NOTWITHSTANDING the propaganda of the opponents of the PML (N) government and the well orchestrated attempts to destabilize and denigrate it—particularly by a self-proclaimed revolutionary turned traditional power grabber who has shown uncanny audacity in orchestrating its fall without success— the irrefutable reality is that the ruling party has been visibly successful to a great extent in surmounting the challenges that it inherited. The revival of the economy which was facing a default on IMF loans in 2013 with the lowest ever GDP growth rate and colossal budgetary deficit, is probably the biggest and the most enviable achievement of the PML (N) government which has been repeatedly endorsed by the international lending and rating agencies, giving authenticity to the claims of the government in this regard. At the end of its five years mandated tenure it is leaving the economy in a much better and stable position. The latest UNDP report on Human Development Index for the year 2017 says that Punjab, where PML (N) govt is in saddle, is ahead of all the provinces. Categorizing Pakistan as a medium level the report reveals that 83% people in Punjab have a better living standard followed by Sindh 67.8 %, KP 67.1 % and Balochistan 33.9%. In Youth development Punjab is again far ahead of other provinces. All over Pakistan there are only six districts ranked as high-human development districts and four of these districts are in Punjab and none in KP.
Yet another endorsement of the achievements of the PML (N) government on the economic front has come from Moody’s Investors Service which has given Pakistan B3 stable credit rating. The report says “The credit profile is supported by country’s robust growth performance and potential large but low income economy and improved track record of reforms that started under its 2013-18 IMH programme. These strengths have been accompanied by greater transparency and lower level of inflation and inflation volatility” The report expects continued solid economic activity driven by investments related to the CPEC. It is noteworthy that the element of transparency emphasized by the Moddy’s has also been corroborated by the Transparency in its four consecutive annual reports also indicating a nosedive in corruption under the PML (N) rules which represent a befitting answer to the propaganda of the opposition parties in regards to corruption. The foregoing facts are not the rants of a demagogue but irrefutable realities corroborated by the impartial international agencies. The future projection about the GDP growth rate by the international agencies like the World Bank and IMF are also very encouraging and almost all of them agree on nearly 6% growth rate in the next two years propelled by the solid foundation laid by the present government. CPEC is also mentioned as the biggest factor in boosting the Pakistan economy in the years to come. The economists estimate that the completion of CPEC projects would lead to a quantum jump of 2% in the GDP growth rate and put the country on the path of a sustained development on perennial basis.
When the PML (N) government assumed power the economy was almost stagnant at 3% GDP growth rate and the budgetary deficit stood at 8.8%. The GDP growth rate has been enhanced to 5.8% and the budgetary deficit pulled down to 5.5.4%. And above all the energy crisis which badly affected the industrial as well as agricultural sectors and caused inconvenience to millions of house-holds across the country has been surmounted to a great extent. More than ten thousand MW of electricity has been added to the national grid during the last five years and with the completion of the on-going projects in the near future Pakistan is likely to achieve energy security.The PML (N) government can also rightly boast of initiating decisive action against the terrorist outfits supported by the security forces and checking it in its tracks, bringing peace in Karachi besides breaking the back of the insurgents in Balochistan.
Going into the 2018 elections PML (N) surely has credible credentials to seek people’s mandate as compared to the other political parties. The people have already shown their support for the PML (N) in all the by-elections for NA and PA seats, AJK polls and local bodies in spite of ostensible attempts of witch-hunt against the party and its leadership which is amply reflected in disqualification of Nawaz Sharif by the SC through the most controversial verdict, the conspiracy to destabilize the government through sit-in, relief given to Imran Khan by SC as pointed out by the former CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, fall of the Balochistan government and the dirty game played in the elections for the senate seats and Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Senate and the defections from the PML (N) which according to the party supremo Nawaz Sharif, are managed by the invisible hands. The analysts believe that few defections are not going to make much of a difference to PML (N) as there is also a likelihood of people rejecting the saleable horses (the so-called electable) and in reaction to their selling of the mandate of the people cast revenge vote in favour of the PML (N) candidates. Thanks to the media for creating awareness on the issue in a forceful manner.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.