By Abdul Rahman Malik
The National Accountability has touched the new heights after two Ex-Prime ministers and a Former President have been nabbed by National Accountability Bureau that has given birth to severe political crisis and prompted the Scattered opposition to be united on a single platform to initiate anti-government protest to oust the incumbent government of PTI and demand fresh Elections.
The pandemonium in Upper and Lower houses have become messy since the exchange of harsh words is witnessed during the Session. Since the joint opposition intends to bring Hasil Bizengo as Senate chairman replacing PTI supported Aslam Sanjrani, the government has been under heavy pressure due to such move and it is also being heavily criticized due to the appointment of outsider FBR and SBP heads as per IMF choice.
Furthermore, the slipping of rupee against dollar has given rise to massive inflation and the price hike, making the life of common man miserable.
Pakistan has been confronted with various socio-economic and Politico crises, the latest in the row is the political turmoil after the heads of two mainstream political parties I.e PML-N and PPP were arrested by NAB in various corrupt practices during their government, assets beyond income and incurring the loss of millions to the public exchequer.
The arrests of Former PM Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari have triggered widespread protests through the country and massive traffic jams since the violent party workers of both PML -N and PPP chanted anti-Govt and Anti Nab slogans and heavily criticized the PM Khan of masterminding NAB references and cases against the Sharifs and Zardari to carryout revenge from the both Party leaders.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said on multiple occasions that the looters will not be spared and the looted wealth will be retrieved from them. He also clarified that tax evaders will not be spared since the country’s economy depends upon the tax revenue.
PTI’s Naya Pakistan has so far been revolving around the arrests of bigwigs since nothing has been recovered as yet. There is no logical end for the NAB cases against the opposition leaders.
The count of arrests is still short as according to nab, there is a long list of most wanted top political leaders and top bureaucrats in civil bureaucracy and police.
According to sources, the arrest warrants of two prominent political leaders I.e former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former Advisor Finance in PML N Government Miftah Ismail were issued and they were arrested on the same day.
Those who are likely to be arrested by NAB include CM Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, Former leader of Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, MPA Nasir Shah, MPA Jam Khan Shoro, MPA Abdul Rauf Khoso, Ex MPA and Zila Nazim Sardar Saleem Jan Mazari.
The disclosure regarding the possible arrests has jolted the PPP Sindh since after such huge arrests; the Sindh Government is likely to collapse as MPA Faryal Talpur, Sharjeel Memon and Agha Siraj Durrani are already arrested by NAB in various corruption charges and assets beyond income case.
Besides this, Four PPP ministers in Sindh cabinet resigned to secure the NA 205 seat that had fallen vacant after the death of Federal Minister Ali Mohammad Khan Mahar. The by-election was held on 23rd July 2019 and it was a tough contest between the late Ali Mohammad Mahar’s son young Ahmed Ali Mahar (Independent) and his maternal Uncle Mohammad Bux Mahar PPP candidate. After a tough contest, PPP candidate returned as Victorious for NA 205 seat.
Bilawal Zardari considered the by-election as big win against the State-backed independent candidate and announced to Mark July 25 as Black Day since the mandate was stolen on this day a year before.
On the other hand, PTI has already started the move to bring in-house change if possible, since the leadership of PPP in Sindh seems to be in disarray because most of MPAs and Ministers including Current CM Sindh are facing NAB cases. The mass arrests by NAB have created a political vacuum in Sindh and the change is imminent.
It is also reported by some analysts that the forward block may be formed of 25 to 30 disgruntled MPAs of PPP to Form a coalition Govt with Ruling PTI.
If PTI succeeds in bringing in-house change, it will enable it to implement its policies in Sindh and will strengthen the Federation and help in the legislative process both at the provincial and federal level. But it still looks an uphill task since PPP has roots in rural and urban Sindh for so long.
The PPP has played havoc with Governance and development funds meant for uplift of the province. PTI will address the issue of deprivation and will chalk out a comprehensive plan to implement relief and welfare projects for Sindh so that real development could be brought by transforming the lives of people of Sindh.
The Sindh Govt will also enable PTI Government to introduce New Local Government system to improve Governance at grassroots level since it is called basic democracy since the old colonial-era Commissionerate system has failed to deliver and have several shortcomings to cater to the needs of Governance and its improvement.
