Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, while addressing a gathering of traders in Karachi on Labour Day, drew parallels between KP and Sindh from the perspective of administrative and political challenges that stand in the way of efficient governance.
The devolution of power, police reforms, tax collection and nepotism were a few areas he touched upon in his speech.
“When Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar complains about not having enough authority, he’s right,” said Khan, speaking about the importance of empowered institutions. “The more you devolve power the more efficient your systems will be. Devolution is really important for Karachi. The current set-up is neither here nor there,” he said, stressing the importance of having democratically elected representatives being answerable to the public. “In Peshawar, the mayor gets to spend 30 per cent of the development budget,” he said. Among other things, Imran considers the rooting out of corruption as one of PTI’s significant achievements in KP.
“Why are we getting record levels of investment in KP? Because companies know that they won’t have to pay bribes at every level. They know that if they spot something unusual, they can tell Imran Khan about it and Imran will take action,” he said.
On police, law and order, Imran said that KP police, after being reformed, stood at a much better place than they once did. “Even A.D Khawaja says he wants a police like that of KP,” said Imran Khan.
“How did we improve KP’s policing? We installed IG Nasir Durrani and gave him authority,” he said, adding; “The police is so politicised in Punjab, almost all our leadership in Punjab has cases registered against them.”
Scoffing at the role of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Pakistan’s apex tax collecting authority, Imran said: “Pakistan is a very generous nation. We give more in charity than we do in taxes. What does that indicate?”
He spoke about creating an environment where people pay taxes out of choice as opposed to compulsion, stressing that it was only possible if taxpayers could see their money being spent on their own development.
“Why would anyone pay taxes if the money is going to go to Panama and Dubai? We don’t know how many Ayan Alis are leaving the country with suitcases full of money,” he said.
Imran ended his speech by thanking the traders present at the occasion. He reminded them how significant their contributions had been in setting up the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital.
“When I started my campaign to launch Shaukat Khanum, a lot of people encouraged me but only a few actually donated money.
The traders helped a lot,” he said.
Imran concluded his Labour Day speech by directing PTI leader Asad Umar to set-up a committee that would be responsible for registering and addressing the concerns of traders.