It is not a short of a miracle: a government sitting on a razor-thin majority and facing numerous challenges completes its first year in power with a fair degree of confidence. While taking stock of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) (PTI) government after one year, one comes across many key words — both positive and negative. In its two-decade struggle for power the PTI made endless promises, most of them unrealistic, to woo the voters. Once in power, in the first year, the party was required to float a team of ministers whose integrity and skills were above any doubt, shun foreign loans, create two million jobs, build 200,000 houses, bring corruption to zero, retrieve $200 billion stashed in foreign banks, hang corrupt politicians, resolve outstanding issues with neighbours, abolish cruel taxes, promote free speech and put the country on the track of development and prosperity.
Instead, we have seen changes in the cabinet and many defectors occupying key posts. The government has borrowed record loans — both foreign and domestic. People are losing jobs in droves and those still working face salary cuts and delays. The only significance action on housing is the creation of an authority, that too at the end of the year. Corruption is still rampant in the government sector. The slogan of retrieval of $200 billion stashed in foreign banks has largely been forgotten. Accountability is fast becoming just a tool to victimse opponents. Most of the faces of the party and the government are habitual party switchers. There has been no headway in resolution of outstanding issues with neighbours. Taxes have reached new heights. On free speech, the less said the better.
Despite all these things, the country is on the right track of development and prosperity. Previous governments always delayed tough measures only to make their constituencies of traders and industrialists happy. The results are visible: during the first year of its tenure, the government has brought down current account and trade deficits. The culture of austerity is gaining roots in some government departments. There has been no default on public debt servicing. Millions have been brought into the tax net. Industry is showing signs of recovery. The government has shown a meticulous commitment to end money laundering. Tribal areas have been brought at par with the mainstream areas.
The first year, therefore, is a mix of successes and failures. *
(This news/article originally appeared in Business Recorder on August 19th, 2019)