Since the General Elections of 2018, the buzzword is change or “Tabdeeli”. Almost everyone refers to everything happening around them to be a phenomenon of change, whether in good humor or a mark of criticism. While the PTI supporters are really optimistic, however, their political opponents often question them that how this “Tabdeeli” will occur. Their claims got traction once the new cabinet was announced and it was widely publicized that tried and tested faces have once again been given important portfolios.
We need to understand that Pakistan is a functional state where state institutions exist in some form. While many of them might just be proving to be a burden on national exchequer, however, they exist, albeit in a shambolic state. Recently i had a chance to visit Deputy Commissioner Complex in a relatively backward district of Punjab Province. During visit it was evident that there are offices for education, health, transportation, improvement in literacy, irrigation, Zakat, excise and taxation etc.
For dispensation of justice, a variety of courts exist, an old but abused system of policing is also in place. For ease of reader, what i am trying to conclude here is the fact that a system is in place which is not functioning properly and the change will revolve around making this dysfunctional system in to a well-oiled machine so that it acts as a facilitator for the common man.
It remains a fact that we chose our representatives and whatever good intent they might have, the bureaucracy can make or break a government. PTI selected people with good repute for key positions in KP and reaped rewards. They were given autonomy in discharging their duties and they proved themselves to be up to the task. Imran Khan in his opening address on 26th July 2018 promised that honest and well reputed people will be put in advisory and executive positions to improve governance.
The first 100 days are an important milestone in every government and they set the tone for the remaining period, not because they can accomplish anything in these 100 days, rather than the team they put together for the upcoming days and the policy guidelines they issue act as an indicator of the priorities of the Government and therefore this period is closely monitored by everyone.
The pointers received so far indicate that austerity in personal conduct of leaders and bureaucracy is the cornerstone. Government functionaries won’t have the luxuries which their predecessors enjoyed in the past. From reduction in personal staff to massive decrease in vehicles for PM, the excesses of previous governments have been ruthlessly curtailed. This is a positive step as the economy is a debt trap and Pakistan cannot afford to spend on non-development budget lavishly.
Opening two meetings of Federal Cabinet are a serious indication of Tabdeeli in the offing with all the ministers coming out and announcing decrease in spendings in their area of sphere. Perhaps the biggest change so far is visible in PTV who in the past acted as mouth piece of sitting Government. However, PTV has been allowed to have a balanced editorial policy with due representation of opposition parties.
The route to Tabdeeli in PTI led KP government which did a marvelous job during last term and won a 2/3rd majority in 2018 was also brought by the selection of an honest and competent team of politicians and bureaucrats. KP Police became a role model for other provinces and same mentor is being sought to change the much dreaded Punjab Police.
Setting aside the political preferences we as Pakistanis sincerely hope and pray that this new government brings prosperity to the millions of Pakistanis living below poverty line and help them live a respectable life.