The Prime Minister was delighted to impress a few years ago, with assurances of follow-up for a while, to create crore of jobs for the unemployed, pledged to build 50 lakh houses for the homeless- shelter, pledged to end the corruption that had eaten away at our vital organs, pledged to provide affordable and quality public services indiscriminately, pledged a tsunami resulting in the planting of billions of trees, pledged to provide quality health and education services, promised to bring down food prices, not least, promised to bring billions of dollars of black money hidden in foreign banks. What happened on the pitch after more than two years couldn’t be more striking as everything had turned out to be a wet firecracker.
The fulfillment of promises was not kept by a large margin resulting in a feeling of betrayal among the masses against the leadership of the government. There might not be a little bit of exaggeration that getting to the situation as it is can certainly go from bad to worse over time. The indicators of political economy can unfortunately bear witness to this bitter reality. More than 4 million people could have lost their jobs, around ten million people could be pushed below the poverty line and the inflation spiral is out of control, the debt trap galloping the limited financial resources of the country. because of the debt payment obligations. The amount of the current government’s debt obviously suggests the violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Law and the limitation of the debt with impunity. Sadly, people went through hell a long night of suffering. They are apparently no longer prepared to give the benefit of the doubt to the ruling party. Their criticism has yet to be heard. But their time may not be far off because tyranny is untenable. When their time comes, no power can stop them from taking destiny into their own hands. The urgent course correction should not be overestimated.
The provincial assembly elections held last week in Karachi and the subsequent by-elections in the country could open the eyes of the ruling party, clearly suggesting that the hallucinatory power may no longer be ready to go. bear the burden of mechanized fortune for a longer period. . The elections could be semantics of the fall of the political capital of the ruling party, attributed to its poor governance mired in combative politics – hurling insults at others, thus putting the ground to its disadvantage. The election was won by the PPP candidate by a huge margin while the (PTI) candidate trailed in third losing his safety money. This may be indicative of the fact that the wind is now blowing against the ruling party in a rather ironic way at a faster speed. This means that people are at the end of their patience with the government and its policies as they have been pushed into the ally of abject poverty, spawning unemployment and crippling inflation threatening their very survival. Indicators of their bitterness are increasingly appearing on the political horizon of the country. The perverse sense of desperation and depredation increases people’s resentment against government policies and its leaders with the plausibility of its elimination at any time. The time has come for serious soul-searching on the part of the ruling elite, as government policies have apparently not only failed, but are in fact helping to bite the masses hardest. Their hopes for better days in the foreseeable future may have completely vanished after witnessing the end of the inconsequential half of the PTI government’s tenure. Honestly, it’s hard to find people who claim to be better off, of course, except die-hard PTI supporters.
The series of protests like those by government workers, paramedics, teachers’ associations, unions, industrial workers, the farming community, including many others, has become routine, indicative of the unrest frightening among the rocking population. The longest protest by the families of missing persons tarnished the image of state institutions both globally and locally as Pakistan was one of the signatories of international conventions engaging the cause of human rights. The management can put their ears to the ground and listen to the threshing of the feet of the protesters and their agonies to fix things lest the situation deteriorate to the point of becoming unrecognizable.
The repetition of the vow mantra can end now to translate the commitments into fulfillment which is surely lagging behind per perception suspended in the air almost assuming crescendo. The perception may not be out of place, as the miseries of the people have multiplied, no matter which angel we look at. Unemployment is on the rise as the labor market continuously shrinks. The government’s inertia seems to be behaving like a spectator and can do nothing about it. Transparency International’s report (2021) squarely tore the ruling party’s tale of corruption to shreds. It was worse compared to previous PPP and PML-N governments. The construction of 50 lakh houses has apparently been reduced to the construction of a limited number of “shelters” in some urban centers, which amounts to a sleight of hand. Inflation along with repeated tariff hikes on electrification, gas and gasoline, have dramatically reduced the real income of the poor who are indeed puzzled as to why the government is in the mood for revenge. of them. These are dangerous feelings, and the ruling party can understand that the threshold of its patience may run out sooner rather than later. Revising political strategy in line with democratic practices is urgently needed because clinging to tested policies can reinforce the same narrative. The overwhelming majority of the population can surely be fed up and their endurance levels are boiling over. The government’s claim of the economy is on track indeed adding insult to injury to the people. The new agreement with the (IMF) is likely to put an end to the projected growth in certain sectors attributed to massive subsidies to the textile and manufacturing sectors and to the fall in interest rates. The IMF must have twisted the government’s arm to withdraw these stimuli in order to pursue any possible growth on a sustainable basis. We could see the fulfillment of IMF conditionalities in the not too distant future. The surge in the price of ghee to the rate of Rs30 last week all at once may suggest other such desperate measures on the horizon.
The other important event was the inauguration of the tree planting campaign (2021) by the Prime Minister in Lahore in which he reiterated that the tsunami of one billion trees would be carried out to solve the climate problems of the countries proactively. The moment was ironic because the inhabitants of Lahore breathed the most polluted air which was at the origin of multiple diseases reducing the life expectancy to eleven years in the metropolis, underlined the Prime Minister. The situation was just as bad in Peshawar and Karachi as in other urban centers.
He hated the destruction of the country’s forests by the timber mafias in collusion with the authorities. He also reiterated that the nationwide tree-planting campaign would continue to increase the country’s forest cover which is currently around 5%, well below accepted international standards of 25% for sustainable development. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister did not quantify his statement regarding the level of success of the Billion Tree Tsunami Campaign at KPK. However, the media report that investigations are underway into the misuse of the allocated funds. Such media reports had indeed tarnished the campaign which was otherwise an excellent initiative even if it had met with success even if only halfway. The great promise of a resting tsunami of nine billion trees for the remainder of the term seems like a reverie utterly devoid of common sense and logic. Government spokespersons could take action to inform the public, eloquently and unequivocally, of the extent of success, if any, of the tsunami tree planting since its inception.
The PPP-led government in Sindh Province has done a remarkable job of doubling the mangrove forest along the Sindh coastline since 2008, and winning three prestigious international awards in recognition of the rewarding efforts of the provincial government. This would certainly go a long way in preserving the Indus Delta and enhancing the degree of balance in the ecosystem that sustains millions of people in Sindh Province in particular. President Bilawal Bhutto, while appreciating the successful efforts of the Sindh Forestry Department, revealed that the doubling of mangrove forests in the province was a monumental success. Mangrove forests are essential for saving and thriving marine life which was in decline due to the worst exploitation of resources without regard to their recovery, preservation and development. The livelihoods of millions of people, who have lived there for many generations, will also achieve longevity on a sustainable basis. The government of Sindh has actively carried out the tree planting campaign in other towns in the province with the same level of commitment. Doubling mangrove forests involving billions of trees may be an enviable achievement for the country that would go a long way in helping to contain marine erosion and flooding of the regions.