PTI’s 100-day plan

PAKISTAN Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has unveiled an ambitious plan envisaging measures that the party commits to take in the first 100 days of its government, if came to power after the forthcoming general election. Launching the plan, Party Chairman Imran Khan said it is aimed at transforming governance, strengthening federation, revitalising economic growth, revolutionising social services, ensuring national security and developing the agriculture sector.
It is, perhaps, for the first time that the party has categorically conveyed to the electorate what would be its priorities and programmes in initial days after coming into power. This has, understandably, generated a healthy debate on different issues and challenges that the country is facing today and how the party with bright prospects of performing better in the elections intends to address them. It is also likely that the lead taken by PTI would also force other parties to come out with similar plans and voters would have a chance to analyse all such plans and make a choice on the basis of comparisons. That is why we have been emphasising in these columns that instead of resorting to just rhetoric, leg-pulling and trading allegations, political parties should present their manifestoes and programmes before the nation. It is these issues and challenges that really matter and the fate and future of the country and the nation is intrinsically linked with the way these issues are tackled by the future government.
PTI has also enumerated specific measures as to what it will do in initial 100 days and these include merger of FATA with KP, creation of a province out of Punjab, and a package for Karachi. As for merger of FATA with KP, the National Security Committee has already endorsed plan of the incumbent government in this regard and it is expected that visible and concrete progress would be made before end of the present National Assembly. Similarly, the government has already announced a package for Karachi yet in view of the Karachites woes, there is room and need for doing more for the mega city. As for creation of a new province, it is strange that on the one hand PTI is ardent supporter of merger of FATA with KP despite demands that the region be given status of a province but on the other hand it is planning to cut Punjab into two. Even if the province of Southern Punjab is created, there is no guarantee that so-called grievances of smaller provinces against Punjab would come to an end as the Central Punjab would then become a target of criticism by vested interests. The plan to divide Punjab for questionable reasons and motives could backfire in the general election as we witnessed during 2013 elections when PPP went whole hog to create a new province in Punjab but voters eliminated it all together. One may also ask what would be done with demands for creation of provinces of Hazara, urban Sindh and a province consisting of Pashto speaking areas of Balochistan. Once precedence is set, there is no way to keep a lid on it.
The plan to create several national security bodies is also reflective of the confusion about the existing arrangement and what PTI wants to do. Concrete discussions and measures adopted by the National Security Committee during recent weeks clearly showed that the existing scheme of things is delivering and there was hardly any justification to create more layers. It is intentions and not arrangements that matter in governance as the Constitution provides an elaborate mechanism for discussion on national security and defence issues at the forums of NSC and Defence Committee of the Cabinet. Focus on economy and agriculture would surely produce desired results as the country can achieve rapid progress and prosperity if sound economic and agricultural policies are pursued and implemented with required commitment. The plans to create ten million jobs and construct five million houses are also laudable in view of unemployment and the growing housing shortages. We may, however, point out that the party has, so far, not made it known as to how it intends to transform governance. Authority of the State is all time low, rampant corruption is business as usual, there are interest groups that are more powerful than the government, Police and Patwar systems are rotten to the core, adulteration is going on unchecked and people are not getting speedy and fair justice. Police, judicial and administrative reforms are urgent need of the hour.

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