When Henry V positioned his army for battle on a recently plowed field of Agincourt, which was bounded by woods that limited the advantage of numbers that the French enjoyed, he knew the terrain favored his army and disadvantaged the opponent. The subsequent battle led to abject defeat for the French, and the cream of their aristocratic youth perished under a torrent of lethal English arrows. As the choice of the battlefield is key to success in warfare, real political mastery in politics lies in the setting of the agenda of one’s own choice. PTI has endured many challenges ever since it came to power.
PTI successfully for the first three years made reforms its agenda, and despite the suffering the public has to endure, they were after undergoing the hardships beginning to see the benefits of the tortuously difficult task of undertaking structural change. And the gains of doing so were also beginning to reflect in most macroeconomic indicators. Growth had picked and interest rates were coming down. Employment was gradually picking up, and the opposition seemed lost. But as in love politics, the course of politics never does flow smoothly.
Was it bad a decision to elect PTI as the ruler of the country?
For some inexplicable reason, it was decided to abandon the solid and winning ground of reform and structural change that PTI legions commanded, but instead much to the joy of the opposition, their mantra of 6% growth was suddenly adopted. Instead of reform and transformation of the economy, growth was the touchstone against which all would now be measured. Consequently, the spigots of spending were opened. As it was inevitable that the heavily armed French Aristocratic knights would and get bogged in the boggy fields of Agincourt, and duly cut down like a scythe cutting wheat chaff, the economic numbers fell in Pakistan with imports rising rapidly and trade deficit dramatically deteriorated while the Rupee tanked.
To cap it all, an already inflationary environment due to international commodity prices was exacerbated by the rupee depreciation. Now GOP grapples with inflation through all manner of administrative controls with their own negative ramifications. Every day has done new measure is introduced to stop the free trade in currency. And all this simply because to fight on the battlefield of the opposition’s choice. PTI’s reform agenda was and is a winner that the people will support if given the opportunity. It may imply short term difficulties but the awaam is not foolish and willing to see short term sacrifices for a better future”.
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Javed Hassan has worked in senior executive positions both in the profit and non-profit sector in Pakistan and internationally. He is an investment banker by training. He Tweets @javedhassan. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.