For how long will you blame the previous government for your failures, PTI?

Published: October 6, 2018
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How can anyone believe in PTI after watching them turn into the same people they criticised previously? PHOTO: PTI OFFICIAL

It has been only seven weeks since the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government took over the reins of the country and it is already evident that the government, especially its finance minister, has no clue of the direction the economy is taking. It is, of course, the fault of the PTI leadership, who brainwashed its followers into believing that Imran Khan could change the face of Pakistan by eliminating corruption and recovering the looted money immediately after winning the elections.

Perhaps the slogans were deliberate; Imran and his associates knew that it was impossible to achieve so much in such a short span of time. Or perhaps they really believed it themselves. As the Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels used to say,

“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.”

He also said,

“The bigger the lie, the more it will be believed.”

PTI voters were convinced that all our taxes are siphoned out of the country and deposited in foreign bank accounts or used to buy property in Dubai. They were told that just by arresting a few civil servants and tax-evaders, the change PTI promised would happen overnight.

The 16.8 million people who voted for PTI actually expected miracles within a very short time of their party coming into power. As even a layman knows, miracles do not happen overnight. Yet his charisma is so great that Imran was able to persuade his simple followers that he was the chosen one, the man who would be able to make their dreams come true. Some PTI voters even believed that the dollar would soon be available for Rs40, and asked everyone they knew to sell all the dollars they had. As the sycophantic Senator Faisal Jawed said,

“As long as Imran Khan exists, Pakistan exists.”

Apparently he forgot that Pakistan existed long before Imran was even born.

Alas, the miracle has not occurred, and there is no evidence that it will occur in the near future. The dollar has appreciated against the rupee (and is expected to be worth around Rs140 in the next two or three months). The stock exchange index continues to fall, and the economy itself appears to be in free-fall. The State Bank has raised the interest rate by 1%, and a further hike is expected, which will result in massive inflation. Growth rate is expected to slow down to 4.8%, if not lower.

Despite Imran proclaiming loudly that he will not go begging to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), his finance minister is doing just that. So, really, there is no difference between this government and the ones that came before. Gas prices have been raised and with electricity bills sure to increase, we are all in for a nightmare.

 

How does one expect PTI to fulfill its promises regarding the country’s economy when they are going back on everything their party stood for? How can anyone believe in them after watching them turn into the same people they were criticising previously? In the first few weeks of being in power, PTI’s priorities have been such that you wonder if they even know what really matters in the country. Firstly, there was the question of where the prime minister would live. He had said that he would not live in the PM house and that it would be converted into a university. So he decided to live in the quarters of the military secretary (which incidentally is part of the PM house colony). He may be fooling the people who voted for him, but he is not fooling the rest of the country.

Then there was the matter of protocol, which Imran highly detested. But the protocol continues to be in force, whether it is for him, for the president or his ministers. He also went back on his promise to not go abroad in the first three months of coming into power. He said he would travel on commercial flights and not travel in business class. But in the very first month of assuming office, he travelled to Saudi Arabia in an official Air Force plane and also took along plenty of ministers and others with him, a practice he used to criticise when he was in opposition.

They also had a justification for their helicopter travel adventures. Fawad Chaudhry’s claim that a helicopter requires only Rs55 to take the prime minister from his home in Bani Gala to the prime minister’s house, only proves that the intelligence of everyone associated with PTI can be questioned. I even suspect that when they say ‘billion’, they really mean ‘crore’ (10 million).

Furthermore, PTI and its leader always claimed they are against dynastic rule, but unfortunately they accept anything when it comes to their party. Close friends of the prime minister have been named ministers and advisors, which makes us wonder, where is the merit now? Some of these include Naeemul Haq, Aleem Khan (under investigation by NAB), Awn Chaudhry and Zulfi Bukhari (despite being a British national, as well as under investigation for being in the Panama Leaks scandal and owning offshore properties).

Recently, Umar removed the ban on non-filers to buy vehicles and property, which shocked the country. Then he re-imposed the ban, only allowing overseas non-filer Pakistanis to buy property. But with the current volatile situation in the country and with the government backtracking on every measure it announces, how can overseas Pakistanis trust Imran, especially after his treatment of Atif Mian, a respected figure in international circles?

In the end, after all this mayhem and the inability of PTI to fulfil its promises, Chaudhry blames the previous government for PTI’s failures. This may help in the short term, but sooner or later, those who voted for the ruling party will be disillusioned and they will wonder whether the previous government was in fact better, or if following this whole ‘choosing the lesser evil’ mantra was a good idea. So unless this government takes drastic steps to improve the situation, people may come out on the streets protesting against false promises and impending price hikes.

The government needs to change its ways but while it fixes its problems, the country needs to be put first. Our economy is in shambles, we cannot afford to make mistakes anymore. The filing of returns should be made mandatory and there should be strict punishment for non-filers and tax thieves. Smuggling is a curse that has drowned this country in poverty. Just raiding the shops in Karkhano Bazaar in Peshawar, and all those markets in Karachi and other cities selling smuggled items will earn billions for the government. Taking the electricity and gas thieves to court and penalising them heavily, besides putting them in jail, will put the fear of God in others and will be another huge source of revenue.

The biggest revenue-earner will be the property sector, which has Rs7 trillion of black money invested in it. Some property price manipulators will have to be arrested and tried, but it will be worth it, even if a few of them are PTI donors.

But does this government have the will to do all of this?

I doubt it.

It will continue floundering like a sinking ship until the inevitable happens (as has happened so many times in the past), and a new government takes over.

