Imran Khan and a Myriad of Challenges

Imran Khan and a Myriad of Challenges

After struggling for more than two decades, chief of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf, Imran Khan, managed to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. After years of two leading parties, Pakistan Muslim League N (PMLN) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), taking office for years, he seemed like a new face, a glimmer of hope. Imran Khan did form a coalition with smaller parties, which ultimately helped him to achieve his lifelong dream- after retiring from cricket. 

When Imran Khan inherited Pakistan, the nation was on the verge of economic breakdown and was facing a severe financial crisis. Despite that, he promised the nation to make a “New Pakistan,” in which he vowed to better these economic crises and give everyone better opportunities, especially the youth of our country. 

The 65 years old, handsome, and charismatic former-cricket-star, who was the team’s captain in 1992 World Cup, when Pakistan stood victorious, has left his non-serious playboy vibes and image in the distant past, and now presents himself as a more pious and religious Muslim Leader. 

He depicts himself as an anti-poverty reformer. He ran and gained popularity on the platform of anti-corruption and has vowed to better the lives of the lower-class of the country through establishing an “Islamic welfare state.” 

One might think if he was aware of the situation of his nation before he made all those promises, that did seem a little far-fetched, but his natural charm with words often make all his words believable. Even the ones who did not show their support to him seemed smothered and enchanted when he addressed the nation for the first time. We must look at all these challenges, his promise to tackle those challenges, and how far has he been successful in doing so. 

Economic Challenges

Centering populist, and anti-corruption rhetoric, PTI’s election campaign pledged to transform Pakistan into “New Pakistan.” Pakistanis were promised a “Change” (Tabdeeli). But to do so, the biggest challenge that Prime Minister Khan faced were somehow to save the economy amidst a balance of payment crisis. 

Visits were made to the lifelong allies of Pakistan, by Imran Khan, in the first eight months of taking office. He visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar, China, and the United Arab Emirates, and managed to secure $9bn (£7.3bn) in the form of loans, to save the economy. But the crisis regarding the economy was more than what Mr. Khan has presumed, the rupee continued to plummet, and inflation rose above 10 percent, for the first time since 2013 the inflation had hit double-digits. 

As the economic conditions continued to rise rapidly, and Imran Khan could see no possible alternative, he took a U-turn on his promises and campaigns that he would prefer to die instead of seeking help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

In July of 2019, a loan $6bn package was ultimately given by IMF, lent to Pakistan. Since the 1980s, this was the country’s thirteenth bailout. 

The biggest reason for PTI’s failure in economic performance was its poor policy plannings. The tax revenue targets set by the government are quite ambitious, but at the exact moment, they failed to meet those set targets; the whole game is going to get collapsed. 

As per the analysis of BBC Urdu, as till yet, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government had only managed to achieve three pledges out of the long list of 34 promises that were made when he took office. A key achievement of the government included the e-visa regime set by Fawad Chaudhry 

Diplomatics 

Among many sweet-to-hear-things, in his first speech, PM Imran Khan also offered the nation’s lifelong rival-India- a hand of friendship, and said that Pakistan would take two steps in the direction of India, even if India took a single step. And to prove how sincere he was when he made this offer, he quickly gave orders for developments and opening of the Kartarpur Corridor for the first time. It aimed to let the world see a rare sight of cooperation between the two countries. Kartarpur allows Sikh pilgrims from India to pay visits to their holy sites that were taken away from them after the separation. 

These words of conciliation did not have any significant effect. They were short-lasting because, in February of 2019, the two countries came on the verge of war when airstrikes were launched by India in Pakistan. They allegedly called a “training camps for militants” who had carried out attacks in Kashmir. 

In late 2019, after the stunts pulled by India, the Pakistani leader has seen meeting and showing great zeel towards the Russian President Puttin in their Kyrgyzstan session. He also met President Donald Trump in the White House, where he was applauded by President Trump for being a great and famous athlete. In Washington, he also attended the leaders of Congress and gave multiple interviews to media in the US, and as usual, said all the things that seem very sweet to the ear. 

But the question arose that what exact benefits have flowed following these meetings? What exactly were the substantial gains from these meetings? As till yet, we do not really have any clear answer.

The Un-called Corona Virus 

Most of PTI’s previous actions and failures were forgivable, but then came the uncalled, un-announced challenge of the Corona Virus. With it was seen the extreme incompetence of the government. Initially, the PM Khan directly discouraged people from getting tested on minor flu, but when the situation aggravated, he encouraged the nation to take strict precautions. However, the government had allowed all the prayers to be held in the congregation, and during Eid Holidays, almost every market was opened. As a result of that, the situation has gotten terrible, and as of today, most of the hospitals in Islamabad have run out of ventilators. At this moment, the question of us getting infected has been transformed from ‘if’ to ‘when.’ 

Conclusion

This leader was once a very popular man of Pakistan and was seen as the ‘Messiah’ who people used to see as someone who could solve all these problems of Pakistan and take the nation out from the dark where it was kept for a very long time. But now that glimmer of hope is getting extinguished almost everywhere, and it is vividly visible that other than being extremely good with words, this government, like many others, is also incompetent.

About Mukarma Jawad

Founder and Operational Director at Taleem-ED. Writer, and Education & Youth Activist, based in Pakistan.

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