Change of focus

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IN AN interview, Prime Minister Imran Khan has tried to quash rumours about political instability and threats to
the Government besides making a firm commitment to focus more on commitments made to the people during elections, resolution of problems of the common man and the rising inflation. He also justified the extension of three year given to the incumbent Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa describing him as balanced and a democrat in the Army.
The country has been in the grip of rumours mongering for the last several weeks and as a consequence the government machinery was stated to be in a state of confusion and indecision. The confusion was created by the developments surrounding departure abroad of PML(N) leader Mian Nawaz Sharif for medical treatment, statements issued by Ch. Shujaat Hussain and Ch. Pervaiz Elahi criticizing some aspects of governance and handling of the political issues by the authorities concerned, mysteries surrounding Azadi March and Dharna of JUI(F) and whether the protest campaign was terminated on some assurances and the apparent inability of the Government to take effective measures to address woes of the people as far as price-hike and unemployment are concerned. However, the confidences with which the Prime Minister spoke on different issues and pledged to work hard to resolve problems of the people are clear reflection that Imran Khan was mindful of the ground realities and has decided to change his strategy accordingly. The timely issuance of notification for extension in tenure of the Army Chief and elevation of General Nadeem Raza as Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee would also help clear the mist that some circles were trying to thicken. The Prime Minister has also asserted that the Government and the Army, as before, were on the same page and that major initiatives on internal and external fronts were taken after full consultations. Extension of General Bajwa would obviously ensure continuity of the policies and creation of salutary environment for accelerating the pace of socio-economic development. It is somewhat reassuring that the Prime Minister has finally realized that the focus of his government was more on his narrative of corruption than delivering on different fronts as per expectations of the people. There should be an end to the policy of ridiculing almost all the opposition parties and leaders on different excuses as this adds to the political temperature and confrontation. The Prime Minister says he would now focus on his real agenda of change in the life of the common man but that goal cannot be realized in vacuum and congenial political atmosphere will have to be created so that the Government can concentrate on the real business of serving the people. The reported flexibility shown to accept PML-N’s Rana Tanwir as Chairman Public Accounts Committee shows things can be handled in a wiser manner if rhetoric is shunned. No doubt, the Premier has been taking extraordinary interest in the issue of inflation but so far his efforts have not borne fruit and the situation is compounding further with the passage of time. This is mainly because the factors that cause price-hike are not being addressed in a realistic manner and here the Government seems to be in a mode of denial. How can prices come down when the Rupee continues to lose its worth against the Dollar, prices of gas and electricity are increased repeatedly (electricity tariff went up by Rs. 1.83 per unit on Thursday) and upward revision is made in the prices of POL products despite massive fall in the price of oil in the international market. It is also a fact that at the moment the Government is focused on corruption of political leaders whereas the major concern of the people is corruption at the lower levels of governance and judiciary. Police, revenue officials and utility companies like discos and gas entities are as corrupt as before and it is here that the government needs to focus if it is really interested to provide relief to the common man. Street crime is also on the rise and people are forced to consume adulterated good items due to lack of vigilance and control by relevant institutions. It is hoped that the Prime Minister, in close coordination with his colleagues in the provinces, would utilize his energies to address these problems with the urgency they demand.

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