Who’s in charge?

PM can’t blame others when he’s in charge

Prime Minister Imran Khan seems to be engaging himself in sniping at the Foreign Minister, even though the choice was his own, and he can change the entire hierarchy which does not follow his orders. The desire to deflect blame from himself means that he has to cast about for others to blame if things go wrong. He has been categorical in saying that Pakistan does not wish to choose between the USA and China, though his saying that some officials had not aligned themselves with Pakistan’s national interest begged the question of why he tolerated their presence in positions of importance even if they were not following the policy he wanted followed. He refused to accept that his government had also done little to being in foreign investment, saying that the CEO of a leading clothing company was given the runaround by the embassy to which he had applied for a visa. Again, the Foreign Office was being blamed, and again the Prime Minister gave no explanation why he had taken no action against the persons responsible.

Mr Khan also refused to take responsibility for the failure of his government to deliver meaningful change, blaming this on his lack of a two-thirds majority. That indicated his wish to amend the Constitution, particularly with respect to the 18th Amendment, which he said granted too many powers to the provinces. This shows a lack of understanding of parliamentary governance, with the bar for amending the Constitution set abnormally high so that the government either would enjoy overwhelming mas support, or would be obliged to seek opposition support if it wanted to amend the Constitution. Treating the opposition with disdain is not contemplated under this system. The purpose of such a large majority is that the government will need opposition cooperation to amend the Constitution, which is supposed to be beyond mere partisan legislation.

The PM now finds himself running out of time before the next election to fulfill his promises. Understandably, he now wishes to prepare a strategy to appeal to the electorate at the next election, but he might find few takers for his pretense that he could do nothing. After all, the whole point of being in office is to take responsibility.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].

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