It would be an understatement to say that the promised emergence of Naya Pakistan has failed to actualize. In fact the dream for Naya Pakistan has turned into a nightmare for all those who believed in the unrealistic and utopian ideas of Imran Khan about making Pakistan a vibrant and prosperous nation with no problems to be worried about and a role model of good governance. The tragedy is that Imran Khan still believes in his false narrative and fanciful make beliefs as is evident from his recent remarks that governance was easier than being in the opposition. Such remarks can only come from a man who has no idea about governance and the complexities involved.

In the modern world characterized by interdependence it is really an arduous and complicated task to manage the economy of a third world country like Pakistan which apart from the economic developments taking place at the global level was also vulnerable to internal social fault lines as well as the perennial ambience of political uncertainty.

Granted that political leaders do tend to win the franchise of the people to govern the country by making tall claims of changing the economic situation of the people and ensuring better governance but what Imran Khan pledged did not have even the remotest relevance to the existing ground realities. People cannot be fed on mere promises and lecturing patience. They expect the government installed by them to deliver and improve their economic situations as well as the creation of an ambience of peace within the country which is a litmus test for judging the performance of a government. The rhetoric of corruption done by the previous regimes and throwing the entire blame on them for the situation the country is in, has also lost its appeal for the people.

Pakistan is at the cross-roads and it has honestly speaking reached at this stage because of the shenanigans of all the previous regimes which contributed to the deteriorating situation in varying degrees. But it is really regrettable to note that Imran Khan and his cohorts cry hoarse from every convenient roof-top to portray the Sharifs as an incarnation of evil responsible for all the ills afflicting our polity. By doing so, they commit intellectual and political dishonesty by not mentioning the achievements of the PML (N) government. The verifiable reality is that the PML (N) government did manage to effect a turn-around in the economy in the first three years. It was only during the last two years when Imran Khan and the Canada based cleric unleashed a sit-in for 126 days that the economy was badly affected in terms of flow of foreign investments and other economic indicators. According to Dr. Hafeez Pasha the economy sustained a loss of $30 billion.

The reality is that the PML (N) government during its tenure did manage to raise the GDP growth rate to 5.3% from the inherited rate of 3%. It reduced the budgetary deficit to 5.8 % from 8.4% in 2013. During its five years tenure it added more than 10000 MW of electricity to the national system and undertook tremendous infrastructure development which is considered to be the biggest propeller of economic development.

Imran Khan and PTI stalwarts still think that they can maintain the popularity of the party and hood wink the people by continuing unabated propaganda about the corruption of the PML (N) and PPP leaders without delivering on their promises. They are terribly wrong. Bringing the wealth stashed abroad or sending the political opponents to jail, the theatrics repeatedly tried by the successive regimes to fix their political opponents, is not the major concern of the people. They want real ‘tabdeeli’ in their economic situations.

The reality is that the PTI government has miserably failed in handling the economic issues and delivering on the promises. If they knew that they would inherit a difficult economic situation why did they not plan properly for the responsibility that they were going to shoulder? Why did they make promises like providing ten million jobs and building five million houses when they knew there was no money available in the kitty to make it possible? Why even now they keep insisting on fulfilling their pledges when the economic outlook of the country looks bleak and all the international lending and rating agencies have predicted a GDP growth rate of around 3% likely to go further down in the next three years? Simply put the PTI is in no position to create the promised jobs and building 5 million houses let alone other mega initiatives being taken. The PTI leadership continues with this gimmickry ostensibly believing that merely the announcement of such ventures having no connectivity with the availability of resources might pacify the people and divert their attention from the real issues confronting them.

The other fallacious thinking of Imran Khan is that he can bring the promised miracle all by himself without the cooperation of the opposing political forces. His personal vitriol for the opposition leaders would probably prove to be the nemesis of his government. The political instability being fomented by him through witch-hunt of his political opponents in the name of accountability will surely have its boomerang effect which would nullify the chances of success of any economic initiative purported to be taken by his government in the future. The country needs reconciliation and consensus on economic and political charters.

Imran Khan needs to shun his egoistic streak. His obsession with digging the past would land him in more trouble politically. In such a situation the people will be the real sufferers. The better and advisable course for him would be to let the bygones be bygones and make a new beginning by seeking cooperation of all the political parties in bringing the systemic changes required to improve governance and plugging the avenues of future misuse of power and corruption. This will at least ensure political stability required for nudging the country on the path of economic revival.

The writer is a freelance columnist.ashpak10@gmail.com

The rhetoric of corruption done by the previous regimes and throwing the entire blame on them for the situation the country is in, has also lost its appeal for the people.