Skip to main content

Another reshuffle on the cards


Zahid HussainUpdated October 02, 2019

The writer is an author and journalist.

IMRAN Khan is now back home amidst applause for his ‘historic speech’ at the UN to face some hard political realities. The government is in a state of disarray and the opposition is threatening to bring the capital to a standstill. It is not a pretty situation. Meanwhile, rumours abound that a major cabinet shakeup is in the offing. But will reshuffling the deck resolve the primary problem of governance?

Over the last one year since coming to power, Khan has made several changes in the cabinet that now looks more like a collection of relics from the past. Reshuffling the same deck is not likely to transform this gallery of curiosities. Mere changing of portfolios and jettisoning a few dead weights is not likely to deliver.

This is one of the most bloated cabinets in the country’s recent history, with its huge army of advisers and special assistants adding to an already large team of ministers. The multilayered arrangement has worsened the crisis of governance. Most of the cabinet members are working at cross purposes fuelling much confusion.

Cronyism is the name of the game today as much as it was during the tenures of previous governments. Not surprisingly, Zulfi Bukhari, an old buddy and the prime minister’s Man Friday, is considered the most powerful person in government and appears to be delving into everything from foreign affairs to internal policy matters without holding any party position or being an elected member of parliament.

ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER AD

A major challenge for the ruling party is the collapse of governance in Punjab and KP.


Bukhari had been present during the prime minister’s meeting at the White House and other foreign visits. One is curious to know more about his professional credentials that supposedly qualify him to attend to sensitive diplomatic matters. His growing influence has raised many eyebrows within the PTI and outside. It is not the only example that exposes the contradiction in Khan’s pledge to establish a new political culture that does not allow any kind of nepotism. Bukhari’s is only one example of many.

Ad hocism is the hallmark of the Khan government and there is no sign yet of any significant change in attitude. More often than not, decisions taken by this government have led to controversy. (One such example was the arbitrary change of guard at the UN with Munir Akram replacing Maleeha Lodhi as Pakistan’s permanent representative hours after Imran Khan’s return.) The prime minister is certainly worried by the failure of his ministers to deliver. The growing inner party criticism of the government’s performance is quite ominous. The PTI members are taking on their government over its economic policies in parliament too.

Undoubtedly, the government had inherited a bad economic situation that required it to take tough reform measures that affected the people. But the government must also take responsibility for failing to act more urgently. One year on, the government has failed to bring confidence to investors and the business community. The shrinking economy will have serious social and political implications.

There may be signs of improvement vis-à-vis the current account deficit, but the fiscal situation is still alarming. The revenue target is hard to meet despite some reforms in the taxation system. While the decline in the economic growth rate was predictable as a result of a tight monetary policy, such a sharp fall is also the result of the government’s failure to infuse confidence in the business community — that can only come with political stability. The bureaucratic paralysis may also be a reason for development work almost coming to a halt.

Foreign investment has dropped alarmingly despite the government’s claim of improvement in the business environment. It requires greater political stability and a favourable environment to do business. It is domestic investment that essentially encourages foreign investors.

A major challenge for the ruling party is the collapse of governance in Punjab and KP, both under the PTI’s control. The situation in Punjab is worse with Imran Khan’s insistence on continuing with a lacklustre and inexperienced chief minister. Development work in the province seems to have come to a halt. The situation is not very different in the other departments.

The only tangible activity in the province are the constant changes in the provincial bureaucracy that has badly affected the administration. Transfers and postings seem to preoccupy the chief minister. But the major predicament for the prime minister is that there seems to be no one in the party to replace ‘Wasim Akram Plus’. One year down the road, there has not yet been any sign of the institutional reforms promised by the party being implemented in the country’s biggest and most powerful province. There are already signs of the party losing space. Imran Khan’s attempts to run the province via remote control have not worked either.

Encouraged by Khan’s failure to deliver and wanting to survive politically, the squabbling opposition groups seem to be getting closer on the single-point agenda of bringing down the government. Although both the PML-N and the PPP have yet to agree to join the Islamabad march called by the crafty Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the pressure on the government is palpable.

Surely, even if united, the opposition parties do not have the capacity or street power across the country to bring down the government. Yet they are capable of making things more difficult for the rudderless government. The so-called accountability process targeting major opposition leaders has given them something more with which to hit the government.

Of course, his speech at the UN General Assembly may have helped the prime minister strengthen his populist base at home, but it is a temporary phenomenon and will not divert public attention from other politically critical issues at home.

There is a need for the government to take corrective measures before it is too late. It needs much more than reshuffling the cabinet. Cosmetic measures alone won’t help improve governance and address the real issues. The prime minister has to review his confrontational ways that have been one of the major reasons for increasing political and economic instability. More than a change of faces, the government needs to set a clear policy direction.

The writer is an author and journalist.

zhussain100@yahoo.com

Twitter: @hidhussain

Published in Dawn, October 2nd , 2019




https://www.dawn.com/news/1508514

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SSG Commando Muddassir Iqbal of Pakistan Army

“ Commando Muddassir Iqbal was part of the team who conducted Army Public School operation on 16 December 2014. In this video he reveals that he along with other commandos was ordered to kill the innocent children inside school, when asked why should they kill children after killing all the terrorist he was told that it would be a chance to defame Taliban and get nation on the side. He and all other commandos killed children and later Taliban was blamed.
Muddassir Iqbal has deserted the military and now he is  with mujahedeen somewhere in AF PAK border area”
For authenticity of  this tape journalists can easy reach to his home town to interview his family members or   ISPR as he reveals his army service number”
Asalam o Alaikum: My name is Muddassir Iqbal. My father’s name is Naimat Ali. I belong to Sialkot divison (Punjab province), my village is Shamsher Poor and district, tehsil and post office  Narowal. Unfortunately I was working in Pakistan army. I feel embarrassed to tell you …

The Rise of China-Europe Railways

https://www.csis.org/analysis/rise-china-europe-railways

The Rise of China-Europe RailwaysMarch 6, 2018The Dawn of a New Commercial Era?For over two millennia, technology and politics have shaped trade across the Eurasian supercontinent. The compass and domesticated camels helped the “silk routes” emerge between 200 and 400 CE, and peaceful interactions between the Han and Hellenic empires allowed overland trade to flourish. A major shift occurred in the late fifteenth century, when the invention of large ocean-going vessels and new navigation methods made maritime trade more competitive. Mercantilism and competition among Europe’s colonial powers helped pull commerce to the coastlines. Since then, commerce between Asia and Europe has traveled primarily by sea.1Against this historical backdrop, new railway services between China and Europe have emerged rapidly. Just 10 years ago, regular direct freight services from China to Europe did not exist.2 Today, they connect roughly 35 Chinese…

China's Raise as a Maritime Power

China's Rise as a Maritime PowerOcean Policy from Mao Zedong to Xi JinpingTAKEDA Jun’ichiSenkaku IslandsApr 23, 2014 PDF Download1. IntroductionThe international community has been viewing China's recent moves relating to the seas as representing "maritime expansion," and the Chinese themselves have come to talk about making their country a maritime power. In the political report he delivered in the autumn of 2012 to the eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which stands at the top of the country's power structure, General Secretary Hu Jintao declared, "We should enhance our capacity for exploiting marine resources, develop the marine economy, protect the marine ecological environment, resolutely safeguard China's maritime rights and interests, and build China into a maritime power."1 This was Hu's final report as the top leader of the CPC; after delivering it he stepped down from his posts as general secretary and chairm…