PRIME Minister Imran Khan had extensive over-the-phone interaction with people representing different segments of the society on Sunday, listening to their problems and offering his comments on issues raised by them.
As usual, the PM was quite impressive in putting across his point of view on a number of issues including inflation, corruption, encroachment mafia, development, water conservation, coronavirus, relations with India and Kashmir dispute.
In a democracy, a party can remain in power as long as it enjoyed the trust and confidence of the masses.
It is, therefore, crucial for the rulers to refrain from the tendency of framing policies while sitting in the cozy offices, detached from the ground realities and remain in constant touch with the masses to get firsthand knowledge of their plight and conditions.
We have been pleading in these columns that the Prime Minister’s decision to have direct interaction with the people on phone was a step towards realization of the cherished objective of ensuring good governance and that its frequency should be increased.
Though there is a general impression of ‘call management’ on such occasions but the very fact that the Prime Minister received and entertained even harsh questions is an indication that the exercise was genuine and productive.
The interaction must have given a feel to the PM about real problems and concerns of the people, enabling his government to review and mould policies and programmes accordingly.
The highlight of the Sunday’s session was the concern expressed by people over inordinate delay in bringing about a real change and their compounding of their sufferings due to phenomenal increase in inflation.
The Prime Minister reassured the nation that the ‘promised change’ was coming but for the real change they will have to have a little more patience adding that the country’s problems would resolve gradually.
The Government has not unlimited time at its disposal and it will have to deliver while remaining within the constraints of the system and circumstances.
Imran Khan referred to abrupt changes in Iran and France (in the past) to strengthen his argument that in democracies the change takes time to happen.
No one was expecting PTI to bring about an Iran-type revolution but people legitimately pinned hopes that the party would be able to reform the system, resolve day-to-day problems of the people and provide relief to them where due.
Regrettably, this hasn’t happened and instead problems of the citizens increased with the passage of every day during the last two and a half years.
It is a height of irony that the bitter policies that the Government introduced during this period in the name of putting the economy back on track have not yielded desired results and ended up in bringing more misery for the people.
The top leadership of the Government realized this phenomenon and that is why it resorted to reshuffling of the economic team once again.
Price-hike is a direct result of the policies of the Government and its inability to check profiteering and hoarding as is manifestly evident from its failure to check unjustified hike in the price of sugar and wheat flour despite repeated claims and a number of measures aimed at arresting the trend.
As for corruption, the Government is focused on corruption of the elite while rampant corruption at lower levels of governance and judiciary is the real concern of the masses.
There is nothing on record to show that the Government has succeeded in reducing the instance of corruption in public dealing organizations.
The Prime Minister complained that the Government is denied the credit where it is due and in this regard he pointed out towards recent gains by rupee against dollar.
True, rupee dropped from a peak of 166.70 in March to 152 but the gains seem to be transitory and people are not getting any relief due to this stabilization whereas they were burdened hugely due to massive devaluation during the last two years.
Developmental activities spur growth and create employment opportunities but the Government is paying least attention to development as is also evident from the latest reports that projects worth billions of rupees have virtually come to a halt due to non-release of funds.
As for agriculture, a new policy is surely needed as the country has been forced to import those commodities that we had been exporting in the past.
We hope practical measures would be taken without loss of further time to address these and other issues that matter much for the people.