WEB DESK: While some of the opposition parties are trying to organise protest rallies, marches and sit-ins to give a tough time to the authorities, the present PML (N) government is not far behind in displaying its strength to the electorate.
Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad on 1st August, 2016, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said that an “Economic Long March” will be launched on 11th August, 2016 on the completion of two years of the Vision 2025. The Vision  was announced two years ago but “today, all the leading financial institutions are considering Pakistan as an emerging economy, this is all because of the PML (N) government’s economic policies.”
The government would not only present a scoreboard of achievements of the last two years but would also explain the targets for the next 10 years. The Minister also stated that the entire nation was focused on the vision of progress and development being carried out under the dynamic leadership of Nawaz Sharif. However, the country cannot achieve economic prosperity in the absence of political stability, improved productivity and innovation. Confidence of foreign investors has increased due to policies and performance of the present government over a period of 3 years.
Talking about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Ahsan Iqbal said that out of $46 billion worth of projects, projects worth $10 billion have hit the ground while the remaining schemes are in the pipeline. The slogan of the ‘long march’ will be: “let us work harder, better and smarter.” The youth of Pakistan will participate with the catch-phrase “I am rising Pakistan. Pakistan is rising and will continue to rise.” Every Pakistani has been invited to become a symbol of rising Pakistan.
Lambasting the political opponents, Ahsan Iqbal described their protests and “dharnas” as negative politics. PTI and its allies have been issuing statements against the government for the last three years whereas the country needs a decade of continuity in policies for sustainable economic development. The opponents ought to respect the people’s verdict. Their attempts to discredit the government will miserably fail as people are interested in development and prosperity of the country, according to the minister.
There is hardly any doubt that “Economic Long March” of the government to be launched on 11th August, 2016 is meant to counter the long marches announced by Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf and Dr Tahirul Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek. Obviously, while Imran Khan’s party will concentrate on the Panama Papers and corruption and Tahirul Qadri’s party will focus on the Model Town tragedy to put the government on the back foot, the PML (N) would highlight economic achievements of the present government to divert the attention of the electorate from these issues. It needs to be noted, however, that this will not be the first time that the government of the day when faced with such tough resistance will respond with similar tools.
The propaganda and celebrations about the “Decade of Development” could not help Ayub Khan perpetuate his rule any further despite the fact that the country had made phenomenal economic progress in the period of his regime. The slogan of ‘shining India’ also could not impress the Indian electorate. We don’t know what would happen during the next few weeks on the political front and whether the government would be able to sell its side of the story but the way Ahsan Iqbal is preparing the ground for a defensive posture would, in all probability, not help the government’s cause.
We say this because it is always very difficult for the government to sell dreams for prosperity which are generally elusive. People want immediate results in terms of decline in poverty and unemployment and provision of better health and education facilities besides improved infrastructure, good governance and reduction in corruption. Seen objectively, most of these indicators seem to have rather deteriorated, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan. The federal government could say that provincial governments are responsible for lack of progress in these areas but most of the people do not care for such arguments and blame both the federal and provincial governments for all such deficiencies.
In any case, the kind of public support Ahsan Iqbal wants to muster to counter the campaign of the opposition parties would not be forthcoming through such tactics. Besides, some of his statements are very hard to believe. He has asserted that after 2018 (election year), the next government would continue to implement 10-year roadmap to make Pakistan the 25th biggest economy of the world by 2025. We can’t believe that he does not know that every government has its own economic agenda and he can’t be a part of the government if the PML (N) loses elections at any point of time.
It would, therefore, be better for the present government to tackle the situation politically and on grounds which are more relevant and make real sense to the public at large.
Source: Business Recorder