Imran in upbeat mood

IN the speech delivered after his victory in the election of the Prime Minister in the National Assembly session on Friday, Imran Khan was once again in his original upbeat and aggressive mood but for understandable reasons. Khan, who continued to give a smile after announcement of his win and throughout the protest of opposition PML(N), which agitated the issue of rigging in the general election chanting noisy slogans, spoke in strong but toughest manner to express himself in the House. The newly elected Speaker Asad Qaiser, who conducted the proceedings in a calm manner, tried his best to pacify the Opposition and create conducive atmosphere for the Prime Minister-elect to speak but the Opposition stood by its words to raise the issue of rigging strongly both inside and outside Parliament.
PTI based its entire political and electoral struggle on the slogan of ‘change’ and that is why after his election, the first pledge that Imran Khan made was to bring about the change that the masses were waiting for the last seventy years. Though he did not elaborate what changes he intends to introduce and how these would impact the common man but his firm tone sent a clear message that he has a plan and would implement it too in letter and spirit. His announcement that he himself would be responding to questions by members twice a month during Question Hour in the National Assembly is indicative of the importance that he intends to give to the institution. This would help infuse a new spirit among the members and encourage them to take due interest in the proceedings as against the lacklustre participation by majority of members in the past when there was perennial problem of quorum. The most important and appealing was his announcement to introduce a system whereby enough resources would be mobilized domestically so as to get rid of foreign debt. If he succeeded in his plans then it would be unforgettable and unparalleled achievement in the annals of the country’s history. Together with this he also vowed to hold all those accountable who were responsible for monumental increase in the debt burden of the country in the past and this could also mean that his Government would not seek foreign loans including much-talked-about package from the IMF. It would, however, be a million dollar question as to how the new Government would achieve these targets both on short and long term bases in the given situation and circumstances. As PTI considers youth its strongest constituency, Imran Khan once again promised to create jobs for them so that they do not have the need to go abroad for the purpose. Employment abroad is not a bad thing for the country as Overseas Pakistanis are earning huge foreign exchange for the country but it would be a great service to youth if thousands of them especially educated and skilled presently running from pillar to post for jobs get ones due to policies of the Government. As it was his first speech after winning the election, the Prime Minister was supposed to touch a number of other issues and subjects of concern and interest to people and the world community but he could not. He focused more on accountability and recovery of looted money as the entire struggle of the Party was grounded on this premise but the reiteration came on the inappropriate occasion and from the wrong forum. As explained by Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Imran had a quite different speech to make, which included among other things gestures of reconciliation and accommodation but he changed the mind because of unruly behaviour of the Opposition. The cool-mindedness and sobriety demonstrated by Khan since his victory on July 25 earned him appreciation of media as well as other commentators and analysts. Speech delivered on Friday was the right occasion to consolidate that soft image for the sake of national solidarity and he should not have allowed himself to have been provoked by the Opposition. Opposition has its own agenda and grievances and what PTI did in the past, PML(N) is doing today but one must not lose sight of the fact that the Government has to lose more than the Opposition in chaotic and instable conditions. The Government is always supposed to be tolerant and accommodative and it should be more so in the case of PTI, which has thin majority and would be needing cooperation of the Opposition frequently to implement its agenda. Maulana Wasey had a point when he said PML(N) might be repenting why it did not listen to the demand of PTI for opening of just four constituencies. It is time for PTI to address complaints and grievances of the Opposition at the very outset and preferably through the forum of parliament. The Opposition too must respond to the offer of the Prime Minister that the electoral system could be reformed further to avoid complaints of any irregularity in future.

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