Farah Adeed |
Prime Minister Imran Khan, the man presented as the iron man of Pakistan, is seemingly in troubled waters. A failing economy, poor governance models in Punjab and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and untimely reshuffles in the federal cabinet have raised some serious questions about his government and the future of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). This piece is an attempt to raise some questions and find out the answer if Khan’s idea of Naya Pakistan is relevant anymore.
Khan attracted young men and women from across the country because of his clear vision and charisma he has carried for the last many years. The PTI was little known before a successful and historic rally in Lahore back in 2011. It was the time when Khan managed to get the attention of the youth and educated middle class in urban Pakistan.
Why? Let it be very clear, Khan is not an economist and he will have to completely rely on a guy who is said to be “Washington’s blue-eyed man” and someone who has worked as finance minister during the PPP government.
As a matter of fact, the PTI did not perform well during the general elections in 2013 but it surprised its early critics in 2018 when Khan’s party was able to form government not only in the Center and the KP but also in the Punjab which is traditionally treated as Sharifs’ political stronghold.
Is Imran Khan on the Right Track?
To win the election was easy. The real test of Khan and his idea of Naya Pakistan begun after he assumed the highest executive office in the country. He was expected to be different. His admirers and haters expected him to be strict, and uncompromising. Everyone was ready to welcome a Naya Pakistan.
But after a journey of almost eight months, the situation has transformed from bad to worse. The questions at the moment are; has Khan laid down the foundation of Naya Pakistan? Is he committed to what he had promised? Is he on the right track?
Back to Square One?
With the passage of time, a bitter reality was exposed that although Khan was prepared to sit in the seat of the prime minister, his team was not ready to assume any challenging responsibility. We have learned that while Khan was lecturing us on the economy and politics, his team was not working to outline an economic plan for reforming and restructuring a struggling economy.
Resultantly, a cabinet where technocrats who have worked with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the parties Khan blame for Pakistan’s failing economy is now planning to materialize Khan’s promised change. Dr Farukh Saleem, an economist, rightly pointed out that “the idea of Naya Pakistan has been buried” and now efforts are being made to ensure continuity of the Old Pakistan.
To ensure the interest of young supporters in politics and commitment to the idea of change i.e. a culture of honesty, transparency, and rule of law, the PTI chief need to sit down with his old ideological friends and outline the future of his party.
Naya Pakistan is dead now. Why? Let it be very clear, Khan is not an economist and he will have to completely rely on a guy who is said to be “Washington’s blue-eyed man” and someone who has worked as finance minister during the PPP government. How come that a man who has never been close to Khan or a member of his party or even someone who has never subscribed to Khan’s Naya Pakistan shall help to create an economic model envisioned by the PTI chief?
Asad Umar – Face of Tabdeeli
Asad Umar is a true face of a Tabdeeli the PTI promised. Throwing Asad Umar out of the cabinet clearly indicates that the said decision-making body is now not willing to stand in line with the charter of Naya Pakistan. A friend on social media correctly depicted the situation, saying “Asad Umar’s departure is a message to all of us; Old Pakistan is better than Naya Pakistan”. To be brief, there is no reason to fool the nation since Khan is no longer on the right track. You cannot build a Naya Pakistan with the help of PPP’s federal cabinet.
Read more: Why did Imran Khan replace Asad Umar?
Is Imran the Decision Maker?
The appointment of Azam Swati, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Firdous Ashiq Awan, and Ijaz Shah raise serious questions about Khan’s political understanding and freedom to take decisions at the moment. There are many media reports which suggest Khan is probably not independent to take all these decisions rather he is provided with a list to announce it. However, Khan’s confidence while delivering speeches rejects such impressions.
These are crucial days for the PTI to maintain its image as an anti-status quo party and a party of committed and selfless Pakistanis who actually want to make Pakistan a Western-style democracy in terms of service delivery and performance.
To ensure the interest of young supporters in politics and commitment to the idea of change i.e. a culture of honesty, transparency, and rule of law, the PTI chief need to sit down with his old ideological friends and outline the future of his party. For Khan, the government or its continuity would never be a challenge but what must haunt him are the principles he outlined to introduce and implement in Pakistan.
Farah Adeed is a Senior Research Analyst in GVS. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s Editorial Policy.