PTI government has completed one year in office. It came into power with lot of promises and high expectations. PTI leadership promised to make Naya Pakistan and to bring change. It promised to end the status quo and to bring administrative, economic and legal reforms in the country to improve the lives of ordinary people. But in last one year, contrary to its claims and slogans of change; it has strengthened the status quo and failed to introduce reforms.
Police reforms were promised to change the corrupt, repressive colonial police system, structure and “Thana Culture” but not a single practical step was taken in that direction. PTI government is happy to maintain the status quo.
The first year of PTI government will be remembered as a year of U-turns, economic crisis, rising inflation; job losses, increased poverty, suppression of media, freedom of expression and democratic rights; bad governance, incompetence and selective accountability. It was a year full of mere slogans, rhetoric and empty promises.
It seems that PTI government hasn’t realised yet that it needs more than the mere slogans and promises to fix the problems and to face off the multiple challenges. It needs clear strategy, planning and a vision to address these problems, issues and challenges. That is what PTI government is lacking.
It seems that PTI government considers the incremental adjustments, symbolic and superficial measures enough to bring change and to make Naya Pakistan. Incremental adjustments can never become alternative to the meaningful, radical and long lasting reforms in the socio-economic system and colonial state structure.
It was a year of disappointment for all those who believed that PTI government would concentrate on issues directly linked with daily life of ordinary Pakistanis. The issues related to poverty; unemployment; educational and health woes; judicial, civil service and police reforms; social justice; inequality; and exploitation will be addressed on priority basis.
They hoped that PTI government will make all-out effort to fulfill its promises and election pledges. New low cost houses for working people and poor masses will be built, new jobs and economic opportunities will be created, poverty will be reduced and relief will be provided to the most downtrodden and exploited sections of society. PTI government has largely ignored the day to day problems and issues of poor masses and working people in its first year of power.
PTI leadership promised to provide one million houses and 10 million jobs during its term of five years. The flagship Naya Pakistan Housing Project is still in pipe dreams. Not a single low cast house was built under this much talked about project during the first year of its government. PTI government will need to build 2, 50,000 residential units every year to achieve its target in the remaining four years of its term.
It promised to provide 10 million jobs in five years. It means two million jobs per year. But in its first year in power, PTI has failed to fulfill its promised. Instead, the slowdown in the economy has resulted in tens of thousands of workers have lost their jobs. The youth unemployment has become big problem. The educated young people find it hard to get jobs. But no practical step and measure was taken by the PTI government to address this pressing issue.
PTI government in last one year has implemented the neo-liberal economic policies. It is hard to find differences between the economic policies of previous governments of PPP and PML-N and present government of PTI. The result of these policies is skyrocketing inflation, rising unemployment; collapsing investment and economic growth. The low growth rate and investment means fewer jobs and more unemployment.
The government burdened the poor, working people and lower middle class with taxes and increase in utility bills. The government has increased the gas, electricity and petrol prices several times in last one year. The prices of all the major food items have been increased.
The people are suffering under the impact of rising inflation and price hike. The high inflation is hurting the poor masses badly. The daily wage labourer and poor sections of population finds it hard to even properly feed their families. The government’s economic policies have pushed tens of thousands below the poverty line. PTI government failed to control the inflation and price hike. The rising inflation and price hike have made the lives of masses even more miserable, painful and hard.
It was a disappointing year for all those who believes in free press, freedom of expression, democratic and political rights and supremacy of parliament. Media censorship has become everyday reality in Naya Pakistan. The journalists are working under constant pressure.
PTI government made no serious effort in last one year to strengthen the parliament and to use it as a platform to discuss and to formulate the policies. Instead, all the major policy decisions were made outside the parliament.
Prime Minster Imran khan promised to answer the questions of parliamentarians twice every month. But he hardly takes interest in the proceedings of parliament. Parliament has been reduced to a place to make speeches and organise protests. No serious discussion took place on the state of economy, rising inflation, increased poverty and other issues concerning the people.
PTI government has disappointed all those who wanted to see a new direction in terms of policies.
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17 November, 2019