PTI’s three years in power: A story of failures, broken promises

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 12:54 PM, 21 Aug, 2021
PTI’s three years in power: A story of failures, broken promises
File photo.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government has completed three years of its mandated constitutional term, witnessing major changes in the east and west of Pakistan.  

However, its performance on the domestic front during this period has been a subject of great controversies. While the opposition parties regard it as an era of complete failures on all fronts, the ruling PTI claims its landmark steps have put the country on the path to progress and prosperity as a result of which the fate of the impoverished lot will change.

Whatever the fact, the very installation of the PTI in power marked a change on the country’s political scene as it led to breaking the cycle of PML-N and PPP ruling the country by turns.  

It was during the PTI rule that India – the eastern neighbour of Pakistan- illegally annexed occupied Kashmir, scrapping Articles 370 and 35-A of its Constitution. The move, that stripped occupied Kashmir of its special status, is being reviled by Kashmiris as well people for whom human rights are very important.  

Then, Pakistan’s western neighbour – Afghanistan – recently witnessed a major change as the US withdrew its troops after 20 years of occupation, clearing the way for Taliban rule, the very same elements the US had invaded to oust. 

Both these changes in the east and west of Pakistan are important for their own reasons. 

The annexation of occupied Kashmir is being attributed to the weakness of the PTI government. Rivals say – and rightly so – that India did not dare take such a step in the past because it was fully aware that such folly in the presence of the UN Security Council resolutions would lead to a strong reaction from a nuclear Pakistan

This is a weighty argument that can’t be dismissed just because of political rivalry. 

To be fair, the annexation of occupied Kashmir by India is a matter of great embarrassment for Pakistan, especially because it’s a nuclear power. 

The very decision indicated that the ‘enemy’ was confident that the PTI government would not take any practical steps against it. 

The Imran Khan government has not been able to take any step against it except issuing strong statements. 

As for the change in Afghanistan, apparently it’s good for Pakistan because the Taliban are considered a Pakistan-friendly force.

Now it can be expected that relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan will be very cordial and the bellicosity of the past regimes will not be seen. Economic cooperation between the two countries will grow – a situation that will promote a sense of jealousy among the opponents of the two Islamic countries. 

As for the PTI government’s three-year performance on the domestic front, it has been depressing for a variety of reasons, inexperience and the lack of a capable team of deliverers being important of them all. 

Although Prime Minister Imran Khan claims he has been struggling for more than two decades to come to power and solve the country’s thorny problems, his government has failed to change the on-ground situation during the past three years. 

Prices of essential commodities have gone beyond the reach of the common man, a single factor that nullifies the government’s performance on all other fronts. Shopkeepers raise price at will, creating an impression as if there is no government in the country. 

Frequent raises in electricity tariff, petrol prices have added to the problems of the common man, who is unaware of the ‘blessings’ of the achievements like GDP growth, raise in foreign exchange reserves or the benefits the new dams. 

Countless beggars can be seen at all crossings, an undeniable sign of growing poverty.  

The presence of these people in droves manifests the failure of the government’s anti-beggary campaigns. 

The PTI had made a commitment for carving out South Punjab as a separate province.  

Although a ‘secretariat’ has been set up in the region, the constitutional amendment necessary of the creation of a separate province will take some more time to actualise.  

The PTI had always been critical of the army of ministers, advisers and special assistants recruited by the previous governments. It pledged to run the country with a small number of ministers – possibly less than 20. However, it has not been able to keep the promise. 

Apparently, because of political compulsions it has 54 members with 28 federal ministers, four ministers of state, four advisers to the prime minister and 18 special assistants to the prime minister. Among these cabinet members, the unelected now number 21.   

So far, the PTI government has not honoured its commitment of converting Lahore’s Governor House into a university. In fact it has backed out.   

As for vote right to the overseas Pakistanis, a presidential ordinance had been issued for the purpose. However, steps for the purpose and introduction of the electronic voting machines are yet to be taken. 

During the past three years the PTI government has also failed to rein in corruption.  

As of now, it is rampant in every walk of life and there is little hope of the government being able to grapple with this menace even during the rest of two years of its term. 

The system of justice has not been improved because of which the number of pending cases is high as ever. Cases take decades to decide, something reflective of the government’s failure on this front. 

The process of accountability has been very slow during these three years.  Although the PML-N and PPP leaders have been proceeded against, their cases have not been taken to their logical conclusions. 

Political observers are of the opinion that if cases against important politicians remain undecided till the next elections, the ‘accused leaders’ will use the ‘victimhood’ card at the time of polls, a factor that will go against the PTI. 

During these three years heinous crime incidents have gone up – mainly because the government failed to punish the culprits. The situation will remain unchanged unless those already awarded capital punishment are taken to the gallows.