Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the country’s largest political party in the general elections held on July 25 last year and on August 18, 2018, Imran Khan sworn in as the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan.
PTI government has completed its one year today under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan. During this period, the government took several steps for the development of various sectors, despite many challenges.
According to Imran Khan’s administration, the government successfully smashed the domestic economy in the right direction, made reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), secured economic support from friendly countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and negotiated a package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) successfully.
Pakistan’s foreign policy has been remarkably successful over the last year, during which time relations with the world improved. On the diplomatic front, the government succeeded in restoring Pakistan’s identity globally.
Foreign Office Spokesman Dr. Muhammad Faisal has mentioned the major achievements on the foreign policy front during the first year of PTI’s regime, saying that Naya Pakistan (New Pakistan) has held Prime Minister Imran Khan’s personal meetings with many leaders of the world and expressed confidence in the world.
The principles of peaceful harmony based on principles and basic interests were implemented, which helped improve Pakistan’s identity and position at global and regional levels.
The foreign policy focused on strong economic partnerships with Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar, making it possible for them to invest billions of dollars in Pakistan.
Significant progress was made in the new phase of bilateral relations with the United States and Pakistan’s role in the region was better appreciated. President Trump’s mediation offer on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is also very crucial.
Foreign policy implemented a better strategy with India by offering constructive dialogue, emphasizing a peaceful solution to the Jammu and Kashmir issue.
Moreover, the government highlighted the issue of Jammu and Kashmir on all international forums including the Islamic Cooperation Organization, the UN, the European Union and the British Parliament.
During this period, the Strategic Engagement Plan with the European Union was finalized, along with a trend of improvement in relations with Russia, Europe and the Asian partners.
Public opinion is different in terms of how much relief the public received within a year and how the wheels of the domestic economy came on track. Due to inflation, that cannot be controlled by the existing government, the reason for the former governments is being declared.
The main reason for the increase in prices was the decline in the value of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar by 30% with inflation hitting double digits and likely to rise another few percentage points in months to come, according to the State Bank of Pakistan. In August 2018, the dollar was selling for Rs. 124, which now is being traded at Rs. 160.
Meanwhile, the list of consumer prices increased by 10.3% in July, up from 8.9% in June and 5.8% in June last year. Petrol and diesel prices were also Rs 95.24 and 112.94 respectively when the government took power, which has now increased to 117.83 and 132.47 rupees after the end of one year. Contrary to his promises, prices of petroleum, electricity and gas have now soar which have turned consumer items costlier.
Furthermore, PTI government have borrowed a record $16.2 billion loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and Qatar which is the highest by any government in a year.
The government’s claims of ensuring ease of doing business have also failed badly. The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) has dropped to a five-year new low of 28,764.63 in the KSE-100 index. Due to which, around twelve stockbrokers have quit the business in recent months.
No one is now willing to buy a PSX membership of mere Rs. 2.5 million which at once used to be for Rs. 140-150 million several years back. The government should soften the regulations of PSX to revive the stock market.
Education and health, that were the top most priority in the PTI’s election manifesto, has completely fallen flat. The top most priority of PTI was to make education accessible and affordable to each child in Pakistan, but unfortunately Pakistan has nearly 25 million children out of schools right now. The current government, like previous governments, is silent on this issue.
Not a good first year in Naya Pakistan though, a never-say-die Imran Khan has all the potential to live up to the people’s hopes and expectations and turn things around.