Lessons PML-N, PPP can learn from PTI’s abysmal performance
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The three-year performance of Imran Khan as prime minister has been disappointing and there’s little possibility of improvement in it during the remaining two years of his mandated term.
Why did the 69-year-old player-turned politician fail to come up to the expectations of the electorate? What are the lessons the PML-N and the PPP may learn from his bad performance?
It has been established beyond doubt that there is no substitute for experience. Had Mr Khan the experience of working in any other official capacity before donning the mantle of the top office, his style of governance and its outcome could have been much different.
Likewise, the delivery of the PTI government against its commitments would have been better if the prime minister had experienced ministers/ aides in his cabinet. Although there are some old hands in his team, their performance has been eclipsed by the poor working of the others.
Benazir Bhutto was also among the leaders who had not held any position in any government before taking over as the country’s chief executive in 1988. At the time bureaucrat-turned-politician Ghulam Ishaq had become the president after the death of Gen Ziaul Haq in an air crash.
The establishment had serious reservations about the lady but had no option but to accept her mandate. To ensure that the PPP government did not take any decision against the country’s interests, about half a dozen important ministers of the previous setup had been included in the Benazir cabinet. They included Sahabzada Yakub Khan, as foreign minister, Roedad Khan as minister for interior and V.A. Jafri as finance minister.
During her 18-month tenure, Ms Bhutto faced a number of challenges but she dealt with them very ably because she had been properly groomed by the family for this role.
She was the daughter of a prime minister and belonged to a family that had roots in politics.
Before her, it was Mr Muhammad Khan Junejo of Sindh who was the chief executive – with a watchful president Gen Ziaul Haq monitoring his performance.
COAS-president Ziaul Haq was the most powerful head of state who was equipped with the power to dismiss the assembly and announce fresh elections.
Mr Junejo had been elected as MNA in the party-less elections in 1985, boycotted by all parties except the PML and the Jamaat-i-Islami, because of their soft-corner for the military ruler.
After being designated as the country’s chief executive, the leader from Sindhri tried to assert himself. For this purpose, he announced that martial law and democracy cannot go together and that the military rule will be lifted by December 31, 1985.
However, Gen Zia kept him within his limits, as a result of which tensions between the holders of the two top offices could be seen and felt by everyone.
After Benazir Bhutto, industrialist-turned-politician Mian Nawaz Sharif became the prime minister. Before this, he had served twice as Punjab chief minister, a position that added to his political experience and the working of governments.
Multan’s Yousaf Reza Gilani, the PPP leader who became prime minister as a result of the 2008 elections, also had a good deal of experience of working in various capacities, including the speaker of the National Assembly.
Now the political parties (PML-N and PPP), aspiring to return to power after the failure of the PTI, should learn a lesson and pick up such people for the top office as had sufficient experience of working on different positions. Experienced people will certainly perform better than raw hands.
As for the PML-N, it is divided into two camps, each led by Mian Nawaz Sharif and his younger brother Mian Shehbaz Sharif, who is heading the party because the former prime minister stands disqualified for life.
Nawaz Sharif is a ‘confrontationist’ and is determined to ‘conquer’ the military establishment for what he calls the supremacy of the Constitution. His daughter Maryam also has the same point of view. She has a strong desire to become the chief executive – and settle scores with all the ‘opponents’. However, at present, she stands disqualified and her dream cannot materialize unless there is a favourable court verdict that annuls the earlier decision against her.
As of now, she has no previous political experience, although can deliver good speeches and pull crowds to party gatherings.
In case she gets a chance by some miracle, it will be disastrous for the country. She will be a combination of extremism and inexperience.
On the other hand, Shehbaz Sharif, representing the other camp, is a pacifist. He wants reconciliation with the military establishment for the greater good of the country. He is convinced that the road to power passes through the GHQ.
Although his thinking is endorsed by a large number of people in the party, none dares speak in his favour as such a step could annoy the former prime minister and his daughter.
As a result, party leaders like Shehbaz but follow Nawaz Sharif.
In PML-N, many call Maryam as female Imran Khan.
The situation in the PPP is quite interesting.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari is aspiring for the top office.
He is the son of a former president and a former prime minister. He is also the grandson of a former prime minister. It’s a rich political CV.
But the fact is that he has no experience of running even a district or a province.
This means if as a result of any unpredictable development he lands in the top slot without any previous experience, he cannot be expected to solve multiple problems facing the country.
In a nutshell, before aspiring for the top slot he must get some experience of working in some other position.
No other party stands any chance for the top post and they are fated to act as aides/ allies to the main parties.