human development and other parameters associated with it but failing badly in governance part as it completely lacks strategy or directions to meet the 11 point agenda. Health, education, self-reliance and eradication of corruption have topped the priority list. One can see the glorified departure of noon league through NAB but no sign of substantial progress on meeting the goals in first 100 days. There is no evidence or plan to prove the claim of stabilizing the economic/financial situation of the country. There is no doubt in mentioning that PTI was inherited by poor state of economy. This worse state of economy had been major impediment in moving forward on the promises made by the administration of PTI. The top priority of the government should have been fixing the economy, but there is no sign of country getting out this turmoil. The crises is getting more worse due to lack of long term policy, government is more concern or is engaged only in patchwork job rather than coming up with a concrete solution for it.
Now to run smooth affairs of the government, the most valuable key player is Bureaucracy. When PTI came into power, the most senior positions in Federal Ministries were filled by civil servants who had worked closely with PMLN government. Now the prospect of abrupt posting or transfers of these civil servants and appointments of handpicked favorite bureaucrats was not practiced as it was against the vision of depoliticizing bureaucracy by Imran Khan. As a result PTI had to face a big blow and a string of typical resistance to the said change from the so called bureaucracy. PTI has to learn how to work with these civil servants; they can come to terms with, only with passage of time. PTI needs lots of effort and well informed appointments for getting the right man for the right job. Civil servant machinery has experienced significant changes but a lot has to be accomplished. Imran khan has made multiple committees and task force to make necessary amendments and improvements in the senior and middle civil servant structure which is consider being a sign of early frustration by Khan. But whatever might be, if the changes are made, the fruit of these efforts cannot be gauged before a considerable passage of time.
Imran Khan recently said that making U-turns is a hallmark of great leaders. Those who don’t take U-turns are fools or liars. For an instance we give IK a benefit of doubt and assume that he actually meant that great leaders change their tactics or strategies according to the prevailing or changing conditions. Or in other words the supreme leaders can’t fulfill their promises due to unforeseen reasons or adverse circumstances. Now what Imran will perhaps be remembered for his practice of taking U-turns and also defending this habit. The list of these U-turns are growing and eventually creating embarrassment for the party leaders, as backtracking is very common in politics. This in the end has given chance to the opposition and critics to bash PTI eventually eating the words back. Winston Churchill once famously said; “When the facts change, I change my mind”. I think PM would have referred to this quote while justifying the numerous U-turns. I believe under the slogan of NAYA PAKISTAN the overambitious government is slowly chipping away from our constitutions core principle of parliamentary sovereignty and democratic values. Pakistan is still a young democracy, looking for reinforcement through convention, tradition and norms based on democratic values. The prevailing government is not playing by the said rules; instead it’s having pride in for being different from the rest of the political elites.
Now while relying on the bailout from Saudi Arabia and China, there is no clear sign by the government willing to take tough measures to reform and restructure the financial condition of the country. The 2 trips to the said countries along with one to UAE, Khan would have been successful in his endeavor but at the cost of reinforcing the image of country which is surviving on the bowl of begging. Now here comes the question of capacity and vision of long-term planning. Borrowing and begging do not provide a permanent solution to our perpetual financial crisis. It really hurts when a foreign aid or help is considered as a diplomatic triumph. What PM has failed to understand is that voodoo economics cannot provide a permanent solution to the deep rooted socio economic problems. PTI government got 1 Billion $ from Saudi Arabia at economic front and 3 Billion $ to build up foreign currency reserves and also another 3 Billion $ for oil facility on deferred payment. On the other hand PTI could not secure a package from China, UAE and Malaysia, while talks with IMF are on table for another bailout package. PTI has to introduce major reforms in FBR and tax collection is facing a shortfall of 60 Billion Rupees in the first 4 months of the fiscal year. The budget deficit is exceeded by 1.4% of GDP in the first quarter of the current fiscal year against 1.2% in the same period of last fiscal year. Inflation has been on the rise and the CPI based inflation has gone up to 6.8% for October 18.
According to the World Bank experts, PTI government has slashed expenditures by 30% and this cut can go up to 70% in terms of project developments. PTI government has put an end to Punjab Govt Laptop Scheme hence saving another 8 Billion Rupees in a single strike. The other major achievement in cutting down the expenses is by minimizing the maintenance expenditures of public offices, accommodation and related facilities. Billions of rupees have been saved by slashing the funds required to run President House, Prime Minister and Governor Houses. Foreign travelling expense has been at halt in addition to luxury vehicles. I think these measures do not put a major dent in national exchequer nor they ameliorate national budget deficit, but this shows the determination and political will of the leadership.
Well in 100 days the task which is 100 % completed is building a special task force to recover the looted national wealth. The rest of the pledges Khans team made are partially completed or still in progress. The projects like disability resource centers for disable persons, open all governmental guest houses for public, implementation of policy framework to build 5 Million houses, rural electrification through renewable and off grid solutions, revamp the livestock sector, expand meat production, revive manufacturing and facilitating rapid growth in SME sector, establish at least 10 technical universities, launch 10 billion tree tsunami program to restore forests, built state of are hospitals in major urban centers, develop 20 new tourist destinations etc. are still IN PROGRESS. The projects which have yet NOT STARTED are introduce “adopt a madrassah scheme”, launch nationwide literacy program, create education fund for young entrepreneurs, allocating housing units to person with disabilities, provide stipends to secondary school going girls, establish gender based violence courts, crack down of Karachi water mafia, establish women police stations and desks at all levels, establish quota for women in local government and boards of public bodies etc.
I will say it’s clear that due to lack of experience, the prevailing government is like “learning on the job”. But this learning period is costing democratic foundations and further harming different government institutions. Imran Khan and his team are slowly gripping the administration of Pakistan. Successes and failures are bound to occur side by side. Yes I will say there is no doubt the mark has been missed, the 100 days agenda is still vague and unfulfilled. On the other hand Imran Khan is growing his vision and experience. Adding a pint of optimism, IK and his team will learn in time and from each incident. The newly elected government is on the right track, at present Pakistan is facing heavy odds and only thing which will make them meet the enormous challenges is dedication and solid conviction to the cause. What matters a lot are the directions and the mindset; there is a light at the end of each tunnel. At present the country needs unity and strong faith. I say if the pledges or promises are not fulfilled in 100 days, I request the nation to give another 200 days to this honest leader. We had been suffering for last 70 years, why cannot we bet on another 200 days under the leadership of Imran Khan. I believe Miracles do happen and they will for sure in case of PAKISTAN.
Long Live Pakistan