100 days of PTI government
S M Hali
Imran Khan’s government has completed 100 days in office. The PTI Chairman had promised the nation an ambitious agenda for the first 100 days. It is heartening that he himself is assessing an accountability of the achievements, omissions and failures. The opposition is crying hoarse, poking holes in the PTI agenda, which is understandable because most of the opposition is being investigated by the NAB on corruption charges.
Before we charge sheet or commend the government’s performance at this bench mark, let us briefly examine its origin as well as the constraints the PTI government is operating under. The 100-day timeline is traceable to the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, because that is the period it took for him to return from exile, reinstate himself as ruler of France and wage war against the English and Prussian armies before his final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo.
100 days’ bench mark was adopted by USA, the champions of modern democracy, more than a century and half later, to adopt the 100 days’ timeline. In 1933, the 32nd President of the USA, Franklin D. Roosevelt established this benchmark, since his country was crushed under the impact of the “Crash of 1929” and torn apart by the “Great Depression”. Roosevelt, after delivering one of the most famous Inaugural speeches in presidential history: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” took numerous bold steps to revive American economy and the confidence of his people, that is why he was voted for an unprecedented fourth term of Presidency. Since then various US Presidents have tried to pack maximum decisions in the first 100 days, to lend credibility to their prowess of being achievers.
To start with, the 100 days benchmark in a Parliamentary System of democracy appears to be unrealistic. Secondly, if the PTI had set lofty goals for themselves, we should gauge its performance in the backdrop of the morass that had been left behind. Realism would demand PTI having taken these aspects into consideration but perhaps Imran Khan himself was not prepared for the gravity of the situation. The shattered economic legacy ; teetering under massive foreign debt, the IMF breathing down Pakistan’s neck with severe preconditions; US President Donald Trump canceling payments due to Pakistan and stopping economic aid altogether along with issuing warnings to the IMF for not extending loans to Pakistan lest they are used to repay Chinese debts; revival of terror attacks, the absolutely hostile attitude of the opposition, which has ganged up with the sole aim of making Imran Khan fail are but some limitations.
Under these circumstances if various ministries have managed to deliver positive results, it is praiseworthy. Rather than the people being the final judges, for 100 days is too short a time to pass judgment, we should wait a year or more. Revolutionary steps taken now will bear fruition with time.
The top six ministries, not in order of performance are Interior, Overseas Pakistanis, Railways, Housing, Human Rights and Finance. While the Interior Ministry is grappling with terror attacks, it managed to recover encroached land, introduce Police reforms in terms of behaviour and performance and is striving to assure the safety for every citizen; Finance provided a revised budget, and is endeavouring to improve the economic situation; the Railways Ministry has launched 10 new trains in 100 days, brought about an improvement in overall condition of trains and is laying emphasis on revenue generation and employment opportunities.
Under these circumstances if various ministries have managed to deliver positive results, it is praiseworthy. Rather than the people being the final judges, for 100 days is too short a time to pass judgment, we should wait a year or more. Revolutionary steps taken now will bear fruition with time
One Ministry that merits recognition for its efforts is the Overseas Pakistanis. The problems of overseas Pakistanis have been oft neglected in the past. This scribe has had the opportunity to travel abroad to numerous countries in the near past and was pleased to hear positive responses from various Pakistanis nearly in every walk of life, who are thrilled that after a long gap their problems were being addressed by their country of origin, which they look upon with pride, suffer grief at its losses and rejoice at its achievements.
Some of the notable milestones achieved the Overseas Pakistani Ministry are: the establishment of the “Call Sarzameen”, “E- Governance” and new website of the ministry in Islamabad, an online service which receives complaints regarding personal issues and the issues related to the Pakistanis living abroad.
These complaints reach the Minister’s office on a digital screen, enabling the tracking of the status of complaints seeking immediate redressal of the issues. “E Governance” launched by the ministry is a great step towards digitization of the organizational processes. Other steps are the emigrants’ biometric verification system, enabling them to participate in polling; establishment of Qatar Visa facilitation center, strengthening of banking channels for overseas Pakistanis.
Overseas Pakistanis have supported Pakistan in its every hour of need, be it donations for victims of natural calamities, soliciting international support for the Kashmir cause or other burning issues. Giving them due importance is the need of the hour.