The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government of Prime Minister Imran Khan may not have come up to snuff in its first 100 days, with most analysts and major political parties criticizing it for a “complete failure” to resolve national issues and even its own workers are disappointed with its performance.
It is a fact that 100 days are not enough to assess the performance of a government that has a mandate to rule the country for five years; and then, the government could not be expected to clear the mess of the last 70 years in just 100 days. It was only expected to set directions in the period. According to the government, it is moving in the right direction, but critics and opposition parties cannot see it. Prime Minister Imran Khan is right when he said that even if a bridge was to be constructed, that could not be completed in 100 days. “We want a system in which policies are made for the lower class. We are bringing health cards to the whole country and working to upgrade public hospitals. We aim to change the system of elitism to the one that supports the underprivileged. There are better education institutes and a good justice system for the elites. The rich can afford good lawyers, they can even get away with robbery while the poor can’t get justice in time,” he told TV anchors recently. He also expressed his commitment to eliminate corruption, money laundering and strengthen national institutions to improve governance.
On the other hand, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) issued “white papers” to detail failures of the government. Titled 100 Days of Lies, the PPP charge-sheet blamed the PTI for reneging, or taking U-turns, on its promises on the economy, political positions, governance reforms and foreign policy commitments. “The 100-day plan has become an object of mockery and a joke, as few in the country are taking it seriously, while the PTI is trapped in its own statements and words. The PTI promised that it would reform the government by vigorously pursuing accountability, by putting in place an effective local government system, depoliticising the police, rationalising access to justice and initiating civil service reforms. Except empty rhetoric on accountability and a task force on civil service reform, there was business as usual on the governance, characterised by favouritism, political pressure on the police, and the usual transfer/posting job,” it added. The PPP is most concerned on the government’s accountability efforts and claims it is targeting opponents in the name of accountability. In the same breath, it admits that all corruption cases against its leadership were instituted in the government of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
According to a PML-N white paper, all economic and social indicators show downward trends during the first three months of the PTI. “The first 100-day performance of the government reveals the rulers have no vision and capability to take care of the country. The government spent millions of rupees on advertisement in newspapers on its 100-day programme. The PTI had accused former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his Sindh counterpart Murad Ali Shah of self-glorification in newspapers, but has itself done the same thing. The dollar has reached the highest mark, but the prime minister talks about eggs, chicken and calves. The government claims it has received information from 26 countries that Pakistanis had stashed over $11 billion in foreign countries, and name of all Pakistanis be made public. Before exposing their names, the prime minister should check whether the names of his relatives, friends and allies are not on the list. Aleema Khan, the sister of Prime Minister Imran Khan, also benefitted from the tax amnesty scheme last year,” it said.
Critics accuse the PTI government of failure to fulfill its promises of a new local government system, police reforms, protocol and security, special planes, revitalising economic growth, provision of jobs, houses, reenergising industry and small and medium enterprises, putting on track public sector enterprises. Instead, the government has unleashed a reign of economic warfare on the people by slapping on price hikes. The promise of unveiling Pakistan’s most ambitious job provision strategy to create 10 million jobs in five years has so far been nothing but a hollow slogan. Not only is there no strategy in sight after three months, but people are being deprived of jobs by ordering bulldozing of shops and commercial projects in the name of a cleanup operation in the Punjab and Sindh, they say.
The government had launched the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme to build 5 million houses. As with most other targets, critics say the government had hastily launched the scheme with little thinking, leading to long queues of people outside National Database and Registration (NADRA) offices. The PTI is taking U-turns and rethinking policy, design and even on how to implement the plan after bottlenecks on financing and land acquisition. The PTI is also accused of attempts to role back the 18th Amendment. Whether it is the local government or health and education, the PTI government at the Centre is recklessly encroaching on the jurisdiction of provincial governments, the opposition says. Even its allies in the Balochistan government voiced their concern over fears the Centre had made agreements on resources of the province without consulting stakeholders.
The opposition may have some genuine concerns, but it cannot blame the government for all ills of the country, which have piled up since its creation 70 years ago. In fact, the main opposition parties are themselves to blame for the country’s problems because they have been in power alternately for over three decades. The PTI cannot be expected to resolve all issues in 100 days or even five years. But, analysts point out that it is the first government in Pakistan that enjoys the backing of all national institutions and there is no chance of its failure.