News Analysis |
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has finally presented its agenda to be completed within the first 100 days of government — if the party manages to form the government after the next general elections.
Senior PTI leaders Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Asad Umar and former Secretary-General Jahangir Tareen and Shireen Mazari presented parts of the plan. Imran Khan was also present at the stage and later on addressed the ceremony. The PTI leaders chiefly focused on ‘strengthening federation’ and ‘empowering provinces’ to ensure national integration and economic growth.
Major points of the PTI’s plan are as follows:
FATA’s merger into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Vice-Chairman of the PTI, said that the Federally Administered Tribal Areas’ (FATA) merger into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was Imran Khan’s top priority.
As a matter of fact, ethnically motivated unrest in Pakistan cannot completely be attributed to socio-economic backwardness, rather there is also an ‘external involvement’ to destabilize the country.
“FATA reforms are a life old dream of Imran Khan, who has roamed the areas on foot, and to bring prosperity to the people of these areas who have been deprived for decades,” he said.
“The miseries of the people of FATA are evident for all the country to see. We will remove and abolish the oppressive system. We will launch a mega-development plan with involvement from the Federal Government.”
“Right now it is only the government of KP that has even thought of the people of FATA. We will engage all provinces to bring them into the mainstream and repeal the FCR with new laws in place after consultation with locals.”
“Through a constitutional route, we want to extend the jurisdiction of our courts; it’s been 1.5 years but this government has not set in place even one foundation stone for a legal structure in FATA.” Shah further said, “We will create employment opportunities for the people in FATA,”
South Punjab province
The Vice-Chairman of the PTI also said that his party intends to establish the South Punjab province on the administrative basis.
“Southern Punjab; a province of 4 crores. Today, this province is marginalized and there is no devolution of power there. We still sit with power in the hands of a few. It is time to remove this feeling of deprivation in Southern Punjab.”
The PTI leaders chiefly focused on ‘strengthening federation’ and ‘empowering provinces’ to ensure national integration and economic growth.
“This area is even bigger than the current province of KP and we want to empower it with the rights it deserves.”
“Balochistan is our future”
The PTI’s vice-chairman also said that “Balochistan is also the future of Pakistan and a fundamental of the CPEC project”.
Read more: PTI rules out alliance with PML-N and PPP
“Those who have raised arms against the state because of grievances and deprivation, we will not marginalize them further, rather bring them back into the mainstream,” assured Qureshi while commenting on the ongoing insurgency in Balochistan. “PTI’s government will heal the wounds of Balochistan,” he maintained.
“Promises had been made about Balochistan but they were not kept,” he regretted. “We will champion reconciliation in Balochistan and empower the government to launch large-scale efforts for political reconciliation under Imran Khan’s leadership,” he assured.
Focus on Karachi:
While talking about Karachi the PTI, said Qureshi, intends to crack down on the “qabza mafia” in the metropolis. “The first priority will be to restore peace and stability in Karachi, and carry out developments.”
“FATA reforms are a life old dream of Imran Khan, who has roamed the areas on foot, and to bring prosperity to the people of these areas who have been deprived for decades,”
The PTI government will provide a complete transport system in Karachi, said Qureshi. He further mentioned that “we will bring an empowered local government system in Karachi.”
Asad Umar, a senior leader of the PTI, while commenting on economic policies of the party said that “the PTI’s government will create 10 million new jobs in five years”. “We have to reduce the burden of taxes on traders, businessmen and industrialists. Small industries cannot bear the burden of an unfair system of taxation,” he said.
The electricity and gas prices will be brought down as par with other countries in the region, said Umar. “We will provide level-play fields to traders, farmers, businessmen and industrialists,” he assured.
Umar said that the private sector will be encouraged to build five million new homes within the first 100 days of his government under Prime Minister Imran Khan Housing Scheme.
The PTI’s focus on addressing the grievances of marginalized groups differentiate it from other political parties which focus to protect the interests of the ‘privileged class’ in the country.
“Let me make it clear that this will be done in the first 100 days by the Prime Minister Imran Khan, Insha Allah,” he clarified. Four new tourism spots, he said, will be created. “A competent FBR Chairman will be named after introducing reforms in the Federal Bureau of Revenue.”
“We have to end our dependence on thermal power. The biggest problem has been to import coal for power generation,” he said. The PTI leader also said that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a game changer.
Speaking on the occasion, the PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tarin said that small farmers will be given loans in order to enhance productivity. “More fruit and vegetable markets will be set up across Pakistan,” he said.
“We will impose an agriculture emergency to increase farmer profitability, reduce taxes on diesel, encourage a change in crop-mix, and optimize subsidy programs along with other initiatives,” he added.
An interesting but an incomplete plan?
The plan outlined by the senior leaders of the PTI is interesting, appreciable and comprehensive with regard to the domestic affairs of Pakistan. Pakistan needs to focus on the process of national integration and it must identify the underlying factors behind the rise of ethnic-nationalist movements. The PTI’s focus on self-rule—transfer of power from an assertive centre to the marginalized, underdeveloped provinces— and economic development is both interesting and the key to coping with anti-federation feelings in Pakistan.
The PTI leader also said that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a game changer.
Economic prosperity will help to address the grievances of the people of FATA who are currently staging protests and demanding their basic rights. Similarly, Balochistan and South Punjab are marginalized areas in Pakistan that demand attention, policy and political will. The PTI’s focus on addressing the grievances of marginalized groups differentiate it from other political parties which focus to protect the interests of the ‘privileged class’ in the country.
Read more: Can the new entrants from Jhang win for PTI?
Karachi has been facing acute security and economic challenges for the last few years. The PTI’s focus on Karachi is a message to the Urdu-speaking community that they too are an integral part of Pakistan and their problems are being addressed by a national political party.
But the PTI’s sheer silence on external affairs of Pakistan is a matter of grave concern. This is the 21st century, no state can claim to be self-sufficient. Nor anyone can claim to grow without cooperating with other like-minded or otherwise states. The PTI is known to be a party of educated middle-class men and women but its silence on external affairs when outlining a plan for the first 100 days of the government is seriously alarming. This makes the plan if anything, incomplete and less-effective within the framework of the regional and global political order.
Pakistan is on good terms with emerging China these days but matters with the United States and her strategic partner, India are not going very well. An unstable Afghanistan and a confident Iran cannot be completely ignored by Islamabad. As a matter of fact, ethnically motivated unrest in Pakistan cannot completely be attributed to socio-economic backwardness, rather there is also an ‘external involvement’ to destabilize the country.
RAW has been funding separatists in Balochistan and Karachi to achieve their desired ends in Pakistan. The ongoing so-called movement for the rights of Pashtuns is being given ‘extra’ coverage by the Indian and western media to malign Pakistan. This shows how Pakistan’s internal affairs are linked to the external forces.
Imran Khan needs to take into account both domestic and external challenges Pakistan is facing at the moment. Focusing on internal instability and economic growth without smelling the international scenario may not allow the PTI to achieve their intended goals within 100 or 200 days.