It was very interesting to watch the return of the discarded. Taking back lost space has not only come back but with a bang repudiating the entire exercise witnessed in Pakistan over the last half a decade. It must have been quite a decision to take for the arbitrary decision makers who had remained steadfast in supporting the former regime. Though the reversal of policy on part of such decision makers is not the first of its kind as they are widely known for changing tack over the last many decades but this time round their involvement was heavy as the former government was acknowledged as the hybrid regime. From this angle this reversal indicates a clear failure that is considered pretty bad than simple reversal.
It is now part of history that a presentable celebrity was co-opted and groomed for taking over the national political leadership. This process spanned many years and all possible efforts were put into it with money never becoming an issue. A host of rich individuals were advised to join the famous celebrity and almost all of them had connections with the powerful grid. The individual so groomed was propagated as the honest individual amongst a sea of so-called corrupt politicians who was in the right mould of a messiah. The efforts slowly picked up and then gained ground reaching the high point of getting him declare as Sadiq and Amin putting him on a pedestal that was never seen before.
Then it was a matter of time before the favourite was kicked up to dizzy heights and this activity witnessed all his contemporaries declared corrupt and incapable of holding public office. The problem however was that it was completely and willingly ignored that the condemned may have the wherewithal to fight back and recover the lost space. It was also conveniently ignored that their handpicked superman was completely devoid of any other skill than badmouthing everyone opposing him. In the plan of action this superman was taken as a robot who would fulfill the orders given by his programmers and that his personal traits were not strong enough to challenge them. The chosen-one in power badly handled the economy and responding to growing criticism he took the route of maligning everyone in the political, social, external and security realms.
The first problem that emerged was the lack of competence the arbitrators selected for governance as they are usually the product of their stymied vision. They failed to realise that the poor quality of PTI’s cabinet was enough to ensure failure of governance. They tried to remain aloof from the fact that the old guard was widely considered competent on many fields such as finance, foreign affairs, planning, energy, water, information, climate and law and had placed experienced individuals on important governance positions who kept on delivering what was planned. The problem that soon emerged from the naya Pakistan governance team was sheer incompetence and almost total ignorance of national management. The difficulties multiplied when the governance circle started infighting and, worse, venting out their differences in the public arena.
It should be kept in view that good governance encompasses legislation, policy, institutional reform, projects and service delivery. The old guard had gained experience of all these sectors and devised and followed policies that were always relevant. During their respective tenures they developed a meaningful policy and reform agenda that integrated economic and social concerns to put the country on a sustainable and equitable progress path. Obviously the results of such efforts require consistent and long-term efforts but the arbitrary forces always succeeded in breaking the momentum as is borne out by the fact that no PM was allowed to complete the allocated five-year term.
The only advantage available to the new political dispensation is that it does not require crutches at any level to forge ahead. This tendency has already started to emerge as the new PM secured larger financial assistance from both the IMF and Saudi Arabia. China has also shown the inclination to begin from where it has withdrawn its assistance and the UAE and Qatar may also chip in with required financial assistance. The Biden administration has also announced an amount of $205 million and such financial assistance will slowly increase as for the moment any open support extended by the US government will be negatively exploited by the former rulers and their crucial supporters. It is on the basis of such assurances that the government has not increased the fuel prices and interestingly IMF has not objected it.
The old guard will try to normalise matters as quickly as possible and it is getting clear that are not advertising the quiet work they are engaged into. They will face difficulties in the process but it is heartening to note that no politician of worth has asked the so-called umpire to intervene and sort out matters. It is expected that the new political masters will put back on rails the affairs of the country. One should also realise that the restoration of the old order is synonymous with the restoration of political legitimacy. TW