- Getting off to a bad start
It would be inappropriate to pass a judgment on the performance of the PTI twelve days after the swearing in of Imran Khan as PM. There is however a need to point out certain developments that negate some of the avowed ideals of the PTI chief like accountability, depoliticisation of police and austerity on the part of government functionaries.
In less than ten days of taking oath Usman Buzdar has traveled to Islamabad, Mian Channu and Pakpattan by helicopter. The last two tours were of an entirely private nature. Buzdar went to Mian Channu to condole with a friend over the demise of his father. To give it an official turn, bureaucracy made a last minute addition of a visit to local government hospital. As this was planned in haste it led to overcrowding at the facility and the death of a child waiting to be treated. The travel to Pakpattan was of a spiritual nature. Conducting private visits at public expense is thoroughly unjustified. Reportedly the CM was accompanied by a protocol of numerous vehicles and private shops around the venue were closed on orders of the administration. This is the continuation of the elitist culture Imran Khan used to condemn.
There were reportedly fissures in K-P PTI leadership over cabinet names with at least one nominated member publicly announcing plans to turn down the offered job. Another aspirant for a cabinet slot, who failed to get it, submitted a resolution in the K-P assembly on Monday urging all members of the cabinet to declare their assets, implying that they had acquired wealth through illicit means. Unless the issue is clarified, the ongoing accountability of political opponents would be considered one-sided.
Imran Khan has rightly underlined the importance of depoliticising police. The sudden transfer of DPO Pakpattan prior to an official enquiry and media reports suggesting that this was linked to an alleged altercation between the police official and a well-connected person calls into question the claims of making police independent of political influence. Coming as they do at the start of turning the country into “Naya Pakistan” the incidents do no not bode well for the future.