report-card

The Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, evaluates the performance of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz’s over the past four years and rates their achievements, or lack thereof, in 12 critical areas. His sharp observations are a cause for concern.

Narratives’ Grading Policy!

A– Excellent   B– Average   F– Miserable/Fail

Political stability
“If we assess the past four years of this government in terms of political stability, we see complete chaos. The government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has largely been unable to bring stability in the country. The year 2014 was the worst for stability, when a serious threat to democracy emerged during the three month long sit-in outside Parliament led by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. The PM sought our cooperation in the political crisis and we agreed for the sake of democracy. Ultimately the sit-in ended without achieving anything. But right after this, Sharif and his team became arrogant and cut off ties with the opposition. But after the Panama Papers case verdict, the PPP has decided to completely block proceedings in the both houses of parliament and will not allow government business to be conducted at all. Now the Prime Minister has no moral authority to stay in power. He should immediately resign.”
Governance
“The PML-N government has totally failed in introducing good governance in the country. There has been a complete breakdown in State-run institutions over the past four years because of the disinterest from the concerned ministers. These ministers do not appear even in Parliamentary sessions to answer questions from the legislators. Institutions like Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Steel and many others are running with a huge financial deficit because the government has been unable to show improvement in various departments. Over 50 departments are without proper professional heads and the rest are being run on an ad hoc basis. The PPP government managed over three million internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Swat, who were repatriated to their homes, after the military operation, with a substantial cash assistance package. But this government has been unable to repatriate the IDPs from North Waziristan and they still remain in camps in Bannu.”
Foreign relations
“There has been no foreign minister in the government for four years now, which has resulted in a complete breakdown of the institution and our relationships with other countries are suffering. Relations with our immediate neighbours such as India, Afghanistan and Iran are at their worst. Kashmir has been ignored and virtually dismissed from the official agenda of the Foreign Office. Moreover, the government has not been able to protect its interests at world forums. Ties with the Islamic world, the United States of America and the West remain in trouble. The reason being that there is no foreign policy to be followed on a day-to-day basis. Whenever Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif undertakes overseas visits, personal business is promoted instead of State interests. The nation should be told what was so special about the visit of Indian business tycoon Sajjan Jindal, who came to Pakistan on a short trip and met Nawaz Sharif in Murree.”
Rule of Law
“Under the PML-N, the state of law and order in Pakistan is a complete disaster. Despite their tall claims, terrorism incidents remained on the rise in the first quarter of 2017. The reason for the rise in terrorism-related incidents is that banned outfits have re-emerged with new names and are freely roaming across the country. Their leaders are holding meetings with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in Islamabad. Punjab has become a virtual operating hub for these organisations. Street crimes in Punjab, especially Lahore, have risen to an alarming level. PML-N leaders do not respect the law either. The PML-N ‘regime’ use laws only to victimise political opponents and free criminals who loot the country.”
Taxation
“ The government hasn’t been able to improve much on the taxation front. They have been talking about tax reforms for a long time, but instead of instituting any reforms they remained involved in corruption. Under PML-N rule, taxes after taxes have been imposed on an already tax-burdened nation. They have also failed to broaden the tax-collection net. Moreover, fifteen billion dollars have been taken out of Pakistan in recent years. Where is the Federal Bureau of Revenue? In fact, rulers are taking money out of Pakistan themselves and not paying taxes. Why should we then expect people to pay taxes? As a result, people have lost faith in the taxation system, thinking their tax money is being used to finance the luxurious lifestyle of those in power.”
Provision of justice
“ Provision of justice to the common man is the prime responsibility of every government. But nowadays we see people running from pillar to post in search of justice, which they don’t get. Our higher judiciary is packed with political and constitutional cases. In many other cases of different nature, where a suo moto notice was taken by the Supreme Court against government departments or over their decisions, the court’s orders were rarely implemented. It is time for the government to work on judicial reforms for the provision of speedy and free justice to common man. Also, the judiciary at the lower level has to be de-politicised, so that it could carry out its work independently.”
Fighting extremism and terrorism
“Terrorism and extremism is like a cancer for Pakistan. In the fight against terrorism and extremism, our security forces have played a valiant role at a time when the PML-N-led government has an indifferent attitude towards it. The National Action Plan (NAP) was devised in the aftermath of the tragic terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014, but we are yet to see it implemented in letter and spirit. The Pakistan Army has time and again reminded the government of its role in ensuring the implementation of the NAP, because a military operation is not a lasting solution. Winning hearts and minds of the people is also a very important aspect. No such initiative has been taken by the present rulers. If there is no peace and security in Pakistan, there cannot be any development and investment either.”
Improving the Economy
“The economy is the back bone of any country and, if managed properly, a country could become a role model for the rest of the world. A bitter fact about Pakistan’s economy is that we are in debt to the tune of Rs. 2,000 billion, and whatever the revenue generated is utilised in repayment of loans. Our exports have gone down, inflation is at its peak, there is an unprecedented hike in prices and the circular debt remains in place. The economic managers of the government have failed to manage the economy and are busy in laundering money and shifting their wealth to off-shore accounts and companies. During our government, we managed the country’s economy well, despite all the hardships, such as the massive floods in 2010 and 2011.”
Tackling corruption
“Corruption has been eroding the foundation of Pakistan’s institutions for decades. The Panama Papers Leaks epitomise all this corruption. The PML-N government has looted the country during the past four years and has acquired trillions of rupees in kickbacks in the name of mega development projects. Some of the biggest examples are the metro bus projects in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan, and Orange Line Metro Train project in Lahore. When the opposition wanted to check this trend by introducing an anti-corruption bill, it was blocked by the government. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) started by the PPP government had significant success in recovering billion of rupees from various government departments.”
Legislative achievements
“ The PML-N has shown a very poor performance on this front. When the PPP was in power, it tabled and passed 139 bills, whereas the present government has introduced very few. These days, National Assembly and Senate sittings have to be adjourned because of the lack of a quorum. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other lawmakers do not attend sessions of the NA and Senate, which is why Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani was annoyed recently and, in protest, stopped performing his duties. The government does not provide adequate information during the NA’s question hour. Various parliamentary notices are deferred due to the absence of the ministers or due to lack of information. If their performance in the Parliament is so poor, one can assess what those ministers must be doing in the ministries.”
Reforms in social sector; health and education
“Health and educational institutions should be the top priority of every government but under the PML-N regime, they have suffered massively. The government has proffered only lip-service in providing health care to the poor and has been unable to introduce a comprehensive health policy. More than 200 people died three years ago when counterfeit drugs were given to cardiac patients in Lahore. Who is responsible for the murder of these people? The prices of medicines have increased. The PML-N government made a drug regulatory authority which has been hijacked by the drug mafia in Pakistan. Public sector hospitals are in a terrible condition. Hospitals and health machinery haven’t been upgraded over the years. As far as the education sector is concerned, the government’s famed Danish School system has almost disappeared.”
Overall performance
“The PML-N has failed in all areas of governance be it education, health, water, governance, social welfare, Parliament, security or the economy. Load shedding is increasing every day due to the mismanagement by the Ministry of Water and Power. Accidents on railway tracks have increased. Exports have fallen while imports have risen. People have lost faith in the government. Furthermore, there has been an unprecedented price hike in the history of the country.”