- PTI’s incompetence compromising its patrons
That Prime Minister Imran Khan has to declare almost every month that he will never strike a deal with the former corrupt rulers shows there are forces who are for a deal. PML(N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz told media in July that her father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, had rejected the offers for a deal since the conditions were unacceptable. The offer, according to her, had not come from Mr Khan, who “is not able to keep a minister on a portfolio even for 24 hours”.
There are reasons for the establishment to be losing confidence in Mr Khan. Things got from bad to worse in the first year of the PTI rule. The second year promises to bring more unpleasant developments than the first one.
The government’s handling of the economic issues has alienated the business class, while the common man is finding it difficult to make both ends meet. There are signs of the coming year bringing more tribulations for the man in the street. The FBR being unable to achieve the current year’s revenue target of Rs5.555trillion by about Rs450bn, Nepra is proposing Rs63.4 billion in increases in the electricity tariff while the Petroleum Division is set to passing on the Rs22 billion cost of imported Regassified Liquefied Natural Gas to consumers to meet cash shortfalls of gas utilities. Thus prices of commodities of daily use will increase further, while instead of job creation, the number of the unemployed will swell.
The Indian revocation of Articles 35A and 370, and the locking down of Indian-Occupied Kashmir have given birth to another volatile issue. During his talks with President Trump and phone calls to Gulf leaders Mr Khan has shown naivety rather than statesmanship. A failure to get the annexation of Kashmir undone though diplomacy will make the PM’s ratings drop like a stone.
Mr Khan is widely seen to have been brought to power by the establishment which will have to share the responsibility for his failures. Before things go out of hand, the establishment needs to ponder how the decline in governance, the economy, and diplomacy can be stemmed, even if this requires some kind of a deal.