News Desk |
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader and Minister of Education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Muhammad Atif Khan, defended his party against the allegations of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz on Dunya News TV show, Tonight with Moeed Pirzada. Maryam Nawaz, while speaking to a public gathering in Mansehra on 16th February, alleged that Imran Khan’s PTI has done nothing for the people of KP.
She also alleged that the whole ideology of PTI is based on lies. “Your politics is a lie, your 350 dams are a lie, your 2 billion trees are a lie, your allegations are lies and you are yourself a liar”, said Maryam. The father of Maryam Nawaz, deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, made similar a statement while addressing a public gathering in Haripur on 20th January.
“How many schools have you made in the KP? How many hospitals have you made? How many universities have you made? How many colleges? You have instead closed the existing schools. Where are the 2 billion trees that you have claimed to planted? Show me even 200 trees that you’ve planted if you can.” Nawaz asked Khan at a public gathering at Haripur. The education minister of KP, Atif Khan, started by stating that the Supreme Court had already established who the real liar is.
Read more: Is PTI facing an existential crisis?
He then highlighted his government’s performance in the past 5 years but requested that the performance of PTI’s government should be compared with that of the previous government of Awami National Party (ANP) and the provincial governments in the other provinces. Atif Khan claimed that the prime responsibility of every government is to maintain law and order, and the security situation of the province had improved greatly in the past 5 years.
Khan asserted that KP was the least corrupt province in Pakistan according to every corruption index while it was considered to be the most corrupt province in the ANP’s government. The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) conducted a survey in February 2016 which found that Punjab was the most corrupt province of Pakistan, while KPK was last in terms of corruption. Later, being the education minister of KP, he underscored his party’s effort in the education department of KP.
Even though Nawaz Sharif’s claims are considered false by majority of political and media experts, their efficacy has not been denied.
“We have constructed 2428 new schools in the province, among which 850 are new while the remaining was upgraded.” Khan also told that 450 non-functional schools in KP were made functional. He claimed that the buildings were made but furniture, staff and utilities like water and electricity were not presented to those 450 schools because of corruption but his party made efforts to make them functional.
“Top 9 out of the top 10 districts with the best education facilities belong to the KP,” claimed the education minister. The fifth annual District Education Rankings by the Alif Ailaan education campaign was released in December last year in Islamabad. It showed that KP was the best performing province in terms of educational facilities and infrastructure.
While talking about the power generation in the KP, Atif stated that his party had added 74 megawatts in the power generation capacity of KP. When asked about their failure to meet the 350 megawatts target at the start of their government, Khan responded that his party had created a localized run of the river hydroelectric plants in many small villages of KP to make them self-sufficient.
Responding to the Sharif’s allegations that no 2 billion trees were planted in KP, Khan clarified that they never claimed to have planted 2 billion trees, the name of the project was ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ which makes it obvious that the goal was to plant one billion trees. He stated that KP was the only government to complete the international Bonn challenge and their project has been accepted and acknowledged by the whole world. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has officially accepted the completion of the project in October last year.
Atif Khan concluded the meeting by lamenting that his party has not been successful in showcasing its projects in the KP government because they don’t want to spend millions of rupees of taxpayers’ money on advertisements. He declared that it was unethical to use public money for private gains as some parties have done in the past.
Read more: The real difference between PTI and PML-N
Even though Nawaz Sharif’s claims are considered false by majority of political and media experts, their efficacy has not been denied. Imran Khan and PTI have been advised by the media experts to make more efforts in highlighting the achievements of their government since there are ways to sway public opinion and staying silent on your efforts might not be very effective. PTI needs to draw comparisons between their government and the PML-N government to give conclusive evidence to the public that their party is the better party.
Mere allegations of corruption are not very effective against political rivals, a policy that Imran Khan has been following since day one. The recent by-elections in Lodhran have also proved to be an eye opener for PTI as they have lost in what is considered to be their home ground. Political analysts believe that if PTI wants to win, they would have to devise a new strategy to counter the PML-N narrative with their own narrative rather than only negating what is said by PML-N.