The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government patted its back in a fancy ceremony in Islamabad over its achievements in first 100 days, while the lives of the people continue to be marred by inflation, water shortage and lack of job opportunities.
The government has been able to achieve only 18 of its 34 targets. Packed with musical performances, videos, and slideshows, the ceremony of the 100-day progress seemed like a sophisticated version of party’s rallies.
Prime Minister Imran Khan walked to the stage with Strings’ Main Toh Dekhoonga playing in the background. He started his speech by saying that the government’s main focus was the people. “We have tried to formulate policies which benefit the people. We want to improve relations with India, so that trade between the two benefits the people”.
While campaigning for the July 25 general election, Imran Khan had announced an ambitious 100-day plan. He promised that the government will meet its target at all costs. At the ceremony, Khan changed his stance a bit and said that a man can only try his best. “Success and failure depend on Allah.”
The real progress Pakistan has achieved seems to be the Memorandum of Understanding with 26 countries to recover looted wealth. “We have signed agreements with 26 countries. We signed a MoU with Switzerland today [Thursday],” said Khan.
We have been able to trace $11 billion undeclared money of Pakistani in foreign countries. The government has been able to retrieve land worth Rs350 billion in anti-encroachment drives against the land mafia, he added.
— Tehreek-e-Insaf (@InsafPK) November 29, 2018
Rest of the speech was followed by more promises to improve the country’s situation. He said that there was a dire need to improve the quality of government hospitals and schools as it leads to depravity.
He laid down the plan for poverty alleviation in the country. A body will be formed to deal with issues such as housing, stunted growth, malnutrition among others. The premier spoke in-depth about utilising livestock to benefit farmers. We need to rear cows and give money to farmers to do so, he remarked. Pakistan plans to form disease-free zones to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. “We will venture into the field of shrimp farming too,” he said.
India and Bangladesh have gone to the International Monetary Fund only once. “Pakistan has gone to it 16 times,” he said. Pakistan needs to do four things for it to not seek IMF’s help; investment, exports, remittances and tax reforms.
He once again remarked that corruption has hindered Pakistan’s progress. “We don’t even know how rampant corruption was. Even I didn’t know it.” The country cannot progress until people are stopped from engaging in corrupt practices.
Khan addressed the opposition’s accusations of selective justice and reiterated that the accountability bureau does not work under the government. “It is an independent organisation. We are not responsible for the actions of NAB,” he said, adding that the bureau can function better. NAB has a conviction rate of only 7%, he pointed out.
Accrediting his wife, Bushra Begum, for his success, Khan said that she reminds him time and again that he is the prime minister.
The steps taken by the government to improve the lives of the people include securing $6 billion bailout package from Saudi Arabia, decreasing tax on oil prices, complaint portal for people, austerity drive, housing scheme to build five million houses, completing first phase of billion tree project and groundbreaking of Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims.
‘Haven’t forgotten our manifesto’
“It was very common in the past for parties to forget their manifesto, but we haven’t,” remarked PM Adviser Muhammad Shahzad Arbab. He said that the government has managed to achieve 18 of its 34 targets. “We have been working in a transparent manner.”
Arbab remarked that the government formed an assets recovery unit. “We worked with the British government to trace wealth of Pakistanis and formed a partnership to bring the money back.” The government worked on improving the local government systems in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.
“We want the local government to benefit the people and the oppressed.” He remarked that the village, tehsil and city councils will be made. “They will be given funds and made autonomous,” he said. PTI believes that every person has the right to justice. In this regard, the government has brought some legal reforms, Arbab said. “One of our targets is to form a National Tourism Board to promote tourism.” The details of the plan will be shared by all the provincial governments in their respective events on 100-day performance.
We are firm on our resolve to make South Punjab a separate province, he said.
The construction of Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams will be completed on an emergency basis, he remarked.
Arbab said that the government is focusing on empowering the women too. “Women justice system action plan will allow women to get justice easily,” he said. The human rights ministry will raise awareness regarding inheritance rights for women.
Finance Minister Asad Umar remarked that he will focus on three main points; what did we get, what have we done, where do we want to get.
He used a cricket analogy to explain the situation of Pakistan’s economy. “Think of it this way: Captain has won and toss and decided to bat. I have been sent as an opener, the wicket is green top and there are clouds above the sky. There is invariable bounce and the ball is swinging too.” The previous government had even stopped the money of the widows of Pakistan Steel Mills’ employees, he remarked. “This was their situation.”
The PM is willing to take a U-turn for the betterment of the nation, Umar remarked.
The previous government worked to strengthen the agenda of Pakistan’s neighbouring country, said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. “It didn’t even have a foreign minister for over 4 years.”
We decided to strengthen the foreign office by increasing communication and do functional diplomacy, he remarked. “We will form an advisory council comprising foreign policy experts.”
We held 16 multi-lateral discussions in 100 days. On the orders of the prime minister, we made a new foreign policy, he said. “Our first priority is to improve ties with the neighbouring countries. We told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah that we are ready to hear their concerns.”
He remarked: “We need peace in the region. We have a people-centric agenda. We want to bring investment to the country.” We need to have a peaceful relationship with Afghanistan and India to restore peace in the region. We continued our efforts to improve ties with India even after they cancelled a meeting with Sushma Swaraj. “Despite everything Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated Kartarpur corridor yesterday.”
The progress is also available on its website: http://pm100days.pmo.gov.pk/