May 13, 2019 (MLN): Honorable Prime Minister Imran Khan has almost completed nine months in office. Without a doubt, his short yet thrilling journey as a Prime Minister has seen many ups and downs (read: only downs). As a tribute to his nine months of services, we have compiled a list of things the Premier said he would never do but ended up doing anyway, either intentionally or unintentionally, or both…
1. He came, he saw, he changed his mind
“I would rather commit suicide before approaching IMF”; Remember this famous remark Imran Khan was proudly making in every public meeting and speeches? Well, looks like the tables have definitely turned around. Government’s going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is deviation from Prime Minister’s commitment of not taking loans from the world financial institutions.
Before Imran Khan was even sworn in as the Prime Minister of the state, it happened to be one of the responsibilities of the Finance Minister to represent the state in negotiations with international lenders. While he may have made it appear as if he was allergic to the idea, the Prime Minister set a new precedent by representing his state during meetings with the Fund, himself.
2. Contradicting statements on oil and gas prices
Just last year, Imran Khan was blaming the previous government for increasing prices of oil and gas and said that the lower class won’t face increased prices of goods if he comes into power. We would like to remind you that when prices were raised last year, it was because of the impact of international oil prices. However, as per statements of the former advisor to former PM, the government was stuck to its decision that it would not pass on the full impact to the people.
Funnily enough, the current government has also raised petrol prices to Rs. 109 per liter, which is the highest in last couple of years, for industry and domestic consumers. While we are all in for understanding macroeconomics and the current economic standing of this country, we still believe that one should think twice before saying anything, especially on twitter.
3. “We will run Pakistan like it has never been run before…”
The entire nation went gaga when Imran Khan made this statement during his first address to the nation after he was sworn in as the Prime Minister, and we can’t help but agree with it. No doubt, we are standing at a position where we have seldom stood before. The stock markets are trading at a 3-year low (down by 18.18%), headline inflation has gone up from 5.83% to 8.82%, PKR has depreciated by 14.08%, policy rate has reached 10.75%. Moreover, the provisional growth of GDP for the year 2018-19 has been estimated at 3.3 percent, which clearly indicates that economy is growing at snail’s pace.
Everything he criticized the previous government for, he has done much worse than that. By retracting from and altering his original statements, he has clearly earned the reputation of taking U-turns.
4. Humming and hawing over state decisions
On multiple occasions, Imran Khan was witnessed saying that he was bringing in the best team to take charge of the Government. He particularly, proudly marketed Asad Umar as an economic guru who was going to change the face of the economy with his strong finance expertise and skills. However, just last month we bid an emotional farewell to Asad Umar, who was ultimately left with no choice but to resign after the PM decided to carry out a cabinet reshuffling. That being sad, we are not too sure if Imran Khan is the best person when it comes to trusting close allies.
However, just recently government announced that Imran Khan is bringing Asad Umar back in the cabinet as the head of Finance Committee of National Assembly. A person supposedly ousted from the cabinet because of his poor performance and destruction of economy is back in the game and we can’t help but question the authenticity of Imran Khan’s decisions.
5. Politics makes strange bedfellows
We are constantly witnessing changes in the composition of cabinet and replacements in key governance positions for God knows what reason. But here’s a fun fact about the altered cabinet. The newly appointed Advisor on Finance is a former PPP Finance Minister, whereas the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Media is a former PPP Information Minister. Apparently forgiven for his earlier abuse of power, Azam Swati is also back on board. Given these changes, we wonder if Prime Minister needs schooling on what “tabdeeli” really means.
As it’s so often said, mostly by members of PTI, some of whom are ministers and others who want to be ministers, Imran Khan is the only hope for the country and will no doubt build a new Pakistan. However, one would hope the new Pakistan they intend to build is more commensurate with the PTI’s vision and not with its performance.
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