By Waqas Farooq
For the first time in its history, Pakistan has witnessed a smooth transition of power from one civilian government to another. The election witnessed an impressive voter-turnout, with approximately 7.5 million people showing up to vote for “Naya Pakistan” i.e. Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI).
The elections resulted in a new coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), led by this third largest political party. Like other political parties, PTI also vowed to create a model province and governance structure.
If we are to go with the common perception that the first 100 days of a government pretty much suggests its future direction, some of the recent actions and statements by the new government are quite troubling. Looking at the news reports regarding PTI and KPK government, here is what one can expect in “Naya Pakistan”:
News 1: A PTI MNA called for the release of Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the man who gunned down Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer in 2011.
In the future years of Naya Pakistan, Qadri becomes an honourable member of National Assembly after PTI MNA Mujahid Ali Khan’s voluntary resignation to vacate his seat. Thanks to this “development”, members of PPP, MQM and ANP have now started wearing bullet-proof jackets in the assembly sessions.
News 2: KPK assembly passed a resolution, proposing to bind the Daewoo Bus Service to stop mid-route for prayers. The resolution was presented by the JUI-F lawmaker Uzma Khan.
Such golden resolutions are not passed every day. Taking this as an opportunity, government is now set to adopt the same resolution for the aircrafts crossing aerospace of Naya Pakistan. Construction of emergency landing runways and mosques is underway and considerations are now being brainstormed on gunning down the aircrafts in case of refusal to land for prayers.
News 3: KPK’s Finance Minister Sirajul Haq has said that Jamaat-e-Islami would impart military training to men and women aged between 18 and 35 years as part of its strategy to promote the spirit of jihad in the nation and the armed forces.
It is Naya Pakistan. Now the training has been carried out successfully and the government is now thinking of corporatising and bringing the jihad industry into its tax net. After all, over the years, it has proven to be one of the most flourishing industry and a major contributor to foreign exchange in war-stricken Naya Pakistan. The government has further deliberated on issuing licences to the trained jihadis to acquire drones, JF 17 Thunder and F16.
News 4: Pakistan Christian Congress President Dr. Nazir S Bhatti has strongly condemned the statement of KPK Chief Minister that only sanitary workers’ jobs may be given to religious minorities in KPK province.
Naya Pakistan’s government has approached the Guinness Book of World record to enlist the country for not having a single Muslim janitorial worker. However, the refusal by the record book administrators has led the government to call it a conspiracy of CIA, Raw and Moosad etcetera.
News 5: The PTI openly came forward to justify acts of terrorism in provincial assembly when one of its ministers instead of condemning the suicide attack by militants in Peshawar tried to rationalize it.
After failed attempts to stop drone strikes, Naya Pakistan’s government has decided to legalise suicide attacks. After all, the minister for public health and engineering, Shah Farman had already explained in KPK Assembly why a suicide attack is a natural reaction.
News 6: Provincial government of KPK has decided on Wednesday to show unification with Pakistan on two religious events including Holy Ramadan and Eid [by commencing Ramadan’s fasting and celebrating Eid on same day with Pakistan].
After not so successful negotiation with Taliban and militants, Naya Pakistan’s government has struck a deal with Mufti Shahbuddin Populzai not to demonstrate his special talent of sighting the moon a day before the rest of the Muftis.
Without stretching our imaginations too far, even with the initial steps taken by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s government, it appears that either PTI failed to communicate or the voters failed to understand the true “vision” of Naya Pakistan. On a serious note, it is high time for the party to set its tone right, discipline its officials, and focus on the issues of public interest. The most significant of these would be to come up with a clear stance on terrorism and militants rather than taking the vague approach of hiding behind the façade of drone attacks.