Imran Khan's Ego & Incompetence Practically Bulldozed Economy

Imran Khan's Ego & Incompetence Practically Bulldozed Economy
One cannot deny the fact that Pakistan is currently undergoing one of the worst economic crises in its history. Inflation is at a record high, a monumental fiscal deficit has piled up, and rampant unemployment are just a few of the issues plaguing the economy. The floods last year have left millions of people displaced, without a reliable source of income and have caused significant damage to an economy that is primarily still agriculture based. Combine this with rising inflation and you have a recipe for an economic disaster. However, despite recent claims, Pakistan’s economic troubles did not just start out of the blue . A crisis like this one, takes time to originate - four years under Imran Khan to be precise.

The economic meltdown we are seeing today is, in simple words, the result of petty politics, egotistic minds and hasty decision-making by a government that failed to establish its legitimacy after almost four years of being in power. They failed to fulfill promises of employment and combating the rampant inflation in an effective manner, and without going into too much economics, we can safely say that what you see right now is the result of their incompetence.

PML-N has been targeted time and again by so-called political experts for its efforts to take the country towards economic freedom and stability, with baseless claims about its inability to stem the tide of inflation or to plug the fiscal deficit, when in reality, all of these are issues that the party is determined to solve. The hate and abuse that this party has had to face simply because it decided to take the necessary steps to fix the nation’s problems that were in fact laid down by the former government is unfair, without even considering the insurmountable amount of courage it took to take those decisions and the fact that they would not have had to be made, had it not been for week and ineffective governance by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf.

Although there are numerous examples of Khan’s ego and incompetence practically bulldozing the economy, one need not look further than the petrol price to know that he let his ego get in the way of working towards a prosperous Pakistan. When the PTI realised that it would be brought out of power and that their reign of terror would be soon put to an end, they deliberately kept the price of petrol stagnant, simply to sway the public in Khan’s favor, a public that had been misinformed about the true nature of the economic meltdown the country was headed towards, botching the deal with IMF in the process. Had we secured a deal with them then, we would not be where we are now, but Khan chose to do so in order to make it nearly impossible for the new government to continue dealing with the IMF. Simply put, he chose to take this measure when he saw that the PDM was close to coming to power.

Despite the claims made, the PDM came to power through an entirely democratic process, rules for which are quite clear in the constitution of Pakistan. Yet, the PML-N is being accused of being part of a foreign conspiracy without any evidence to corroborate the claims. Moreover, it was abundantly clear that the clear-headed public, ones who had not been manipulated by the hate propaganda being spewed, knew that the only hope the Pakistan had to avoid a situation like Siri Lanka was to bring a legitimate government into power, one that did not have its own hidden agendas. However, the power of opinion-leaders is undeniable as it is their opinions that shape the way others think and believe. Khan has employed this technique throughout his career, giving one side of the story and sowing the seeds of hatred in the hearts of the public.

The cult following that Khan inspires then leads to hate both online and offline, which then translates to public resentment due to a lack of knowledge of the full scope of Khan’s manipulation. However, the PML-N has taken all this in stride, as it has always put country before politics. It has sacrificed its politics right now, just like it always has, in order to make sure that the country does not default. We understand that Pakistan desperately needs to be brought out of the economic crisis that it has been plunged into, even if it means making tough decisions that might be hard to swallow for the people right now. We must look at the bigger picture and see that all these decisions are only being made so that the country can have economic freedom in the long-run, even if it means sacrificing our politics.

This is also what needs to be understood generally – that none of us is happy with the way things are right now, with the inflation or debt crisis, and the PML-N has always put Pakistan first so it would never have intentionally brought about this turmoil. However, recent events have forced us to take these steps.

Even though Khan’s government has left the economy in shambles, we are leaving no stone unturned in trying to repair the damage. However, Khan refuses to back off simply because of a bruised ego. At a time where we should be focused on the economy, and should in fact, work together to avoid a meltdown, the PTI is trying to ensure its own political capital. Dissolving the Punjab and KP assemblies simply to feed the egotistic needs of a narcissist was not what Pakistan needed right now. What we need is a nation united in the face of dangers that threaten the country.

Khan refuses to sit down and talk about these issues so we can work together towards a common goal. However, not much can be expected from someone who was willing to sit down with terrorists responsible for the horrors the country has faced for decades. However, despite all this, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has made numerous efforts to get the PTI leadership on board to discuss a way forward for the country.

At the Apex Committee meeting in Peshawar on Friday, he expressed the importance of us being united against terrorism, and he rightly said that the federation, provinces and political parties all need to be on the same page against terrorism, or “history will not forgive us.” However, Khan’s refusal to attend the All Parties Conference (APC) against terrorism on the 7th of February, a praise-worthy initiative of the PM, is yet more proof that he is more interested in personal politics rather than combating terrorism. By not attending, he is in fact, sending the message that the PTI is not on the same page when it comes to terrorism. This is yet again proof of the fact that Khan cares most of all for his own interests, and will do anything to achieve those, even if it means sacrificing the country.

Dear Mr. Former Prime Minister, it is time you put petty politics aside and put the country first. We are all going to have time to do politics, but let’s ensure our country’s well-being first.

The writer was a legislator of the Punjab Assembly from 2018 to 2022. She is affiliated with Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN).