Prime Minister Imran Khan | Editorial

The winds of change have started to blow across the country. The PTI has won the Centre as well as the provinces of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, besides managing a notable presence in Sindh. That Imran Khan is destined to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan is all in the air. While all analyses and assessments pointed to a hung National Assembly, the PTI has gone well past the magical 100-seat mark, good enough to attract independent candidates into its fold to secure simple majority and form the government comfortably — well, without the support of difficult-to-handle allies. That the PML-N and the PPP combined failed to match the PTI’s tally of seats showed that the countrymen overwhelmingly rejected the narrative of ‘Respect for Vote’ and the so-called pro-development policies and voted for pursuing a Naya Pakistan through human resource development.
With Khan now in the saddle, the real test of his capability as a leader has started. Coping with the many serious challenges facing the country — related to economy, energy crisis, internal and border security, civil-military relationship and foreign policy — is no mean feat. A first timer, Khan will have to perform out of his skin to come good on his promises of a Madina-like welfare state, across-the-board accountability, 10 million jobs, widened tax base, depoliticised police, sovereign foreign policy, etc. He has spoken a lot about the out-of-school children; and now is the time to practise what he has been preaching all along his more than 20 years of struggle. Karachi deserves Khan’s particular attention. As promised, he is required to lay the foundation of turning it into a metropolitan city, by making available facilities that a metropolitan city deserves.
Khan’s victory is, however, marred by the allegations of rigging — before elections and on the polling day — proving that there is an undeniable link between elections in our country and rigging allegations. That’s where the role of the Election Commission comes under question. We need to learn from neighbouring India where the chief election commissioner has, over the years, become so powerful that serious allegations of rigging in the country have become a thing of past.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2018.

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