100 Days Of PTI: What Really Went On?
As the PTI government moves towards completing its first 100 days in office, Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to address the nation about the progress made by his government. Similarly, earlier, Federal Minster of State for Communication, Murad Saeed addressed a media confrence about austerity measures and government efforts to reduce expenditures.
The address is scheduled to be held later today at the Convention Center in Islamabad. PM Imran will review his government’s performance and make key announcements.
As part of its manifesto, PTI campaigned on a 100 day agenda for the 2018 general election. The Plan was 6 fold:
1. Change in governance:
B) Grassroot empowerment for people,
C) de-politicisation of police,
D) Making Justice accessible,
E) Reforming Civil Services.
2. Strengthening the federation:
A) Consolidating the integration of ex-Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P),
B) Reconciliation in Balochistan,
C) Creation of South Punjab province,
D) Transformation of Karachi,
E) Poverty alleviation.
3. The Economy:
A) Job creation,
C) PM’s five million houses scheme,
D) boosting the tourism industry,
E) Minimizing Foreign Debt,
4. Revolutionising social services:
A) Prioritising Health and Education Sector,
B) Women Empowerment.
5. National Security:
A) Increasing Pakistan’s regional and global relevance,
B) Leveraging foreign policy to strengthen the economy,
C) Forming a national security organisation,
D) Enhancing internal security and expanding institutional structure.
6. Agriculture, Water and Climate:
A) Subsidising, revamping and upgrading policies.
The PTI has consistently stressed on a transparent government, which takes the parliament into confidence. The PM’s address comes as a part of this objective.
In October, the government had launched a website aimed to track its 100-days plan in office to facilitate transparency regarding the government’s progress and agenda.
Water, Environment and Agriculture:
The PTI government has started projects such as the Dam Fund to fight against water shortages and famine. This is also expected to help with irrigation and much needed water for agriculture. But how viable this dam fund is has been questioned. In nearly 3 months, the government has only been able to collect Rs. 7.97 billion, and is still short of Rs. 880.23 billion. Even though the government has made an effort to fulfil the promise, the policy and line of action chosen for this looks disappointing.
The government’s Billion Tree Tsunami restored 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land, helping the environment substantially. Not only has the government planted new trees but it has nearly wiped out illegal trade of timbre, saving thousands of trees in the process.
The PTI government’s effort on empowering women has been non-existent. Past precedent speaks against PTI when it opposed the women protection bill presented by the PMLN led Punjab Government. Furthermore, in the then-PTI-run KP, a women protection bill was presented to the Council of Islamic Ideology, which to no one’s surprise was rejected by the council. Is it interesting to note that the government may not pay heed to the issue but more and more social movements regarding female empowerment are on the rise. Will they be powerful enough to force the government to legislate? Only time will tell.
On issue of changing governance:
PTI has failed to de-politicize the police with the embarrassing Azam Sawati and IG Islamabad episode. No efforts have been made to bring structual changes to the Civil Services. With the CJP working on population control and dam rather than thousands of pending cases in our esteemed judicial system, justice too seems out of reach.
The government has made efforts to talk about a South Punjab Province, and even promised to make one. But with Buzdar being the CM from South Punjab, many doubt if the government will follow through with it. On the flip side, the PM has approved a recommendation of granting Gilgit-Baltistan the long awaited provincial status. The federal cabinet will discuss the recommendations and present the bill on the parliament floor. This is an unprecedented step and the PTI government deserves all the praise for this.
But like always, Balochistan lies ignored in the corner, with CEPC jobs being given to eveyone but the locals. With Quetta and Gwadar facing immense water shortages. But all is not lost, PTI government has promised to structurally change the way Balochistan has been administered and include it in the mainstream.
Some might even argue that perhaps the federation has been strengthened a little too much, when the PM has to fly all the way from Islamabad to Lahore, to chair Punjab government’s meetings.
Watch Imran Khan’s 100 day agenda speech
The government undertook austerity measures, sold off cars and refused to use lavish government houses. But still refused the structual change and tax reforms IMF had to offer, and preferred to take a bail-out from Saudi Arabia. Which raises the question how effective are these policies? Without proper tax reforms and tax collections, nothing really changes by not living in the PM house and using cheap 55km/L helicopter fuel.
Remittances have marginally increased and has helped the damaged economy, but the falling rupee has seen no change.
Making Social services more accessible:
The PTI government promised to make healthcare, education and housing more affordable. As far as healthcare is concerned, no such measure had been put into place to make it more adorable for the economically disenfranchised. But the government, however, did open shelter homes for the homeless in Lahore and other cities. It has also already started on the project to build affordable housing for the citizens.
But the promise of making universities in previously neglected areas has not seen any naturalization in the first 100 days.
The Imran Khan led government had been adamant on establishing the writ of the state, and not letting pressure groups force the government to bow down. But that is exactly what happened, not just once but twice.
The government vowed that they would stand by Atif Mian but we all know how that turned out. And the situation was no better during the Asia Bibi verdict protests.
Pakistan faces a plethora of challenges right now, from a failing economy to bad governance, but till now the PTI government has been good on identifying issues. However their policies do not seem the most effective. Nonetheless, for the next 5 years they are in the government and we will see more of them. We can only hope they turn towards more feasible and sustainable policies.