- Compassion and hope are necessary but not enough
Imran Khan has graphically described the sad state of a debt-ridden economy, the low ranking of Pakistan in the Human Development Index and the living conditions of the poverty stricken sections of the population. He has however expressed confidence to turn the situation around during the time available to him.
Imran Khan has announced wide ranging austerity measures that the PM and his cabinet members would follow. In economic terms the move has no more than a symbolic value and is meant to sweeten the bitter pill the common man would soon be required to swallow by the IMF. Doing something voluntarily before being forced to do it under compulsion is making virtue out of necessity. It remains to be seen if the governments in Sindh and Balochistan ruled by the PPP and BAAP wouldl follow suit. Also whether high officials belonging to state institutions and government departments would readily part with the perks and privileges acquired over the years by them.
Imran Khan takes note of some of the vital issues that previous government had pushed under the rug like the damaging impact of climate change on people’s livelihood or malnutrition leading to stunting growth among 9.8 millions of children. He is also determined to bring 22.6 million of left out children to school.
There are serious omissions in Khan’s plans though. He strangely ignores population planning without which the positive results of economic policies would be neutralised in no time. He has nothing to say about the diminishing media freedom. He ignores the need to curb extremism which is fast spreading its tentacles in society.
Some of Imran Khan’s important reforms are bound to meet resistance from powerful vested interest. Diversion of development funds to local governments instead of MNAs and MPAs would be resented by his own parliamentarians. The promise to develop the best of relations with neighbouring countries and the determination to implement the NAP and holding talks with Baloch dissidents would be resented by the powerful supporters of the status quo. While one wishes Godspeed to Khan, one will judge him not by his claims but his capacity to give them material shape.