Pakistan has always been struggling with its political system wherein common people have mostly suffered at the hands of week democracies that lacked the ideals of true democracies. As a nation, what we are today is an outcome of what our electoral views and priorities were yesterday. We had been in the state of informed oblivion when it came to our electoral responsibility which could have otherwise reshaped our present and future destiny including the sustainability of our upcoming generations.
However, our recent realization and underpinning desire for a political change in Pakistan are dictated by the longstanding miseries and sufferings which our people and particularly the vulnerable communities in Pakistan have faced. In support of this realization, the Abraham Lincoln has rightly said “you can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.
Pakistan was never created to be in the state of perpetual misery, nor was it meant to be ruled by a few ruling elites as their political dynasties. Prior to 2018 elections, people have paid a huge price for their being electorally-irresponsible either by non-voting or ill-voting in the past elections. People have been bearing the brunt of their own electoral choices and it is because of this realization that fueled-up a desire for political change in Pakistan as witnessed in the 2018 general elections. This changed perception of the electorates, perhaps for the first time in Pakistan, paved the way towards the installation of first-of-its-kind government, comprising of professionals and unconventional politicians as critical for our very survival and that of our future generations.
During the last decade, the ever-increasing power of media coupled with judicial activism have greatly influenced and put a check on governmental state of affairs and the way governments have been functioning in the past. Media organizations, in particular, have been striving hard to counterbalance the deep-rooted priorities of the past ruling political parties in Pakistan. It is satisfactory to take down that owing to the awareness raised by electronic, print and particularly the social media, people have greatly realized their constitutional rights as the citizen of Pakistan.
Since after its installation, a lot is being expected from the PTI-led government as people have high hopes from the new government unlike the conventional governments of the past that lacked transparency, good governance and service delivery, hence added to the miseries of the people. Given the past sorry state of affairs, a common man or at least the politically-neutral youths of today is eyeing Imran Khan as the only leader capable of getting country out of the crises and cleaning-up the current government system from corruption and injustices. This increased expectation backed by the recent sense of realization necessitates new government to revitalize and enhance capacity of the public institutions through reforms and re-organization measures so as to be able to deliver the true benefits of democracies to the masses and charting a new destiny for a progressive Pakistan.
Accordingly, following are 20 Key Priority Areas for new government to consider:
1) Restructuring public sector institutions through reforms, service delivery and improved governance mechanism;
2) Maintaining rule of law & security situation by installing honest and capable bureaucrats on key positions in law enforcement institutions;
3) Empowering and enhancing capacity of the accountability institutions coupled with ensuring fair & across-the-board system of accountability;
4) Initiating country-wide health sector reforms by improving the conditions of public hospitals & tertiary care institutions and subsequently introducing SEHAT (health) card along the lines of KPK government for providing quality healthcare to all the segments of the society;
5) Improving the condition and infrastructure in the government schools coupled with introducing uniform standard of education at elementary, secondary and higher secondary levels through unified implementation of taught curricula and textbooks;
6) Boosting international trade and improving foreign relations through vibrant role of ministry of foreign affairs and Pakistani missions abroad;
7) Encouraging foreign direct investment by offering ease of investment and tax rebates to foreign investors in Pakistan including incentives for overseas Pakistanis;
8) Making most of CPEC venture in a manner that all provinces get their fair share of development, royalties and economic benefits.
9) Adopting new technologies, scientific innovations and defense capabilities with the support of friendly countries and potentially new allies;
10) Injecting considerable chunk of PSDP funds towards building large number of water reservoirs and 1-2 multi-purpose dams for overcoming water scarcity and generating cheap electricity. However, all provinces should be taken into confidence to achieve collective consensus on the construction of the dams;
11) Initiation of tree-plantation/afforestation drive as a state-wide government initiative in all other provinces of Pakistan along the lines of KPK government in order to curb rapid environmental pollution and achieve a balanced ecology;
12) Tapping unexploited mineral resources and mobilizing the overall pace of indigenous natural resources to ease burden on imports, particularly slashing the hefty oil import bills;
13) Creation of large-scale job opportunities for the youth including the incentive package such as initial tax holidays, rebates, interest-free loans and seed money etc. for young entrepreneurs, start-ups and emerging business leaders;
14) Increasing tax-to-GDP ratio by building public confidence and offering ease of tax filling, hence enrolling more people in the national tax net (national tax register);
15) Introducing uniform pay structure in all the government institutions to discourage wage disparity and undue culture of deputations and inter-departmental postings, thereby enhancing the morale and efficiency of the public sector employees;
16) Introducing austerity measures in ministries, divisions and attached government institutions through judicious utilization of government resources & machinery and cutting on unnecessary security protocols, breaking the status-quo conventions;
17) Revising existing service laws, rules and acts of the public sector institutions (with a special focus on the laws of judicial and law enforcement institutions) in coordination with the ministry of law & justice through the acts of parliament and legislative instruments;
18) Appointing technocrats such as Engineers, Doctors, Scientists, Chartered Accountants, PhDs and other technical Professionals on key positions and as heads of public sector engineering, medical, scientific, technical, R&D and tertiary institutions;
19) Introducing e-government and automation concepts in all the public sector organizations with an emphasis on law enforcement and policing institutions so as to cut cost, reduce processing times and avoid administrative delays, thereby ensuring transparency, accountability, and speedy delivery of services to the general public;
20) Last but not the least, constituting national task forces to ensure effective and speedy implementation of the above reformation measures and subsequent monitoring of the progress on continuous basis.
Given the above, it’s a high time the new government sincerely addressed above long-standing issues aimed at reconstructing Pakistan and steering the country to the path of glory and success in the days to come.
The writer is a former Assistant Director at Higher Education Commission, Pakistan and presently PhD Scholar at University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. He can be reached at email@example.com.