The following statements were made by representatives of the PTI government in the span of two weeks:
Zatraj Gul, PTI Climate Minister: “Lahore doesn’t have a smog problem”
Hafeez Shaikh, prime minister’s financial adviser: “Tomatoes are 17 Rupees per kilo”
Ali Amin Gandapur, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan: “Inflation helps farmers”
They sound harmless, but the truth is, these statements are completely and absolutely false.
Lahore in fact recorded the worst air quality in the world on two consecutive days a week ago.
Tomatoes hit their highest price point at 400 rupees per kilo.
Moreover, inflation does not help poor farmers as price hikes also make everyday essentials inaccessible to them.
But these statements and the current state of affairs is not something new and neither did they come as a surprise. The PTI government’s tenure has been rocky since the get-go, starting with a u-turn which shocked even die-hard youthiyas.
A Shaky Start
In its initial months, the PTI government dismissed a very capable finance minister because his religious faith was dubbed ‘controversial’, the same faith which became a point of contention for Pakistan’s first Nobel Laureate. Keep in mind the current railway minister is one under whom five trains have run into extremely unfortunate incidents – while he sits unfettered in his federal seat, smoking good old fake cubans. What standard is being used to judge a candidate’s fitness for office? Perhaps one that Jinnah never thought would be used to discriminate between citizens when he spoke about “Unity, Discipline and Faith.”
The situation is such that people aren’t even talking about the freedom of press, which has been curbed to quite an extent. And with Pakistan inching its way deeper and deeper into China’s pocket, who is to say what is to come.
This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. But all you hear is, “At least this government isn’t corrupt.”
A Flawed Argument
This is not to say the previous governments were a godsend. But if an argument in PTI’s favour is based on a purely comparative basis, that argument is inherently flawed; PPP’s tenure under Zardari was rampant with corruption and Nawaz Sharif let power derail his determination of becoming the leader Pakistan needed and deserved.
PTI stood for change, it stood for the people. It was a movement supported by Pakistanis who were tired of being silenced, tired of the same old excuses and the same old faces.
But is constantly degrading the previous governments synonymous with fighting for change?
The Missing Messiah
Imran khan was supposed to be the messiah we were promised but one we desperately needed. Naya Pakistan was the utopia Pakistanis were drunk on, blindly dreaming of change and believing the man behind the movement wholeheartedly. As 2109 comes to an end, some chose to blindly wait for the gold at the end of the rainbow that has yet to appear. Others raise their voices only to be silenced not heard.
Where are the impassioned supporters who keep their leader and his party on the straight and narrow?
The blind faith bestowed in the PTI may just be its undoing. The statements made by PTI government’s ministers are shocking, but what is more shocking is the public’s acceptance. Should party supporters not question their party’s agenda?
With time, it is apparent that one hallmark of the PTI government is simply denying any negative press and going heavy handed with positive PR even if the facts don’t match. And till now the party supporters are not only buying it but obstinately defending every wrong.
Beyond Political Fealties
At a certain point, political allegiances should cease. Bashing Zartaj Gul and discussing Nawaz Sharif’s departure will not achieve much. Analysing our climate, education and economic policies and demanding our government take strict action is what is needed.
Strict action on allocating adequate funds towards education reform, on making climate change a priority, on economic policies; strict action on preserving the right to freedom of speech, thought and religion.
We’re chasing fool’s gold and in that pursuit we have become utterly blinded by the false promises made to us and visions of prosperity shown to us. When the books of history will be written years from now, we will indeed be the fools who let the country burn.