- Is Mian Nawaz Sharif’s being in the UK the country’s only issue?
It is not easy to fathom Prime Minister Imran Khan’s insistence on the need to bring ex-PM Mian Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan. Is he merely connecting with his base, which has insisted that Mr Sharif made fools of the government by persuading it to let him go abroad for medical treatment, and that he should be brought back? Or is he trying to distract public attention away from the failures of his government to control the inflation that is plaguing the country? While addressing the beginning of a polio vaccination programme, he said that those brought up in Lahore could not realize what happened in backward areas, nor those whose sons were living in London. While giving a broad hint at Mr Sharif’s sons, he could not help drawing attention to his own, who live with their mother in London. The Lahore background also breaks down, for if Mr Sharif belonged firmly to Lahore, Mr Khan too was brought up in Lahore, where his father was posted, well away from Mianwali.
Mr Khan, instead of wasting too much attention on bringing Mr Sharif back, should focus on the country’s genuine problems. If he is so concerned about its economy that he will not allow the lockdown needed to avert a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, he will also focus on measures needed to end the food inflation caused by the wrongly timed export of food staples. The standard method is to import cheap supplies and flood the market with them, allowing market forces to bring down prices. However, he has presented the excuse that his timely orders for import were not implemented.
A common thread is visible. His orders are not implemented and he is easily fooled. Is one to suspect he has no idea of how to tackle food inflation, even though it fuels the opposition movement to topple him and his government? While one strand of the opposition campaign, its attacks on the military, do not appear to affect him, the link is being made that the establishment has caused food inflation by installing someone as incompetent as him. He would thus tackle the opposition most effectively by bringing food prices down.