President Alvi highlights successes of govt, omits failures

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 03:34 PM, 14 Sep, 2021
President Alvi highlights successes of govt, omits failures
File photo.

President Dr Arif Alvi, while addressing a joint session of parliament on Monday, in fact reiterated what Prime Minister Imran Khan had said in the last week of August when his government completed three of its five-year mandated term. 

Both the head of the state and the head of government expressed complete satisfaction over the performance of the PTI government in all sectors. 

But the president’s endorsement of the PM’s lofty claims about the past delivery and rosy picture about the future is more of the logical outcome of the prevailing political system in which the president is just a powerless entity, a rubberstamp. 

He has no alternative but to add his voice to whatever the government or its head says. 

Had the president the right to have an independent opinion he would have been aware of the ground realities and the serious problems facing the common man. He would have known – and said it in the joint session - that the price hike has broken the back of the poor and made their survival very difficult. 

Also, a duly empowered president would have warned the ruling party leadership that with a performance below the expectations of the electorate it should not expect a favourable outcome of the next elections, due after a couple of years. 

There was a time when the president of Pakistan used to enjoy many powers under the Eighth constitutional amendment, including dissolution of the National Assembly and ordering fresh elections. 

Armed with the 8th amendment power the president could offer his innate feelings while addressing a joint session of parliament at the advent of the new parliamentary year.  

The governments also used to give due importance to the president’s views, advice, suggestion and guidelines. 

But the repeal of the Eighth Amendment by the PML-N government reduced the status of the president to a rubberstamp – an impotent head of state, free only to lavish praise on the government and its policies. 

President Alvi’s effusive praise for the prime minister should, therefore, be seen in that context. 

Only a powerful president could point out that fruits of the government policies were yet to reach the common man and the journey to transformation of Pakistan into a Madinah-like state was yet to begin. 

President Alvi failed to identify any failures or negativities.  

He also point out factors because of which the accountability of the past rulers could not be completed even in three years – as a result of which the PML-N leaders have got a justification to claim that corruption of not a single rupee has been proven against them. 

The president also did not point out that corruption in society was as deep-rooted as ever – bringing no change in the situation during the three-year rule of the PTI. Police, judiciary, especially at the lower level, are corrupt to the core. 

He also did not allude to the Model Town killings case, in which important PML-N leaders have been nominated. 

The president appreciated the government’s performance in the economic sector but did not say why the increase in exports to $25.3 billion and drastic reduction in the trade deficit could not bring down prices. 

He also did not like to raise a finger at the huge foreign loans obtained by the PTI government over the past three years, nor asked any question about the government’s ability to repay those loans.  

However, the president did deem it fit to point out that Pakistan Stock Exchange has broken all past records to become Asia's best-performing market and world's fourth-best. 

The appreciation of the PTI government’s performance on the Afghanistan front is certainly justifiable – but the credit for this success also goes to the past governments that remained in power since US invasion of Afghanistan 20 years ago. 

To highlight the PTI government’s performance on the Afghanistan front, the president said: "PM Imran always maintained that there was no military solution to Afghanistan. 

"The whole world must now acknowledge that PM Imran's and Pakistan's advice on Afghanistan was right," he added, urging the world to seek the premier's advice on other matters too. 

While highlighting this victory the president should also have admitted that discredit for whatever is happening in Indian occupied Kashmir also goes to the PTI government. 

India would not have dared annex occupied Kashmir if it had the slightest fear of any reaction from the PTI government. 

Even today India is going ahead with its agenda about the occupied Kashmir.  The PTI is doing nothing on this front except paying a lip service to the Kashmiris.  

On the basis of its ‘marvelous’ performance the PTI claims that it will win even the next elections. 

The final decision in this regard lies with the voters.