Tarar Square

Imran Khan is different. Hear it from people who didn't even get PTI tickets in the last election

His day starts very early. There are hardly any breaks, and he works till late at night. The only breaks he takes are for zuhr, asar and maghrib namaz.

 |  Tarar Square  |  6-minute read |   03-02-2019
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I observe, pay attention to and talk to people from various fields of life, to try to understand and to do my best to present the reality without giving it my personal shade of like or dislike. To me, it is all very simple: As a Pakistani, my concern is never-ending and always profound regarding the way my country is governed by those who through the power of vote reach certain positions, and work in a manner that, despite its apparent show of good intentions and the desire to serve, falls short of making that fundamental change that would, once and for all, set Pakistan on a path of real stability on all levels.

I’m fascinated with the political dynamics of Pakistan, how different governments work, what their short- and long-term goals to change things on micro and macro level are, how they look at issues that affect the life of the common man in addition to the larger steps that are taken for the betterment and consolidation of economy, infrastructure, internal and foreign policy, and strengthening of public institutions.

What has changed in the last five months is something exceptional, something unfamiliar. Something good. It started when Imran Khan became the prime minister of Pakistan. Something shifted.

pakistan-inside_020319124018.jpgFinally, something shifted — in the political dynamics of Pakistan. (Photo: Reuters)

I heard it in the words of a minister for the PTI Punjab government: “We don’t pay journalists to write good things about us, we don’t give ads for our promotion, and therefore, the media seems unwilling to highlight the work that we are doing. And honestly, we don’t care. We are here to work. The same thing happened in KP; the constant refrain was that nothing had been done in KP, and of course, that was untrue. What we are doing is working non-stop, and we will prevail, inshaAllah. If we work hard for our country to fix the problems of the last thirty years, five years is ample time to turn things around.”

A high-level woman official in the health department of the Punjab government said: “Never ever in my years of government service have I seen this happen. The audit of our department has been from top to bottom and so thorough that I’ve a feeling not many people used to the old system are happy at the moment. It is wonderful to see a government be so conscientious about the primary responsibility of any government but what has been unfortunately missing until now, until the PTI government in Punjab.”

A high-level official working for one of the largest public corporations of Pakistan said: “As per the directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the new government of Pakistan has deployed a team of seven non-civilian officials. The administrative system of this corporation was made to collapse on purpose to put it in a loss. These officers are not heading any department, but are providing expertise while they are on deputation at the organisation. They don’t avail any organisation-given perks and privileges, transportation etc.; rather, they even pay for small things like tea from their own pocket. Systems are being developed to revive the corporation on modern lines and make it profitable so that it regains its lost glory.”

pti_020319125006.jpgKhan is all for Pakistan and Pakistan is his all. (Photo: Reuters)

A person in his mid-30s who served during the tenures of three prime ministers, Yousaf Raza Gillani, Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, from 2008 to 2018, is now working for the government of Prime Minister Khan. He is not an advisor or a minister, and talking to a childhood, close friend, in an informal setting, he said: “Among all the prime ministers I’ve worked for, Imran Khan is the only one who means business and works as a prime minister should. His day starts very early. There are hardly any breaks, and he works till late at night. The only breaks he takes are for zuhr, asar and maghrib namaz. The entire Prime Minister Secretariat is on its toes: Khan holding meetings and briefings throughout the day, even on holidays. The workload has significantly increased in the PM office. For the first time, there is actual office work being done by a prime minister. The only other prime minister who seemed to mean business was Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The one who seemed the least bothered was Nawaz Sharif. His office was run by a group of close associates, and he was mostly not doing anything.”

An entrepreneur who is also a television host and a producer said: “Keeping in lieu a proven track record of magnanimous achievements, whether it be cricket, philanthropy or politics, his sheer persistence and fearlessness, unquestionable patriotism and unmatched empathy for a common man’s betterment are enough reasons to believe in PM Khan’s vision for a Naya Pakistan modelled on the fundamentals of Riyasat-e-Madina.”

A PTI politician who contested on a PTI ticket in the 2013 election and lost, and didn’t, to his disappointment, get a ticket for the 2018 election, said: “What is heartening is that for the first time an elected prime minister and his government seem prepared to take tough, unpopular decisions, not fearing the backlash. They seem determined to do course-correction and put the country in the right direction.

Another difference is that in private meetings, ministers seem upbeat and are happy that the prime minister gives them space to perform but that he expects performance in return. Cabinet members believe that they will be able to steer the country out of the current economic mess. Most importantly, Khan is a doer. However long it takes or how difficult or tough the circumstances are, he never loses focus. That is precisely what he’s doing right now.”

imran-khan_020319125019.jpgOn a war footing: The entire Prime Minister Secretariat is on its toes: Khan holding meetings and briefings throughout the day, even on holidays. (Photo: Reuters)

This is just a few of the people whose words I could shrink to fit in a limited-word op-ed. There are many others. What I have noticed in the first few months of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government is an unusual phenomenon: In a country that is beset with issues of staggering proportions, there is an air of positivity and optimism among those who have made it their mission through hard work and formation of policies that are farsighted and all-encompassing to establish a roadmap for a Pakistan that is vibrant, prosperous, self-assured and self-reliant. There is an increase in the prices of everyday essentials and utilities, but that is the short-term price of changing the system for the long-term good.

Those PTI parliamentarians, advisers and ministers who having served the party for several years understand Imran Khan’s empathy, ideology and belief system for the betterment of Pakistan, along with those who were working for former governments, those who have been assigned various positions to salvage some of the biggest government institutions, those who contribute to non-public sectors, and those who simply observe have one thing in common: for once they are all on the same page. United, dedicated, clear-headed, receptive, responsive and unapologetically devoted to the well-being of Pakistan, they respect the leadership and the vision of Imran Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan for Pakistan. Khan is all for Pakistan and Pakistan is his all.

Khan’s team works on the same principle.

I, in my categorical support of all that is good for Pakistan, am rooting for Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team. That to me is all of Pakistan. United we stand, united we work, united we prevail. InshaAllah.

Also Read: Probe against Nawaz Sharif and family: No, it is not witch-hunt, it’s accountability


Mehr Tarar Mehr Tarar @mehrtarar

A former op-ed editor of Daily Times, Pakistan, and a freelance columnist.

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