Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced last month that the country’s economic apocalypse was ending. Earlier this week, he promised that the electricity and gas tariffs will not be hiked. But even as the prime minister made such tall claims, a series of negative developments unfolded soon after: the Pakistan Stock Exchange recorded the biggest decline in 10 years Monday, the US dollar jumped to Rs 158 and the prices of gold skyrocketed. Not to forget the food inflation that has been adversely impacting people on a daily basis for months now.
So, whenever your PM says things are getting back on track, aapne ghabrana nahin hai because more difficulties are on their way.
After all, other than Pakistan, there is no country in the world that has been blessed with 12 seasons, according to PM Khan. I feel bad for the rest of the world, though, that only gets to enjoy quarter of what we have or not. The eight extra seasons in Naya Pakistan are the seasons of cluelessness. Regardless, barra mausam is a breakthrough worth considering PM Khan for the Nobel Prize.
Not so-good times ahead
Khan’s reassurance that good times are ahead don’t impact even the employees of Pakistan Secretariat who work right next to the PM. The government secretariat staff observed a pen-down strike last week at the Constitution Avenue over the delay in pay raises. They complain that the staff of PM Office and civil servants in other departments get higher salaries than them. Only if they knew the prime minister himself can’t run his house with his salary.
Ever since Imran Khan has been on the trail of becoming the prime minister, all that we’ve heard are the promises of rivers of milk and honey flowing in Pakistan. But how those rivers were to flow, even Khan’s selectors didn’t know. One would have expected that if for 20 years Imran Khan’s dream was to become the prime minister, then some homework on how to run the country would have been done. But that’s the thing about dharna politics, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your half-baked ideas and political sloganeering can help you run the country. The two ‘Cs’ — cricket and charity — haven’t worked wonders for the selectors either.
Everything, even rhetoric, has a shelf life
The question is: For how long the rhetoric against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former president Asif Zardari and the prominent leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) would work for PM Imran Khan? There is a shelf life for everything, even political rhetoric.
To call your political rivals corrupt, to make promises of bringing back looted money of the awam worked well during Khan’s kaptaan days on top of a shipping container but not anymore. You jailed them, you couldn’t prove a thing against the likes of ex-PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi or ex-interior minister Ahsan Iqbal. What’s more is that the Imran Khan government did not bring even one rupee of the looted money back.
PM Khan can continue to call his rivals chor, daku, ‘corrupt’ but the bad news is, it isn’t working anymore. The common man doesn’t care about the chors of the past but just wants the current PM to deliver on all his promises. He/she wants to know why there is a sugar and wheat crisis in the country, something which benefits politicians on PM Khan’s team.
Blaming Pakistan’s former leaders for the problems of the last 19 months makes for good prime-time TV news, but in the real world the rhetoric is dying a slow death and PM Khan will take any opportunity to revive it. So, the latest desire of the PM to bring back Nawaz Sharif from London is another attempt at diverging from the issue of the government’s incompetence and how it tanked the country’s financial system. PM Khan’s obsession with media optics is more important than delivery in office.
Goats and charas can’t revive economy
To be fair, Khan has tried everything in his playbook to revive Pakistan’s economy. He waited for a miracle discovery of gas and oil treasures in Pakistan, but that didn’t happen. He relied on sheep, buffaloes and goats for an economic revolution in the country.
Just a few days back, PM Khan rolled out a new scheme under which every woman will be given one cow, one buffalo and three goats. But did the PM, before announcing this move, ever ask himself if there are enough cows, buffaloes and goats in Pakistan for every family? On to the latest endeavour of relying on honeybees, berry plants and now olive gardens, Imran Khan thinks these measures can make him provide 10 million jobs his government once promised.
When it comes to entrepreneurial flop shows, Imran Khan and his ministers are high on talent. Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry wants to transform the Prime Minister House into a state-of-the-art university, fulfilling the PTI election promise. Then there is Narcotics Control Minister Shehryar Afridi who recently announced that PM Khan wishes to open a factory in Tirah, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that will turns charas into medicines. Well, he actually said it. This is the planning of 20 years that secured Imran Khan’s place on the prime minister’s seat.
The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.