Now that the new democratically-elected government is in place, hopefully, the problems faced by Pakistan will be resolved. But what normally happens is that while the focus remains on key issues, those that may are not vital but could be imperative for building up the country’s social, cultural and industrial environment are put aside on the pretext that they would be resolved after the major ones are settled? It may appear to make sense; but if looked at critically, these are the issues that could be handled in parallel and would certainly help in achieving the objectives and setting up the scenario for big change, in terms of establishing the trends and good governance. Keeping this in view, here are a few tips for the leadership to ponder over before it embarks on a new journey.Industrial development appears to be the cornerstone of PML-N’s economic policy. To achieve this objective, managing industrial relations would be critical. PM Mian Nawaz Sharif, himself being an industrialist, is well aware of the issues the industrial sector is facing these days. The softer elements of our industrial management also warrant a serious thought. Indeed, Mian Sahib would be aware of labour-management problems and how they turn into big ones if left unresolved. Labour-management issues have been one of the major factor for the closing down of some well established industries in Pakistan. In certain cases, labour unions have, in fact, committed suicide by not realising the gravity of the situation in time. There are, however, examples where they took a pragmatic view and are now reaping the benefits of their difficult decisions. Therefore, while the government needs to strengthen the supervisory network to ensure fair play on the part of the management, the unions ought to be taken on board on key issues. It may also need to take some harsh, unpopular decisions. The key public sectors, though not many would be truthful and audacious to admit, suffered due to the hardened and not very rational attitude of the labour unions and management as well. The leaders sitting on either side of the fence have to take harsh decisions at times (like rationalisation of manpower) in the interest of the business. The government needs to convene a tripartite forum to have a serious discussion on the issues being faced by the industrial sector. This is important if we have to revive public sector corporations, which are currently a burden on the national exchequer.As a priority, in a broader perspective, the new government must concentrate on encouraging and facilitating the establishment of small industrial units in the villages and suburban areas, which would not only provide livelihood closer to their homes, but would also prevent congestion in the cities. The workforce would be more satisfied, as this would minimise their survival cost.Then, the provision of new electricity connections should only be restricted to the new industrial units. This may look harsh and few may term it as inhuman, but the residential localities should have the least priority till the time we are able to generate energy to meet urgent needs. Similarly, we must review our policy of providing CNG to the transport, the benefit of which does not trickle down to the poor masses anyway. Do we see a difference in the fares of diesel vis-à-vis CNG vehicles?Next, the Punjab government has already taken a number of initiatives and its performance has been relatively better compared to other provinces. It may initiate mega projects, but must not lose sight of smaller initiatives. If we cannot build big dams right away, which are in any case a long-term preposition, the provincial governments must initiate smaller projects. We all know how much water is wasted despite heavy rains, particularly in the catchment areas. The government, both national and provincial, must build small johars or chappars (ponds) to collect the water in the catchment areas of Jhelum and the like. It will be a gift for the farming community if this water would subsequently be used for small farming. The water flowing in the small rivers, like Swan River, particularly in the monsoon season, could be diverted to such small reservoirs to be used later.In addition, the rates of basic necessities of life, like wheat, vegetables, fruits, etc, should be same at least in a city or town. Currently, in bigger towns, it actually varies from street to street, not even mohallah to mohallah. Let the market and the economy not go unbridled. The government must have a will to implement the price regulation measures and should not be worried about popularity or unpopularity of their decisions.Another important issue is the building of a ‘new Pakistan’. No one would argue otherwise per se, but let us be realistic that there is no substitute of experience. In our sheer exuberance, let’s not put the entire burden on the young folks. Surely, both generations can go hand in hand, and the blending of experienced and inexperienced, though energetic, would usher in positive results for the country.

nThe writer is a lawyer and former senior corporate executive based at Islamabad.