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Random thoughts

April 29, 2019

Change has come

Opinion

April 29, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan recently sent some of his ministers packing. The fact was that it was not a winning team. The economy and the law and order situation are in a mess, inflation is at a peak and people are under a crushing load of very high prices for edibles, etc.

Mr Prime Minister: We don’t doubt your good intentions, but either someone is giving you wrong advice or you are taking decisions without considering all the consequences. Take the razing of illegal structures. Sure, something needs to be done about them but this sudden action has affected the jobs and bread-earning capacity of many poor people, leading to a distressful situation for them. It is depressing to see the destruction when one drives to the new Islamabad airport. Parts of it look like a bombed city in World War II. Would it not have been better to find a way of regularizing the structures and bringing the owners into the tax net? Thousands of people had found employment there and in the razed buildings in Karachi. Now many of them will be unable to find other jobs and will literally be starving.

Mr Prime Minister: Instead of attending to the important business of governing, many around you spend a lot of their time sitting in front of cameras and slinging mud at previous governments, the opposition, people they don’t like for whatever reasons etc. Previous governments undoubtedly did not do a good job but the people voted them out. If this trend continues, the fate of the current government will be no different to that of the previous ones. Why is there nobody who can think positively, explain what the government is trying to achieve and the steps they are taking to do so and what they have actually done?

Mr Prime Minister: You have grossly insulted the intelligence of the scientists and engineers of this country by appointing a person as minister of science and technology whose knowledge of science, it may be said, consists of putting a few grains of sugar in 7up to create bubbles. Even ordinary people are aghast at your choice. I heard somebody quip that if the master finds Japan and Germany to be neighbours, there is no harm in having such a minister of science and technology.

Mr Prime Minister: You and the Punjab government let go of one of Punjab’s (and the country’s) most talented people, Prof Dr Umar Saif, former vice chancellor of the IT University and chairman, Punjab Board of Information Technology. Why? It is said that nations that do not respect their intelligentsia are doomed to fail. No wonder we are faring so badly.

Mr Prime Minister: Hundreds of PhDs come out every year from world-class international universities, but that does not guarantee that they will perform well. Studying and passing exams is different to the actual application of that knowledge to real-life situations. It is this application which is the key to a successful career.

Mr Prime Minister: Your Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor is advising you to introduce the presidential form of government. Ayub Khan, Gen Zia and Gen Musharraf all left the country in a mess though they had presidential powers. Ayub Khan’s success in the initial years was due to his being a good person and the investment and hard work of industrialists. Gen Zia saw the beginning of the struggle in Afghanistan and saved our nuclear programme from American intervention. Musharraf compromised the sovereignty of the country. The Nawaz government allowed him to leave the country and blamed the court for it. Hypocrisy at its worst.

Mr Prime Minister: No matter how good your government, you will not be here for decades. It will be hard enough to complete one term, never mind talking about re-election. When the next PM comes, where is he supposed to live? The Prime Minister’s House is state property meant to be used as residence of the elected PM. Meetings, receptions and dinners for dignitaries are held there as well as the PM’s office being there to receive people and discuss state affairs. You plan to turn it into an area for students and that too in the red zone. One can’t help wondering what students will do to the building. If you are so keen to set up an educational institute, talk to the VC and syndicate of QAU and set up the institute of your dreams there. It will be a very difficult task. It is easier to destroy an institution than to build one.

Mr Prime Minister: What is happening to the justice system? Many cases are kept pending for years. Take my case. Some of my fundamental rights have been taken away. I am the victim of a dictator’s actions and have been for the last 16 years.

Mr Prime Minister: A wise man once said: “Think before you say something and think again when to say something”.

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