This government is no different from previous dismal governments. In fact, it's a continuation of past failures and there is nothing to appreciate at all.
The Sharif government has failed to make Pakistan a social welfare state in negation of its own manifesto on which it came to power. The status quo is being maintained with no visible improvement in social, economic and other fields. It’s just a government for the sake of government, nothing more.
The government seems to spend most its time reiterating the rights of the rulers as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan, but is oblivious to the rights of the masses, guaranteed by that same Constitution. Clearly, the government has failed on this front.
The PML-N has failed to demonstrate effective governance. The foundation of good governance is that it begins at home and laws apply equally to the rulers and the people. The rulers, despite promises, have failed to present themselves for accountability in the wake of the Panama Papers leaks. It has been more than six months but no headway has been made towards something concrete. They are just killing time.
If there had been good governance, it would have been visible. But it’s nowhere in sight, despite baseless claims.
Foreign policy has been a complete failure. The Muslim world and China was the top priority of Pakistan’s foreign policy. But today Muslim countries are establishing cordial ties with India, and the recent Saudi initiative of embracing Indians with an open heart, speaks of a failed foreign policy. Afghanistan, whose burden we have been carrying for more than four decades, has now turned hostile. All these foreign policy debacles indicate we don't have a foreign policy at all, successful or otherwise. Ties with the US are also limited to needs, so when the Americans don't need us, they flash a red light. China has also started exploring new avenues, so it's going to be a huge challenge to reshape our foreign policy which is at its lowest ebb.
Rule of Law
The rule of law is must for a country’s development, but there is none in Pakistan especially under Nawaz Sharif. The sermons of rule of law are only for the poor while the rich are above all laws. In fact, breaking the law here is a sign of pride and power, and the rulers flout the law with impunity. If they have a flag on their car, they don't stop at red lights, or bother to stay in their lane. They have smooth sailing everywhere and have unimpeded access to enter even high security zones completely unchecked. There is no concept of merit, laws are routinely violated and they behave as though they are royalty.
According to a World Bank report, there are five million potential taxpayers in Pakistan, but only an estimated 800,000 people actually pay tax. Despite wild claims, the government has been unable to expand the tax net.
The second prerequisite for tax payment is trust in the government and the institutions, which is non-existent. That’s why the masses are not willing to pay taxes as they have been witnessing tax evasions by the rulers. Sharif’s off-shore companies are a glaring example.
The Sharif government has even failed to complete documentation for tax reforms. If the government is unwilling to even go for the census, which is a constitutional requirement, how can it conduct tax reforms and formulate policies in the absence of reliable data regarding the population of the country?
Provision of Justice
The State is responsible for the provision of justice and to plead the case for innocents. But in a country like Pakistan where the door for justice opens with a golden key, how can justice be dispensed? There has been no change under the Sharif government. The individual with power and money can get justice but on the ground, the courts have failed to provide justice to the people. The masses launched a drive to restore former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in hopes of getting an equitable system of justice but they failed to achieve their goal.
The Sharif government has no fiscal management skills. The present government has surpassed all previous ones, in getting record loans from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which is an indicator of a poor economy and set new records of overburdening the nation. There is no micro-financing mechanism and money is flowing only towards the rich. The government’s economic policies have ruined the country, as only the feudal and the rich are calling the shots. The government has failed in provision of basic amenities to the rural population, which in turn is heading towards urban centers. This has devastated the economy but there is no visible effective government plan to address such issues.
Fighting Extremism and Terrorism
Everyone, from a minor school-going child to an elderly Pakistani, wants peace, so they can live in comfort. But there is still a lack of normalcy and target killing continues unabated. We have seen Quetta bleed, we lost the cream of our society in the Mardan attack, the Charsadda attack and many others. So complete peace has yet to be restored and more has to be done.
I would not endorse the success so far claimed in fighting terror which is because of the army. But it's a collective effort and we cannot bifurcate between the army and the government. The military is a subordinate arm of the civilian government, but splitting their role for political gains may be more damaging.
The corrupt cannot stop corruption, rather they endorse it. Corruption charges have been leveled at the Sharif government and it has completely failed to defend itself. So there can be no second opinion that the present government is not only involved in, but has also been endorsing corruption. We demand an independent commission investigate the government tenures of the Pakistan Peoples Party, the PML-N and even Musharraf, to probe the corruption allegations. A thief is a thief and there isn’t any such thing as a good or bad one. We want accountability of all, whether pinpointed in the Panama Papers leaks, or the Swiss cases. They should not be spared. The investigation should not be limited to Nawaz Sharif but should be expanded to include all those who have overburdened this country with excessive debt.
Much touted government reforms are merely an eye wash and exist only on paper. There has been no practical implementation so, in effect, it doesn’t count at all. The present government is lagging in any legislation which could bring about change. What reforms can be expected where only 0.42 per cent of the budget is allocated for the health sector and the education sector gets only two per cent of the money?
The poor and labour class is suffering at the hands of the present government.
Managing Pakistan’s Image
Our government has reduced Pakistan’s image to zero. There has been no word on the mass murder of Kashmiris, but Nawaz Sharif speaks of his friendship with the Indian prime minister, Narender Modi, which is a negation of Pakistan’s ideology. But what else can we expect for the country’s image when the Sharif is expanding his family business at the cost of Pakistan? There is no plan to boost the image of the country, but there are plenty of plans by the rulers for installing their next generation on the power pyramid. They are only eyeing the next elections. Sharif’s personal interests are supreme to the country’s image.
The overall picture is disastrous, worrisome and dismal. There is no rule of law, injustice prevails, there is inequitable distribution of resources, foreign policy is a complete failure, and the citizens are insecure. The rights of the smaller provinces have been usurped creating Balochistan like crises.
The entire nation is demanding a solution for Balochistan’s woes but the government remains silent. Bramdagh Bugti has been offered Indian nationality and other Baloch Sardars have sought asylum. They are not Pakistan’s enemies; rather they are fighting for social justice and equality which seems a far cry under the Sharif government. The rulers have no vision how they can lead the Islamic world. They are disastrous and, overall, the government is a complete failure.