PTI govt’s failures on foreign, local fronts a lesson for electorate

Published: 03:57 PM, 16 Jan, 2021
PTI govt’s failures on foreign, local fronts a lesson for electorate
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The PTI government is setting new records of failures both on foreign and domestic fronts, tall claims to the contrary being made by those in power, notwithstanding. 

Pakistan had to face tremendous embarrassment on Friday when a PIA plane was seized by Malaysia on a court order.

The action was taken after the passengers had already boarded the aircraft, a situation that amounts to adding insult to injury. 

The court order was for two planes. This means another PIA aircraft would also have to face a similar humiliating action whenever the ‘brotherly Islamic’ country got an opportunity to lay a hand.

Whatever the defence or excuses offered by the relevant PTI high-ups, the unfortunate incident has exposed the depth of ‘brotherly relations’ between the two countries. 

The matter will now be taken by a Kuala Lumpur court on January 24, which means Pakistan will possibly have to wait till then to have the plane released. 

This episode has once again established that the country is having to pay a price for voting political novices to power in the last elections. 

After the Kuala Lumpur incident nobody will believe that Pakistan and Malaysia have very good relations. Had the two countries really been close to each other, the Malaysian government would have done something to save Islamabad from embarrassment at the international level just for a dispute over $14 million.

This is not the only incident that has exposed the failure of the PTI government on the foreign front. 

Only recently Pakistan had to pay back $2 billion to Saudi Arabia on the latter’s demand.

The money had been parked by the oil-rich kingdom in Pakistan to beef up its foreign exchange reserves. However, for reasons best known to the high-ups, Islamabad had to repay the amount after borrowing from another friend, which is not an Islamic state.

This has established beyond doubt that the Imran government has not been able to improve Pakistan’s ties even with those countries with which it had historically best relations. 

People have also not forgotten Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s visit to Islamabad during the initial days of the PTI rule. The de facto Saudi ruler had made a very encouraging statement during his stay in the federal capital. He had called himself Pakistan’s ambassador to KSA, a statement that could not describe better the closeness of the two important Islamic states.

But the dip in such a short time is incomprehensible.

This situation is especially disturbing for the people of Pakistan as Saudi authorities are trying to strengthen their ties to Christians and Jews. 

It is in this situation that three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is going to visit Saudi Arabia during the next few weeks.  

While the PTI government is trying to bring Mr Sharif back to Pakistan – and is also set to revoke his passport by the middle of next month – the outcome of his visit will also be a yardstick of relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The PTI government will certainly not like Saudi authorities to give any kind of relief to the person declared absconder by courts.

The British government’s categorical refusal to arrest Mr Sharif despite a request made by Pakistan is sufficient to belie claims that Prime Minister Imran Khan has very good relations with his British counterpart Boris Johnson. This response, reported by the media, should be an eye-opener for the cricketer-turned-politician. 

He must understand that in politics personal relations don’t matter. “There is no kinship in kingship”, as they say.

The failures of the PTI government on domestic front are also countless. Instead of bringing down prices it is raising them, adding to the miseries of the common man.  At a time when gas should have been in abundance to enable the people to fight the freezing cold, it has just disappeared.  

Electricity and petrol prices have also gone beyond the reach of the poor, as a result of which they are cursing themselves for supporting the PTI in the 2018 elections. 

The PTI government’s poor performance means the ‘third option’ has not worked. Because of this the future of the party is not bright.

There is also a lesson for the electorate.

They should not support any political debutant for the top post.  

Anyone aspiring to lead the country should begin his or her career from grassroots.  

Because those unaware of governance problems at the lower level cannot be expected to deliver as the head of government.

Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.