On May 1, 2010 Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) became the first political party in the country to announce a Shadow Cabinet as under:

1. Finance:

Mr Naeem-ul-Haq.

2. Commerce & Industries:

Mr Firdaus Naqvi.

3. Housing & Works:

Engr. Najeeb Haroon.

4. Education:

Mr Sadaqat Abbasi.

5. Science & Technology:

Dr Farid Malik.

6. Health:

Dr Humayun Mohmand.

7. Energy:

Engr. Munawar B. Ahmad.

8. Defense:

Admiral® Javed Iqbal.

9. Defense Production:

Brig. ® Samson Sharaf.

10. Interior:

Mr Azhar Tariq.

11. Food, Agriculture & Livestock:

Dr Shahid Zia.

12. Foreign Affairs (Advisor):

Dr Shireen Mazari.

13. Political Affairs:

Mr Akbar Babar.

14. Women Development:

Advocate Shamsa Ali.

15. Religious Affairs:

Engr. Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry.

Later on, Dr Muhammed Shafique was notified as Shadow Minister for Irrigation and Water thereby increasing the size of the cabinet to 16 members.

After Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s (ZAB) first cabinet in 1971, this was the ablest group of professionals seen together. Four experts with doctoral degrees, foreign qualified engineers, retired defense personnel, advocate, activists, reformers and educationists formed a team to deliver change. The public response was over whelming and very favorable. There was a sigh of relief to see new untainted faces to lead the movement for ‘Naya Pakistan.’

On the Yaum-e-Tasees of the party the Shadow Ministers presented the outlines of their respective plans to bring change in the country.

After the cabinet formation, four think tanks were also established, three national and one international. A team was also assigned to prepare the first 100 Days Plan which was then presented to the Chairman and the central executive committee (CEC) and consisted of twenty reform areas. Names and contact information of the ministers were posted on the party website (www.insaf.pk).

Policy papers were prepared in all the important areas and then presented to the Kaptaan. Creation of a welfare state was the clear direction of the party and its leadership. As minister of finance Naeem-ul-Haq was tasked to define the parameters of the welfare state. He outlined three areas, education, health and employment to be the responsibility of the state. Every individual between the ages of 5 to 35 was to be covered and made productive for himself and the state. The Lahore think tank that I coordinated was then tasked to formulate the required policies on the basis of which the state was required to function. It was unanimously agreed that economic growth was essential for a welfare state to be funded but for moving forward in this area, security was essential. After due deliberations by experts, policy papers covering Security, Economy, Energy and Agriculture were prepared and presented to the CEC. The feedback was then incorporated into the documents. Four policy papers were then displayed on the party website (Education, Energy, Health and Economy).

The Karachi Think Tank was co-ordinated by Feroz Khan while Azhar Tariq covered Islamabad each worked in their assigned areas. The first 100 days plan of a PTI led government was also announced on July 8, 2011. Thus the party had developed a functional framework for ‘Naya Pakistan’ that included Shadow Cabinet, Think Tanks and First 100 days plan.

Change requires fresh start and new players. One cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hound at the same time. To move forward the hounds of status-quo have to be caged and effectively dealt with. Continuity only strengthens stagnation. A new direction calls for new faces, while old wine in new bottles continues to negatively intoxicate. In his very first speech as President ZAB talked about picking up the pieces to build ‘Naya Pakistan’. He called his administration ‘Awami Hukumat’ which meant no barriers between the rulers and the ruled.

The first cabinet of ZAB consisted of individuals who had a solid track record of struggle not compromise. They had opposed, not served, in the cabinets of dictators. Mahmud Ali Kasuri the brilliant lawyer and activist was his Law Minister who played a pivotal role in framing two constitutions (1972, 1973) and Sheikh Rashid (Baba-e-Socialism) was the Finance Minister. Maulana Kauser Niazi headed the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Then there were comrades like Mairaj Muhammed Khan, Mairaj Khalid and Khurshid Hasan Mir etc. They were all able and honest individuals who then established the writ of the ‘Awam’ (People) through their ‘Awami Hukamat’. Instead of rhetoric like tearing down the walls of the Governor’s House, a more workable approach of opening the gates for the public was followed. It was perhaps the best run administration ever. By 1977 it too was hijacked by the electables and run into the ground. By contrast PTI started off well, it still has all the players to build ‘Naya Pakistan’ though in disarray and under attack by from within the party. Kaptaan is right; the struggle is internal. The comrades of change who built the party or the tainted opportunists of status-quo who served the dictators? He has to pick his team.

On the night of August 16, 2014 after listening to the Kaptaan’s speech at the dharna I was heading towards my car when I came across a young family trying to reach the Jalsa. The husband was holding hands of two youngsters while the wife was carrying a baby, they sought directions from me. It was cold, wet and late moreover the speeches were over, I advised them to return home but they did not even slow down. Perhaps they wanted their children to grow up in ‘Naya Pakistan’. The words of Comrade Ahsan Rashid reverberated in my mind, that change is inevitable, and he wanted Kaptaan to lead and capture the momentum with an untainted team composed of comrades who could deliver not hijack the struggle.