Hope for a Better Tomorrow
It is wisely said that great leaders don’t set out to be leaders; they set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role but always about the goal. Imran Khan emerged as a leader after an untiring struggle of 22 years. It was his unmatched dedication that finally landed him in the highest office of the country. A celebrated cricketer, the first of his profession to achieve that office; Imran Khan rose as a third power in the country to shift the paradigm of status quo in Pakistan. His inspiring words, his vigorous enthusiasm and his dreams of a better Pakistan, a new Pakistan, won him the elections in 2018.
His past two years in the highest office was nothing but a roller coaster with bumping and twisting turns, facing all odds and surviving the ride through all hinders and shunts. And just merely after two years, the noise of his failed governance is in the air. Allegations are being imposed on PTI for an unsuccessful tenure and incompetent governance with grave accusations of impairing the economy and sloppily handling the pandemic. The opposition and anti-IK entities practically have given a verdict of the sorts and this notion has been widely imprinted on the opinions of the common man through negative campaigning on the social media. But is it really the reality or is it just the new trend for breaking the news and creating havoc out of nothing?
It’s no secret that when Khan took the office, Pakistan was in political and economic turmoil. Leaders were facing corruption allegations and court proceedings following the Panama Pandora’s box. Pakistan was burdened with the debts and was facing a global seclusion on its diplomatic front. Standing up against the tyranny of corruption propelled him to win the elections and gain the support of voters. But after gaining the office, only then he realized how deep routed the web of corruption has been, and it is not as easy to pull out the roots of corruption manifested in the system for years. Under the immense pressure and high expectations good governance was a challenge when Pakistan was already on the verge of economic collapse.
Pakistan was standing with the current account deficit at $19 billion in July 2018, which widened to 5.7% of GDP in FY2018. After the first year of PTI, the deficit had gone down by $6.31 bn to $13.6 bn (Jul 2018-Jun 2019) from $19.9 bn of the preceding year. Following the pattern, the deficit further lowered to $3 bn. Pakistan had also paid $11.588 bn as external debt servicing in last fiscal year 2018-19 which is a notable sum to put stress on the country’s foreign exchange reserves. Pakistan was listed grey in FATF and with the lobbying India; the speculation of Pakistan’s inclusion in the black list seemed certain. With the policies of Khan’s government against money laundering and the steps taken in this regard, Pakistan remains in the grey list and the indicators are promising for Pakistan’s future.
In two years, Khan gathered himself a few firsts in his bucket. The very supreme of the list is his address in the UNGA. He touched on four major themes: climate change, money laundering, Islamophobia, and Kashmir. His billion trees vision and a clear policy on climate change has often been applauded by world economic forum and media. He emerged as Muslim World’s leader presenting the vivid notions concerning Islamophobia and blasphemy. None had before raised a voice at such an august forum. He represented sentiments on hurtful caricatures which won him great respect. He showed his resolve as he took up Kashmir on the highest forum. He vowed to stand up and fighting for them at every diplomatic forum. The outcome has already started bearing fruit. The UN declared Kashmir to be an international issue. India now is cornered itself. IK’s tweets on the Indian tyranny ask the world to stand up against the severe human rights violations in Kashmir.
With his continued efforts, Pakistan is regaining the world trust; they are opening their doors for us. The UAE Crown Prince, Saudi Crown Prince, the Amir of Qatar, Afghan President, Duke and Duchess of England, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands are among the Heads of State who visited Pakistan. President Trump said on IK’s visit, “I would say we’ve never been closer with Pakistan as we’re right now”. Pakistan played a pivotal role for peace in Afghanistan by facilitating talks between US and Taliban and Kabul. Pakistan also took initiative to resolve tensions between Iran and KSA.
It’s no secret that when Khan took the office, Pakistan was in political and economic turmoil. Leaders were facing corruption allegations and court proceedings following the Panama Pandora’s box. Pakistan was burdened with the debts and was facing a global seclusion on its diplomatic front. Standing up against the tyranny of corruption propelled him to win the elections and gain the support of voters.
Imran Khan’s special interest in tourism and development of tourist spots has already attracted a number of tourists. Plans are being carried out to uplift the infrastructure and provide facilitation for the tourists. In 2017, 2.4mn tourists came to Pakistan, while in 2018 the number increased to 3.2mn and in 2019, 3.5mn foreigners travelled to Pakistan. Countries like US, UK and France, have made changes to their travel advisory related to Pakistan.
Two major dams have been inaugurated after 60 years. Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams are in the process. All major dams were built during martial law regime. Imran however broke the cycle. Now all major development works are being completed.
Covid-19 hit the world with heavy life losses and economic shutdowns. We witnessed immediate lockdowns in many countries. PM Khan from day one was against it. He feared for daily wagers and people living under poverty. He stood up for smart lockdown stating lockdown not to be a solution for the Covid19 pandemic. There is no time estimate to how long the situation will take and poor people may not survive the reverse effects of the lockdown. Now we see the trend of smart lockdown is spreading globally. Besides, he launched Ehsaas Emergency Cash program to handle economic crisis. The government systematized a process of distribution to the needy with utmost transparency. The program covers 12mn families; Rs. 12,000 per family and the total budget for this initiative is Rs. 144bn.
The vision is what takes a nation to glory. Pandemic was hit hard and Pakistan initially had no equipment to handle the crises. The already available masks were also blacked from the market by the stockist mafias. Pakistan spent a huge sum on getting the requisites and also received aid from China. Soon Pakistan stepped into the production of the requisites instead of relying on importing them. Pakistan is self-reliant on masks and is also manufacturing ventilators to cater to the need of ventilators domestically.
In the past months, IT export has increased 26.24% for year 2019-2020. Khan has shown interest in the importance of enhancing access of internet and uplifting IT industry. PIA going into losses has achieved breakeven at the operational level as per April 2020 stats. Railways also broke revenue records in FY 2018-19, which is 10.30% higher compared to last year. Its annual deficit also decreased from Rs. 36bn to Rs. 32bn.
Imran Khan is very clear on corruption. The stand against sugar mafia and how JIT report was made public is example of zero tolerance. The crackdown against hoarders continues. No investigation was ever conducted to expose these mafias and even if any such investigation took place, its report was never made public. In his government’s tenure, harmony between major institutions is exemplary. NAB and Judiciary are working as autonomous bodies without any influence or pressure.
Imran Khan is a leader of vision. He gave a dream to bring Pakistan in a new era. But he doesn’t carry any magic wand. The decades old system rusted to its core with the moss of corruption cannot be rectified in a year or two. It needs generations of discipline to change the course. Khan is steering the nation to a right path; the conduit where Pakistan is self-reliant, politically aware, diplomatically strong and domestically stable and corruption free. The upshot of his leadership and the policy placed by his government is imminent. There can be mistakes and there is a learning too. Rewinding the system will take time. He will surely set the course right as he owes to put Pakistan on the road to glory and prosperity. It gives hope for a better, prosperous and dignified tomorrow.