Horses for courses. An English idiom that translates “best person for a particular job”, “best response for a situation”, “the best means to achieve a specific end” or “choose the right person for a particular activity”. Common sense, yet not very common. I believe it is the main dilemma facing the not so infant PTI Government. I intentionally chose to use the phrase “Government of PTI” because everything lands in the lap of one person, PM Imran Khan. There is a reason for that too. His image is larger than life.
But anyone familiar
with the game of cricket also knows the team has 11 players. His star even
before the Government, his opening batsman Asad Umar bombed and bumbled poorly.
Not an Economist, not a successful corporate leader, not a street smart number
juggler like Ishaq Dar, having an ego taller than him, and arrogance to match,
what else was there to expect? He successfully alienated the Pakistani business
community, scared the daylights out of potential local investors, mismanaged
the slide of dollar, cemented the propaganda by the opposition projecting PTI
as clueless and rudderless economy. Quite an achievement in 7 months.
We were all calling for
a reboot by PM Imran Khan. Finally he has moved. He has made a few changes and new
appointments. He is receiving a lot of flak for it. Social media is having a
field day circulating some factual mostly fictional materials. I have
consistently urged for a need to bring in professionals. “Horses for
courses”. Those claiming that IK had
never met Hafeez Sheikh prior to his appointment don’t know what they are
talking about. I clearly remember discussing Mr. Sheikh’s capabilities with PM
Imran Khan as far back as late nineties.
There is a lot of
noise about Governor State Bank. His IMF background and having a close working
relationship with Mr. Sheikh can only help. Being rid of Ishaq Dar’s lackey who
killed Swiss accounts exposure is a blessing.
Chairman FBR, despite
all the noise, is a clean, thoroughbred professional. He has the ability to
deliver results relying on his successful background. I urge the Government to
make sure the applicable rules of appointment are complied to prevent the
Chairman getting embroiled in court battles.
During my visit to
Islamabad I also witnessed another reboot by PTI Chairman that augers well for
PTI as a political entity. I visited the Central Office. I saw a team in place
that PTI workers can identify with. Saifullah Niazi as Chief Organizer has
stood with the Party and the Chairman during its darkest days. He is popular
amongst the workers and I saw a maturity that can manage tough situations and
an ability to say no.
I met Arshad Dad in early PTI days. He was a
clear headed, goal oriented work a bee then, and now brings the same skill set
with greater experience as Secretary General.
Umar Cheema is back as
the Information Secretary. From early PTI days when I headed Punjab we
crisscrossed the Province together multiple times. One of the few vote getters
in 1997 elections, he is a part of committed PTI core. He has seen a few humps
and bumps along the way but am I glad to see him back in the fold!
Then we have Sardar
Azhar Tariq heading Finance. I have broken bread at Sardar sb’s residence in
Satellite Town many a time. Loyal to the core, he put together our original
Ijaz Butt is managing
the Central Office. Ijaz as a younger brother had given PTI the impetus in
Islamabad in its infancy days. I enjoyed his energy and commitment then as I
Here is icing on the
cake. I met Dr. Abdullah Rair the new Secretary OIC PTI (Overseas Pakistanis) in
Toronto. He left a deep impact on me. In his opening address he spoke from his
heart. His voice choked on emotions. He is PPP’s loss as a former
Minister/Senator and PTI’s gain. I see him working hard to re-organize the huge
reservoir of goodwill that PTI enjoys amongst Overseas Pakistanis. I really
wish him well.
PTI has revised its
Constitution trying to institutionalize the Party. To resolve issues through
creating systems rather than the slip shod arbitrary decisions and
appointments. My suggestion to the team: You are a formidable team; Governments
come and go, Party once institutionalized should stand the test of time. You
guys can do it!
The next day I had an
opportunity to witness the proceedings of National Assembly courtesy Farukh
Habib. What an experience. Largely it is a collection of Peacocks and Peahens.
I sat through the Question period. It was a poor quality debating forum where everyone
was making efforts to score points irrespective of the serious issues facing
the nation. PM was present in the house. Yet the decorum stank. With ongoing
proceedings, MNAs formed small chat groups oblivious of supposedly serious
matters of State being taken up. The Agriculture Minister mentioned
Agricultural Emergency with the same impact as one talks about getting a flat
tire on a highway! If this motley crowd is what Pakistani nation depends on to
take them out of the present quagmire, Allah’s intervention is seriously
PM Imran Khan should
continue to strengthen his team of professionals ignoring the moaning and
groaning in the Parliamentary Party. He needs to inform the Public that busted
economies don’t repair overnight. It will take time. He must act decisively, continue to reboot and
focus on areas that will serve the people and give them relief. Here are a few
areas upon which I will elaborate in my coming posts.
- Take on the ticking Population bomb.
- Break the chain of unreal profiteering by middle men and relieve
the burden of common man against runaway inflation.
- Introduce Police reforms.
- Go back to basics grow more food using technology.
- Agricultural emergency is a mere slogan. There is no beef.
- Direct agricultural tax “Ushr” is corrupt & farcical.
- Black money runs parallel to the real economy. Economic growth
should provide avenues to document the Economy and mobilize investment.
- Economy is stagnant; it needs to be kick started by Public expenditure through Public private
partnership. Facilitate business.
- While you improve the tax net, act boldly to stop the theft in indirect
tax collection. Eliminate flaws exploited by corrupt collectors.
- Break the cycle of PML(N)’s big talk but actually go slow on CEPAC. Act now to mark locations for industrial zones & similar decisions.