Ruling Punjab | Pakistan Today

Ruling Punjab

  • What is the job description of a chief minister?

Moments away from taking oath in the parliament, Imran Khan remains befuddled regarding his choice for Punjab. The prime minister in waiting has taken weeks to ponder over his choice for the most important province of the country and is, yet, unable to make a decision. As they say, he who takes Punjab takes the country, it is imperative that Khan picks a suitable candidate. Suitable not only in line with his ‘youth’ agenda but a person who aligns himself with the political spectrum of the province immediately.

Lobbyists and leaders of substantial weight are already in a fury to strong-arm Imran and secure their own suitable candidate for the hot seat of Punjab. The consensus that everyone so desires is yet to be reached. Welcome to the dirty game called politics. Forget about ideology or merit, let us fight for the top slot in order to rule the heart of Pakistan for the next five years. This is the beat most PTI leaders are dancing to at the moment. Rather than a parliamentary board evaluating all suitable candidates and picking out one who falls fit on merit, each lobby is moving on with its own agenda in a desperate bid to secure the throne of Punjab.

Burdened with campaign promises, PTI is set to face the biggest challenge in Punjab. The challenge to deliver. Deliver in a way which makes the illiterates forget Shahbaz. The same Shahbaz whose connections remain deep rooted in the province starting from the top bureaucratic circles all the way down to a police constable. Loyalists are present within. Those which are directly involved with the Sharifs in accumulating wealth. I’ll rephrase, tons and tons of ill-gotten wealth. In the first phase these loyalists have to be identified and dealt with both strictly and cautiously. After all, these people steer the wheel in essence. Bad handling can turn out to be disastrous especially if undertaken by a ‘young’ underqualified individual.

It is not an easy task to rule Punjab effectively. On the contrary, it is going to be the biggest test for whosoever is handled the keys to it. Bringing forward a young and energetic individual might conjure some praise. But praise alone isn’t going to be sufficient to lead the province. Experience and ability to comprehend administrative issues is essential. What is the job description of a chief minister? Firstly, he has to keep the house intact, in order to govern effectively. Secondly, deal with administrative challenges including bureaucratic and public dealings. The CM is required to monitor all departments falling under his authority and outline the major issues being faced by each one of them.

This delay instills a wave of uncertainty in the hearts of people who look up to Imran as a leader who is willing to ‘lead’

An individual who is relatively young may be advantaged by his energetic spirit to move around persistently. However, such a person may not be able to correctly deal with government officials, as required. He may undertake impulsive decision which could be disastrous for both party and the province. A government cannot be run by admonishing its officials. Rather, these officials have to be diplomatically handled so as to obtain the desired results out of them.

Khan Sahib should choose a person who has experience sitting in the parliament coupled with administrative qualities. A man who may meet the pre-requisites of an administrator may not be able to keep the parliament house in order. It is essential that a person who has at least occupied the parliament bench for three or more terms should be handed over the flag to govern Punjab. Only such a person may be able to steer forward a coalition government that PTI is set to formulate. Ideally, a person who has been burdened in the past with the responsibility of a ministerial portfolio should occupy the top seat.

PTI’s governance in Punjab will be the reflection of their achievements/failure in the next elections. It would be pitiful to waste this opportunity by handing this responsibility to a 1st or 2nd timer young gun. Certain things are meant to be taken care of by experienced people and governing Punjab is one of them. By the time a young person learns what a CM is supposed to do, the short-sighted people of the province will already be crying out for old Shahbaz.

Similarly, under the current circumstances, the chief minister would be required to have friends on both sides of the aisle in order to enact laws and move forward smoothly. Out of the choices being floated around the media unfortunately, none of the ‘proclaimed’ top contenders seem fit for the job. Especially, the young ones. With the names left, Mr Khan should opt for a man who firstly, he trusts himself and secondly, who is cool minded and has in the past handled ministerial portfolios. It seems the choices narrow down to a select few.

Either way, a choice shouldn’t be made under the pressure of internal lobbies. It would be detrimental to PTI’s ideology if Imran bows down to certain individuals within his party and picks a man who in essence may not be fit for the job.

Another pressing development related to the aforesaid matter is the ongoing delay in selecting a suitable candidate. This delay instills a wave of uncertainty in the hearts of people who look up to Imran as a leader who is willing to ‘lead’. Such indecisiveness doesn’t project positivity. Rather, it is considered weak and hesitant on part of the leader. Though the supporters might coat it with words like being cautious and careful. However, such caution and care should have been exercised timely and by now a chief minister along with the provincial cabinet should have been brought forward.

In the end, it will be Imran Khan’s choice and given his own personal lack of political experience one shouldn’t be surprised if the name announced is totally absurd for the job. Nevertheless, it is expected that the only person amongst the lot, who deserves the slot, should be trusted with it. As long as it is in the best interests of the people, no objections will be raised.



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