PTI’s one year in power


SUNDAY marked the completion of one year of PTI government. It was on 18 August when Imran Khan took oath as the Prime Minister of the country after a long struggle of about 22 years with a promise to the people in the general election to bring genuine change in their lives. Though one year time period is not adequate to gauge the performance of any government and especially of the one which inherited immense challenges, yet at the same it is the right time for the PTI’s senior leadership to reflect upon their successes as well as failures, and map out a way forward in order to not to repeat the mistakes and fulfil the promises made with the people during the electioneering.
A ceremony was also held in the federal capital by the PTI government on Sunday to mark the occasion. In her address on the occasion, Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the last one year was the journey of stability of Pakistan. A realistic and an objective assessment of one year’s performance indicates that there are certain areas in which the government remained very successful whilst in others much needs to be done to live up to the expectations of the masses.
Indeed it was the diplomatic front where the present government registered some major successes and the most recent one was at the UN Security Council which discussed Kashmir dispute after a gap of over five decades. This has not only once again internationalized the festering Kashmir dispute but the way Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi are exposing the extremist and terrorist mindset of both Modi Junta is really unprecedented. Earlier, it was India which used to falsely malign Pakistan for acts of terrorism but it is the first time that Pakistan is exposing the ugly Hindutva mindset of Modi’s India. Then indeed the process of rebuilding of ties with the US has also been started and the meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and the US President Donald Trump was the first major step towards that direction. During the last one year also, the country’s relations with Arab countries also witnessed a major boost and this is the reason that commitments of billions of dollars of investments poured in from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar.
On the socio-economic front, the country is still faced with many challenges. Though the government has launched some important projects such as Ehsaas, Panah Gahs and Sehat Sahulat cards for the poor lot and Clean and Green Pakistan as well as Ten billion Tree plantation drive but problems such as price hike and inflation triggered by rupee depreciation and other factors such as increase in power and gas prices are hurting the common man the most and thus the popularity of the PTI, and this is where the government needs to focused more. Certainly the government inherited the most difficult economic situation and it had to take loans from the friendly countries as well as the IMF to avert the balance of payment crisis but now is the time to give confidence to the investors both domestic and foreign to attract maximum investment in the country. Doing this as well as by enhancing the tax base, exports and remittances, the country can march towards sustainable higher growth trajectory that will provide job opportunities to the youth and provide relief to the masses. Definitely it is the first time that a serious and concerted effort is being seen to broaden the tax base. Though the drive is facing some resistance from the traders but we are confident that the FBR under Shabbar Zaidi will stick to its policy of bringing affluent class and untaxed areas to the tax net.
The PTI had also made a promise of building five million houses. Truly this is the most important flagship project of the party but no significant progress has so far been seen on it except that the Prime Minister has performed the ground breaking of the housing projects in some cities. In our view, this is a make or break project for the PTI government. It entails immense benefits not only for the country’s economy but also help meet the demand of houses in the country. Government has introduced liberalized visa regime which indeed will go a long way in promoting tourism in the country, but it is also time to check the declining trend in the foreign investment. The commitments made by Arab countries for investment in different sectors need to be pursued very seriously as accelerated industrialization, value addition of products and uplift of agriculture can steer the country out of debt trap and economic crisis. An economically strong Pakistan is also important to effectively plead the case of oppressed Kashmiris at world fora and also win it.
The change promised by the PTI is yet to be seen but we are confident that the PM and his team are working in the right direction and the fruits of the painful structural reforms being introduced for the first time in different departments will be visible in the coming years in the form of good governance and provision of relief to the masses.

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