Shakir Lakhani

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (twitter.com/shakirlakhani)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    You rightly say ” our economy is in shambles “……. would you be brave enough to explain how and why it managed to get that way.Recommend

  • Rahim

    You really think that you economics or states matters and imf funding, i am not here to criticise you mate but you need to read from better sources and the abyss Pakistan has fallen into after past two governnents. It will be very hard and time taking to reset things and asking recourse to rescue is must.Recommend

  • M rafi u zaman

    Must not hurry. Imran Khan was grilled for more than twenty years targeting his personal life. Let them suffer for corruption.For people of Pakistan things get smooth when rule of law is enforced.Recommend

  • Sheetal nadkarni

    this is the true face of Imran Khan.Recommend

  • Iftikhar Khan

    Excellent read about the first few weeks of PTI government. I don’t expect things to get any better as we move forward. The problems can be condensed into one word: Imran Khan. Simply glancing over his political career and social life, one can easily conclude that Imran Khan is not a smart person or a thinker, a reader, flexible, a philosopher, a visionary, a planner, a policy maker or even an ideologist. He basically believes what kids are taught in 2nd and 3rd grade, which is that honesty is the best policy. He extends honesty and clean governance as the sole variable which is directly proportional to success of the nation and of government as well. Additionally he believes in the use of spirituality in strictly rational matters.

    Such a person is more likely to do mistakes due to the lack of in depth knowledge and on top of it, the over confidence in self. If becoming PM was all he wanted, he could have become PM 15 years ago during Musharraf era. He almost destroyed his standing and PTI by trapping himself in an ill-conceived and prolong dharna. Fortunately for him, the TTP-send or his backers-send or together-send dreadful massacre at APS in Peshawar came just in time to pull him out of the dharna ditch.Recommend

  • farsar

    Ten years.Recommend

  • Anon

    Hilarious how many people first claim that PTI supporters are silly people who have been taken in by promises of miracles overnight. Now they say to these supporters….. see no miracles.

    Meanwhile PTI supporters mostly said “It will take time but we believe IK will try…” and are now saying “Give the government time, they can’t do miracles!” They all understand the difference between rhetoric and policy! A lot of our educated class seems unable to make this distinction.

    Talk about building strawmen and taking them down.Recommend

  • Farhan UL HAQ

    No one was silly enough to vote him for 100 days, We have been suffering for years and have elected him for five years . So be patient and un-bias untill next electionRecommend

  • Ali

    Are you serious? It hasnt even been 2 months and you’re whining about PTI and asking them not to hold previous govts accountable? The previous govts who have been responsible for ALL of the crisis Pakistani is facing today? Give me a break.

    Keep crying. PTI is here to rule now.Recommend

  • Omar Anis

    thanks for your input.Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    Yes, the past two governments are responsible for the present state of the economy. But IK wanted to become prime minister so desperately that he fooled his voters into thinking that he could set it right in no time. And by the number of corrupt people who surround him, you can bet that his government will be no better, unless he goes after the real looters (smugglers, property sector speculators, tax evaders, electric and gas thieves, etc). Unfortunately, as he has the support of these very criminals, he will do nothing about them, rather he will impose more taxes by raising prices of utilities, etc.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Thank you …. your first sentence is what you should have said in your main article. The remaining explanation is your assumption and your view of matters…. and you have every right to them and you may also be right.Recommend

  • sterry

    Why don’t you accept that PTI has no plan and never had any plan? It’s easy to make all kinds of ridiculous claims while in opposition but you would think 20 years in opposition is enough time to formulate an economic policy. But when the PTI policy is based on lies and fake news such as we promise to bring back 200 billion dollars allegedly stolen within one week and we won’t beg anyone or the IMF for money then we know there is a problem with PTI ! Problem is that all of Pakistan will suffer now because an illiterate nation such as ours buys into such fake rhetoric without any thought. Plant 10 billion water sucking invasive trees and take 50 rupee / km helicopter rides and make u turns on every decision without thinking. All the government can do now is blame others and its big talk of fixing this or that is as empty as ever. At least the last government had a plan and they were fixing energy, starting CPEC, stabilizing the rupee and setting the ground work for an economic revival – PTI is working hard to stop CPEC and the projects that PML N began. We are only witnessing the beginning of a long sad descent sadly by a party of amateurs.Recommend

  • sterry

    The problem is that PTI leaders themselves promised to do so much in a few weeks of being elected but true to form, they backtrack and put the blame on everyone else. To me it sounds a lot like Trump and his style – instead of talking about yourself, it’s easier to deflect onto others. I remember hearing all the Trump supporters chanting DRAIN THE SWAMP and how all the problems in the US are do to the past politicians. It looks like Imran Khan learned that lesson since people don’t want to think about things but rather buy into slogans. Problem is that slogans are no substitute for plans and policy which is why the rupee is in a freefall and CPEC seems to be slowing down. My guess is that the powers that be want to slow down CPEC following dictation from abroad since China and Pakistan were getting too close for the liking of some!Recommend

  • Parvez

    You are entitled to your view ….. limited, myopic and ill informed as it is.Recommend

  • Jaffar Ali

    How can an engineer comment on economy?Recommend

  • Younis Hashmi

    The writer is proving himself right, if you tell a lie so many times people begin to believe it, what has the media constantly done? Criticized Imran khan? Are we going to believe their lies? Yes the PM probably underestimated the dire straits of the country and the amount of corruption involved, why doesn’t the media do some real journalism and uncover the corruption that has got our country to place where we are. Give Imran khan time, Rome was not built in a day.Recommend

  • PatelPara

    5 years. and I don’t know how is that even wrong? is author saying the state we are in is NOT because of previous govts but this new govt?Recommend