News Analysis |
In a rather shocking move, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday admitted that he had misconceptions about the leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), however, now it was quite possible that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and MQM may contest the next general election as allies.
PM Khan was addressing at the foundation stone laying ceremony of Hyderabad University when he made these remarks and maintained that initially he was afraid of MQM-P’s presence in his cabinet but with the passage of time he realized exactly the opposite. He praised the performance of Information Technology and Telecommunication Minister Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Dr. Mohammad Farogh Naseem. “When our government was formed, these two ministers joined our cabinet. We were afraid of what might happen. But today I will say this: there aren’t any cabinet members more refined than these two,” the premier stated.
Prime Minister vociferously criticized a “strange phenomenon” that had taken root in General Musharraf’s era, namely the concept of “enlightened moderation which doesn’t even hold any purpose”.
It is important to note that PTI formed an alliance with MQM-P after winning the general elections in 2018. Now analysts believe that PM Khan’s comments reflect the fact that the alliance is facing no existential threat as was being speculated by some segments of media. But it also demonstrates that Mr. Khan has realized the political significance of MQM-P in Sindh and particularly in Karachi that despite winning from the metropolitan he wants to contest the upcoming local bodies/general elections with them.
Jibran Nasir, an independent candidate who lost elections in Karachi, said that PTI chief does not believe in his party’s ability to win the upcoming elections. “MQM’s power base is Karachi. If PTI Chief says his party will contest next elections with MQM it means he doesn’t believe PTI members elected from Karachi (majority seats) can deliver and he doesn’t have faith they’ll be re-elected or he fears tough opposition in coming weeks,” he tweeted.
MQM's power base is Karachi. If PTI Chief says his party will contest next elections with MQM it means he doesn't believe PTI members elected from Karachi (majority seats) can deliver and he doesn't have faith they'll be re-elected or he fears tough opposition in coming weeks.
— M. Jibran Nasir 🇵🇸 (@MJibranNasir) April 4, 2019
It may be noted here that in the past PM Khan was a staunch critic of MQM and its politics. He has criticized the party for using violence as its political tool in Karachi. But after Altaf Hussain was disassociated from the party, there seemed to emerge an entirely new relationship between the two parties.
Importance of Higher Education
Furthermore, laying emphasis on the importance of higher education and the asset that the nation has by way of its youth, the prime minister said: “Where we stand now, we should understand that of this 210-million-strong country, 60 percent of the people is below the age of 30. When you will not teach the youth skills and equip them, when they won’t have an education and will remain unemployed, they will become a problem for the country,” the prime minister stressed.
He expressed disbelief over some quarters opposing the building of universities. “I have never been able to understand the theory behind such thinking,” he said in exasperation. “Who can oppose the creation of a university? What kind of a mind can rationalize that a university should not be created? It is beyond me,” he said.
PM Khan on Enlightened Modernization
Prime Minister vociferously criticized a “strange phenomenon” that had taken root in General Musharraf’s era, namely the concept of “enlightened moderation which doesn’t even hold any purpose”. The idea was introduced by the former military dictator to reform Pakistan’s education system and make it modernized. PM Khan said that ever since this idea had taken hold in the society, there was an uptake in the “emphasis on the English language which had harmed the psyche of the youth and driven those who are not familiar with the language to feel an inferiority complex”.
While taking a jibe at PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari PM Khan pointed out his disregard for more than 90% Pakistanis who cannot understand the English language. “Take the example of the parliament,” the premier said. “Bilawal Bhutto is found addressing in English. You do nothing but denigrate your own fellow citizens this way. Ninety percent of Pakistanis do not know the English language and we know this fact. Then how do we continue to speak in English on public forums?”