The leadership of PML-N is also in disarray since both brothers Nawaz and Shahbaz Shareef are facing Accountability cases as the former is already sentenced for 10 years while the later is facing corruption cases in NAB courts.
JUI chief Moulana Fazal Rahman is considered to be a big threat for PTI Government since he has been a strong critique of PTI even before PTI’s coming to power and have been leading the opposition from the front. He even threatened to hold million march to Islamabad if PTI Government was not dissolved itself. He also refused to support Senate Chairman Aslam sanjrani after the Government delegation failed to pursue him.
The PTI has lost on economic fronts since it took the loan from IMF on tougher conditions that have crippled the already fragile economy of Pakistan. The Price hike has invited the opposition to be united to launch protest drive against Government since the PTI’s inefficiency has given rise to US Dollar to historical high at 151 due to mismanagement of currency Exchange.
The PTI’s Naya Pakistan slogan for housing is also criticized since it has so far failed to fulfill its promise to provide low-cost housing to low-income employees and people. Though it has been launched but have not initiated its operations in full swing.
The Over taxation has also become counterproductive that has prompted the traders to shut down their businesses and start their Protests against the Government for withdrawal of Over taxation where a person has to give CNIC on purchase of 50000 value goods. Such practice is not found anywhere in the world.
The over-taxation has frightened the people that have affected the productivity of the businessmen and left an adverse impact on Auto Industry where the main auto industry firms have announced to halt their production owing to high customs duties, taxes and low sales of units.
The real estate industry has been destroyed horribly since there has not been any sale and purchase for the last two months due to the regulation of Real Estate business and heavy property taxes.
There is a sense of fear and uncertainty between the business community and producers that what will happen in next year if such an illogical tax framework continues to haunt local investors and discourage foreign direct investment.
The PTI’s Naya Pakistan was also short on Governance and legislations since no major legislation has been done in National Assembly for almost one year, only presidential ordinances are issued. The lack of numbers is halting PTI to get the bills passed owing to strong opposition.
After detailed analysis, it could be said that the Foreign Office under the Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has done a tremendous job to the extent that US President Donald Trump wrote the Letter to PM Imran for seeking help to bring the Taliban on negotiating Table.
Pakistan has done the crucial task. The Recent visits of Afghan President Asharaf Ghani, Saudi Crown Prince and other Leaders to Pakistan affirms that Pakistan has redesigned and realigned its foreign policy as envisaged by PM Imran during his victory speech. The Recent successful visit of PM Imran to the US was a success as President Donald Trump gave a warm welcome to PM Imran Khan and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
President Donald Trump assured Pakistan to be the mediator to resolve the Kashmir issue since a similar request was made by Indian PM Modi during his visit to the US. The Donald Trump’s Statement about PM Modi spread like wildfire in India as opposition heavily criticized Modi’s such request.
Finally, the Media is a strong pillar of the state but unfortunately, it is on the verge of destruction owing to heavy media censorship and keeping the dues of an advertisement on hold. The Media houses are compelled to lay off their employees and even some media houses have shut down due to the financial crisis as they were unable to pay the salaries to their employees for almost six months.
In such a dreadful situation, PTI’s Naya Pakistan has become a nightmare for public and people have started changing their loyalties and their sympathies are extending towards the jailed leadership of PPP and PML-N.
They happened due to PTI’s unprepared and amateur leadership that has ruined the economy of Pakistan in just one year and it will further aggravate if sensible and concrete steps were not taken to address the issues of Inflation, Dollar rise and devaluation of Rupee against the dollar.
Moreover, the taxation policy may be revisited since it is heavy over the common people since the items of daily use have gone beyond their reach. The purchasing power of the common person has declined manifold that makes the socio-economic conditions alarming.
The dismal and bleak picture of PTI’s Naya Pakistan heralds that PTI has lost on all other fronts except Internal Policy and External policy since the law order situation is fair but it is going to be horrible if immediate steps were not taken to control and maintain it.
The First Year has disappointed the public and people have started raising their voice against heavy taxes, dearness and lack of good governance model that may root PTI on the right spot as the inefficiency, immatureness and incompetency to manage affairs of the country has become a nightmare.
The writer is a freelance columnist having interests in Policy Research, Governance, Education and Development.