By Rafiq Jan
Since its emphatic entry into power corridors, the PTI government has lacked the much-needed gusto that wooed most of the progressive thinking and educated circles both at home and abroad.
Imran khan proved to the naysayers that he was capable of winning his last innings to clinch the top position as the head of state. But for many observers, including me, he has lacked one unique skill that makes a leader stand out in the crowd. He has continued to carry a team of his longtime buddies on his shoulders to run the country; a move which has perplexed his adversaries as well.
Former US President Barack Obama selected his team to run the country by setting a precedence of inviting his arch rival Hilary Clinton to accept the most sought-after, dynamic and strategically important rank in the echelons of power after the U. S president; the Secretary of State. The world was taken aback by his apparently eccentric but extremely thoughtful, transformative and wise move. Lurked in that compulsive decision was the best lesson leaders can ever learn.…. A lesson of how to strike a balance between your whims and the call to action while taking high stakes decisions. A lesson of a life time for the students of leadership. A lesson the world will reminisce for the decades to come.
Giving high stakes position to those who don’t appear to have a tangential relevance with authentic and visionary leadership, has already begun taking its toll in the form of Imran Khan’s burgeoning administrative and bureaucratic woes. These are few of the missteps that can exacerbate worries of an already jittery cabinet of Prime Minister Imran Khan in the long-term handling of party policies as well as keeping up with his personal ethical values.
He must not sideline his die-hard followers who yearned to see the day of their dreams. They eagerly waited to see the radical changes in the country’s bureaucratic and administrative system. A promise that still echoes in their sub-conscious to see an end to status quo and nepotism in Pakistan.
The huge responsibilities given to irresponsible, inexperienced and a rude bunch of newly-elected parliamentarians far outpace their level of knowledge, skills and wisdom. They may be honest and sincere in their will to deliver, but deplorably miss the acumen and vision. They stood by him in his 22 long years of struggle and duly deserve the rewards and honors, but not in the form of vital positions as state ministers. PM Khan’s such decisions obviously reveal his apprehensions to get off the hook for the honeymoon period or some more time with the available machinery at hand, instead of fearing a face-off in the budding stage.
Pakistan is under the spotlight again after a change of guard in Islamabad. The world in general and regional stakeholders in specific passionately waited to see some fundamental changes in the set up. Pakistanis at home and abroad too expected the prime minister to get top-notch people to head key portfolios.
PTI’s pre-election promises about outlandish drastic changes need to be remembered too. An all-time low external diplomacy during the last 10 years has led to a marked decline in foreign direct investments and exports and the impact of which will take years to die down. Revamping of our foreign policy with a strong will and conviction needs to be the new government’s priorities. But the real indicators of the novice team’s performance so far are painting a scary picture of their inexperienced and abysmal handling of the state’s affairs. They seem to be in a quandary while dealing with the grave economic and diplomatic challenges. The country needs to stave off the specter of domestic trust deficit, which can prove detrimental to its stability both in the short and the long term.
Pakistan’s economy is way behind many regional countries, due to colossal financial mismanagement and corruption during the last 10 years. Imran Khan appears to be sincerely fighting tooth and nail to create a much-expected turnaround that was his top election promise to the nation. He has guts and much-uplifted spirits to stay put against all the headwinds to bring the battered ship back to the shore from the tumults.
However, he must also learn to believe by now that he is holding the country’s reigns in his hands and he alone cannot steer the boat without the support of dedicated, committed and strong professionals. Those novices around him don’t have the required muscle to lift the load of mighty sails.
The author is based in Doha, Qatar.