Needles in a haystack | Pakistan Today

Needles in a haystack

  • Is there a place for them in Naya Pakistan?

“Naya Pakistan will be based on, and driven by, merit,” stated Fawad Chaudhry in his press conference at Bani Gala on August 04, 2018. The media talk came in the midst of wild media speculations on supposedly who will be who, and what will be what in Khan’s upcoming government. The central spokesperson of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s statement was a mere reiteration of what the to-be-Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed all along.

Change and merit have remained at the core of PTI’s electoral campaign. But do the two ideas even go hand in hand? Particularly in our style of political governance.

For our political elite, change simply refers to replacing the old faces with all new ones. While the concept of merit, on the other hand, symbolises and endorses the new wine. All irrespective of background, competence, and performance.

What is expected from the PTI’s incoming government though is an abnegation of the deteriorative trends of the past. The optimistic public now looks forward to the implementation of change, and merit in their true essence. The bars set by the charismatic Khan are high, and there is less than little room for PTI to deviate from its pledges.

It is imperative for the IK, and his PTI army to realise that the idea of change goes beyond merely replacing the old people. In order to embrace true change, the new government must abolish the malafide practices of the past. To highlight one of which is the preference of political favouritism while ignoring merit.

While corruption, favouritism, and bad governance allegedly were rampant during the past government’s tenure, we can still find some promising needles in the haystack. Of course subject to a merit-based evaluation, rather than political decisions. The performance of these individuals is very much evident from the outcomes witnessed as a result of their initiatives, and efforts.

An acknowledgement of their efforts by the incoming PTI government will be a pleasant aberration on one hand. While on the other, subject to a merit-based evaluation, a continuation of the former’s services by the latter can also be given due consideration.

The merit based change promised by IK, and PTI, certainly calls for a merit based evaluation of their services and achievements before any decision is made

A brief look at the few names that deserve due applause include:

Maliha Lodhi, permanent representative and ambassador of Pakistan to the United Nations, remains a key figure amid her role in the UN. Appointed by Sharif in 2015, Lodhi has proven herself to be a vocal representation for Pakistan, and her principal stands at the world stage. Being one of Pakistan’s prominent diplomats, Lodhi through her proactive and aggressive role at the UN during the past few years has justified her appointment from all angles. From gaining acknowledgement on Pakistan’s much ignored role in the war on terror, to blocking way for India’s negative designs to isolating Pakistan diplomatically; from raising red flags on human rights violations in the occupied lands of Palestine and Kashmir, to promoting the soft and peaceful image of Pakistan via cultural exposure; Lodhi has played a critical role in defending Pakistan’s interests at the international stage.

She recently called on Imran Khan, and briefed the PM in waiting on the future developments at the UN.

The name of Najam Sethi, the present chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), can certainly not be left behind in the debate. Although a journalist by profession, Sethi, upon being designated as the PCB chairman, has turned the tables around in favour of the otherwise ailing game.

While many, along with Khan, question Sethi’s compatibility with cricket, the outcomes of the latter’s revolutionary initiatives are self-explanatory.

Under the chairmanship of Najam Sethi, the Pakistan cricket team has found back its, once lost for good, way to glory. Comprising mesmerising talent like Fakhar Zaman, Hassan Ali, Shadab Khan, etc, the green team has improved its position in Test Cricket rankings, and also remains till date the number one in T-20 format of the game. Pakistan also lifted the ICC champions’ trophy during Sethi’s reign as chairman PCB.

Dr Umar Saifchairman of Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), follows in the list. Saif, upon being appointed by Shahbaz Sharif in 2011, has played a key role in technological transformation of Punjab through advancement in the field of IT. As chairman PITB, Saif has been responsible for all public sector information technology projects in the province. Computerising the land records in Punjab, introducing and promoting start-up culture, setting up Pakistan’s first start-up incubator SCI are some of his significant achievements. Saif had also extended tech support in revamping, and digitalizing the Police, CTD, and health systems in PTI led KPK.

Having earned numerous accolades including Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Dr Saif also holds the privilege of being the youngest vice chancellor of a university in Pakistan. Recently, he became the first Pakistani to be appointed as UNESCO chair for using information and communication technology for development.

Similarly, the recent appointment of chairman HEC, Dr Tariq Banuri, was also acknowledged by the intellectual circles as merit-based.

While the list can further go on, the aforementioned names are those that have earned recognition for their services irrespective of their political inclination, or appointments.

The merit based change promised by IK, and PTI, certainly calls for a merit based evaluation of their services and achievements before any decision is made.

Change for the good can only be ensured through establishment of merit. Unless backed by merit based appointments, and decisions, change will continue to remain an unfulfilled dream. Hence, both the concepts go very much hand in hand. Perhaps this answers the question raised in the beginning.

Change can, and will, sustain only if it is merit oriented.