(NUT)By Ather Naqvi
The PTI government remains in the news, often for all the wrong reasons. In other words, it was a bad start. It must have been very difficult first two years of the PTI government in various ways. The economic challenge, the accountability process, the Covid-19 pandemic and the poor health sector, the flimsy education infrastructure, and the goals of meeting climate change targets, among others, must have put enormous strain on a government that claims to have inherited all these problems from the previous governments.
But is it an acceptable practice to absolve itself in this way? This should not be an excuse for a government’s inexperience, inability or a lack of vision to deflect criticism.
In the beginning, the PTI government’s famous “first hundred days” made a lot of headlines and kindled hopes in the raw minds of the youth, many of whom didn’t even have a vote registered in their name. The very first speeches of Imran Khan after becoming the prime minister showed he was ready to go all the way to bring about a positive change in the lives of the people.
Then came the reality check sooner rather than later. The economy was in bad shape and something had to be done. In sheer contrast to his earlier promises of not going to the IMF for a bailout he had to eventually knock the IMF’s door and that too after a prolonged delay, which further weakened our position at the bargaining table of the lender.
While Pakistan gasped for some air for the revival of its economy, the accountability process, which the PTI government claimed was across-the-board, added to the already uncertain political and economic environment. In such a situation, the critics of the government didn’t wait to remind the government of its promised austerity measures and other plans, such as keeping a small federal cabinet, generating employment for the jobless and homes for the needy, etc, which the government has no answer for. The covid-19 pandemic compounded the problems, needing massive resources.
Just like the economy, the foreign policy pieces also do not seem to be falling in the right places. After the UAE offered his hand of friendship to Israel, it has become very difficult for Pakistan to adjust to the new realities in the Middle East.
The only area perhaps where there are few disagreeing with the PTI government is the environment policy where it has to show the billion tree tsunami and other efforts to fight climate change. So far, the PTI government seems to be far behind in the race which it said it would win without any tough competition.