Evaluating the performance of the government

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Looking back at 3 years of PML-N

The PML – N government has completed three years of its rule, which are long enough a period to evaluate its performance. The best touchstone for judging how it has fared in changing the profile of the country is to look at the outcome of its efforts in dealing with the challenges that it inherited and the difficult situations that might have arisen along the way. That would surely warrant enumerating the perils and challenges that confronted the country when as a result of the 2013 general election, the PML (N) government won the franchise of the people to rule the roost to fix those problems.

When the PML (N) government assumed power—hardly anyone would tend to disagree— the country was engulfed in an ambience of gloom and despondency. The snowballing terrorism and religious extremism posed existentialist threat to the country; the economy was in complete shambles marred by a debilitating energy crisis; Karachi, the industrial capital of Pakistan and a jugular vein of the economy was ruled by terrorists, target killers and the land mafia and Balochistan was seething with insurgency and sectarian killings. Ostensibly they were egregious and intractable challenges that needed political will and vision to take them on to turn the gloom and despondency engulfing the country into a vibrant hope.

Honestly speaking, the government notwithstanding the constraints and the presence of debilitating factors, showed remarkable commitment and courage to take on those challenges. It accorded top priority to dealing with the phenomenon of terrorism and religious extremism and with the consent and approval of all the political forces, initiated a process of dialogue with the TTP to resolve the conundrum. But when it became evident in the wake of the continued acts of terrorism by the TTP and its affiliates like the attack on Karachi airport, it did not hesitate to launch Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan in consultation with the military establishment and subsequently also put in place the National Action Plan to deal with the situation in the backdrop of an attack on APS, Peshawar. While our valiant armed forces executed the operation, the federal government and the political parties extended national ownership to it and the support that it required. The state institutions like parliament and judiciary also paved the way for the establishment of military courts through 21st amendment and its endorsement respectively that formed the most crucial element of NAP among other variables.

Within two years from its commencement, Operation Zarb-e-Azb has achieved its objective of clearing North Waziristan of the terrorists and their infrastructure. That could not have been possible without the unflinching commitment and the sacrifices rendered by our valiant soldiers and their role in reconstructing the destroyed infrastructure and rehabilitating the TDPs. During the operation 3,500 terrorists were killed and 992 of their hideouts were destroyed. In achieving this, 490 troops lost their lives while 2108 were injured. The nation owes unqualified gratitude and appreciation to our armed forces for what they have done to winch the country out of an extremely diabolical situation.  The rehabilitation of the TDPs is in progress and to help them to restart their lives, mosques, schools and roads are being built with the full support and active participation of the troops. The Army has constructed 700Kms of road in North Waziristan. To make sure that the terrorist do not stage a comeback to the area, new wings of FC and para-military forces are being raised to man the check posts along the Pak-Afghan border to regulate the movement of people through a process of verification of their antecedents.

Alongside operation in North Waziristan the army also undertook 19347 intelligence based operation in other part of the country to pre-empt the backlash and to eliminate the sleeping cells and supporters of the terrorists in which 213 terrorists were killed. These operations have helped a great deal in curtailing the incidents of terrorism and contributed immensely to the improvement of law and order in the country.

Situation in Karachi has vastly improved. As a result of the targeted operation 1203 terrorists belonging to Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, TTP and Tehrik-e-Swat have been arrested, including 636 target killers belonging to proscribed organisation and political parties, though the remnants of the terrorists are still carrying out sporadic terrorist attacks and target killings, as a retaliatory action. The insurgency in Balochistan has been checked in its tracks.

The economy is on the upward curve signifying the commencement of an era of sustained economic growth. The macro-economic and structural reforms have produced encouraging results. The veracity and authenticity of these claims has been endorsed by the international institutions like MF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the global ranking agencies like Moody’s as well as the international media. Transparency International in its three successive reports has indicated a nosedive in corruption in Pakistan.

The latest endorsement of a turnaround in the economy came from MSCI, which has upgraded Pakistan’s status from frontier to emerging market. MSCI is a leading provider of international investment decision support tools. According to EFG Hermes, an Egypt-based investment bank, this reclassification would attract $475 million foreign investment by the middle of 2017. Pakistan was part of MSCI EM index between 1994 and 2008. However the temporary closure of Pakistan Stock Exchange in 2008 led MSCI to remove it from the index and classify it as a ‘stand alone country index’ and made Pakistan a part of the frontier Markets index in 2009 and it has remained as such since then.

In regards to energy crisis, the situation has improved gradually. Nearly 3000 MW electricity has been added to the system. A number of power projects have been initiated including under CPEC with a cumulative production capacity of 10,640 MW which are likely to come on stream by the end of 2018. The import of LNG from Qatar has already started creating a positive impact on the energy situation in the country.

The foregoing verifiable facts prove it beyond an iota of doubt that the PML (N) government, has been successful to a great extent in tackling the formidable challenges that it inherited. What was remarkable about the achievements so far is that they were accomplished in spite of diversion of enormous resources towards implementation of Zarb-e-Azb, devastating impact of floods on the economy, heavy payment of debts inherited by the government and economic losses incurred during the PTI and PAT sit-ins at Islamabad.  Gloom and despondency have surely been transformed into an abiding hope.