PM Imran doing well, but need to remove thorns from his way

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Salahuddin Haider

IMRAN’s self-confidence, sheer perseverance and steadfastness and firm faith in religion, has been paying him off somewhat slowly for over a year now, but his latest move now to sack special assistant Nadeem Babar, and Secretary Petroleum, has boosted his image substantially, and could well be a thunderbolt for those involved in wrong doings.

The rank and file of the Party running the administration since 2018, needed to be cleared of bad elements.

Public confidence in his style of governance will obviously begin to rise, which in turn will silence critics automatically.

The removal of the two has long been overdue, but the PTI chief, believing in justice and fairplay, instead of rushing through, preferred to wait and took decision only after investigation reports against them were finally before him.

That in other words, showed that patience was the right way to deliver. Imran at the helm now, has succeeded in silencing critics, But the story would remain incomplete till, as cabinet colleague Asad Umar explained, will yield the desired results only after probe, still on into the matter, brings more facts into light and if charges are proven against the two, they will not only be punished but may well face imprisonment.

Such a framework will be entirely in consonance with the rules set by Riasat Madinah, which has been guiding principle for Khan since the beginning.

He faced avalanche of criticism, but remained unruffled, pursued the style of governance, he had set for himself.

It has begun to pay dividend, and if continued uninterruptedly, it will strengthen his position much faster and far higher than has so far been the case.

However, there are thorns still in his way, which needed to be removed slowly, ungrudgingly, and without discrimination as to who is who, and how important or close to him.

Two of his government decisions, likely to cause him consternation, need equally careful study.

These relate to NEPRA’s liberation from government control, and allowing to work independently about electricity charges, and, second, the legislation draft to put State Bank, its governor, principle officers, over and above the administration, has already attracted opposition of opponents.

IMF conditionalities apart, but the guiding principle should be safeguarding national integrity.

Imran, whose integrity has been above board, a fact acknowledged by rivals also, cannot be oblivious of likely repercussions , which, if allowed to go unchecked, can blow up into a storm.

A review of government thinking is necessary to stem the rot. Renewed negotiations with lender agencies, seems the logical solution.

Economic pressures are clearly understood, especially when new financial year is already in preparatory stages.

But rising electricity charges even before the budget presentation, could well be a prelude to something least desirable.

A government with public mandate has to present its case before IMF and others after careful consideration, which Imran’s financial wizards have to keep in mind.

Persuasive dialogue surely can convince foreign agencies to appreciate Pakistan’s problems.

The world Bank example, which doled out 1.3 billion dollars as grant for Pakistan’s development, could be cited in support of the contention.

If the country’s case is presented with conviction and assertively, the end result could well be beneficial than what it has been made to look at present.

Government has asserted its authority, displayed the will to deal with sugar mafia. Since it was done with serious intentions, it broke the back of gangs involved in illegally storing an essential commodity like sugar, many arrests have been made, and godowns, hoarding the commodity to build their coffers at the cost of consumers, sealed.

The PTI government of Prime Minister Khan, got instant reward and public appreciation was visible for its bold steps.

A similar approach is now needed for the comfort of the common man. There is no doubt that Imran is keen on that, but words now needed to be converted into deeds for every on to feel satisfied.