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Is Pakistan Moving Towards Any Real ‘Change’?

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Faisal Ali Ghumman

‘Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) is the name of transformation’, ‘Change is not actually coming it has come’ are the clumsy slogans people of Pakistan have been listening from the leaders and ‘forever’ charged activists.

Is there any real change in any sphere of life? One should ask oneself. From an ordinary citizen to a person sitting in the corridors of powers no one actually wants change (tabdeeli), an official slogan of the party’s chairman and sitting Prime Minister- Imran Khan.

As seventh month of PTI government is in progress, political system is running like previous tenures; blue-eyed and tainted people are being picked for key slots; bureaucracy is working with no visible change; judiciary is making no difference; parliaments and provincial legislatives are having the same old-fashioned cross-talks and nothing productive; business elites and landlords are evading tax and gaining undue benefits; anti-corruption watchdogs are squeezing opposition parties, public offices are engaged in corrupt practices, ordinary man having no knowledge of political gimmick is facing same miseries etc.

Up to some extent the protectors of country’s borders are proving their mettle, the latest act of gallantry was somehow to shoot down Indian planes and arrest a fighter pilot.

The latest act of raising salaries, perks and privileges of member assemblies, ministers and the Chief Minister by the Punjab Assembly has drawn a harsh public criticism on electronic and social media.

Even Prime Minister Khan showed his dismay by tweeting, “I am extremely disappointed by decision of Punjab Assembly to raise pays and privileges of MPAs, ministers and especially CM”.

“Once prosperity returns to Pakistan such a move could be justified, but now, when we do not have resources to provide basic amenities to all our people, this is untenable,” he added.

Interestingly, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry first backed legislators, but later slammed the Punjab Assembly’s decision and termed it a “sham exercise” after the PM’s tweet.

Where legislators belonging to treasury and opposition benches have common stakes, they shake hands and make moves. Despite resistance shown by the premier about tabling the bill of more than doubling salaries, the bill has been reportedly sent to the Governor Punjab for vetting.

The incumbent government has already taken u-turns on several matters of austerity.

The PTI stalwarts like PM Khan, Governor Punjab Chauhdry Sarwar, a couple of federal ministers are seen enjoying the same VVIP protocols their predecessors enjoyed.

Being opposition members the PTI leadership always criticized PML-N government for getting external loans at higher rates but regaining power followed the same practice.

Instead of giving any relief to masses, Khan-led regime is giving shocks of high tariffs in electricity, gas and petrol. The inflation in consumer goods is getting manifold.

The business community especially small traders seem confused about uncertain trading atmosphere.

Everyone understands as to how the PTI government is double-crossing ordinary citizens as austerity measures and simplicity in PTI ranks is still a distant dream.

The civil bureaucracy is seen openly talking about the shameful levels of political interference in official matters like transfers and postings of officers.

What’s the difference then between PTI and its predecessors PML-N and PPP?….Nothing but a change of guard at top.

Pakistanis should stop living in fool’s paradise, mend their ways, come out of personal gains and choose a true leader (statesman) of the country.

No pain, no gain.

  • The writer is Editor-in-Chief lahoremirror.com, Editor dubainews.tv, Editor Daily The Business and former correspondent Daily Dawn.