35 C
Friday, May 20, 2022
HomeOpinionA meeting with prime minister

A meeting with prime minister

During his brief talk, the prime minister said that his government would have to take tough measures to put the economy back on track. Don't waste time, dear prime minister, and go ahead with what's best for the country

Sunday is my own day. Though there is no escape from calls from the office, newsroom, readers and friends, I, however, prefer to stay at home with my family. The last Sunday evening was, however, quite hectic as after a few social engagements in the day, the evening was set to be at Model Town, the secretariat of the PML-N and the camp office of the prime minister. The prime minister had invited a selected group of journalists and publishers for ‘discussion’ on national interest matters. Once at the venue, I realized that TV anchorpersons and analysts had outnumbered the print media people.

“The government should be grateful to us for keeping the print media alive,” whispered the editor of an Urdu daily to me.

- Advertisement -

Though he had a busy day in the city and perhaps this interaction with journalists was his last activity of the day, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif looked fresh and energetic. He started off the meeting by going to every guest to their seat and greeting them with a warm handshake.

Once we all were settled down, the prime minister began his talk with the challenges his government is facing. Soon, he was talking about the subsidized fuel prices enforced in Pakistan, which, according to him, were hurting the economy. In the last days of his government, Imran Khan announced a blanket Rs10 per litter reduction on petrol prices.

The new coalition government is finding it hard to withdraw the concession fearing a vehement backlash from the public and the opposition PTI.

- Advertisement -

My humble view is if a massive increase in petroleum prices is unavoidable, the prime minister should arrange a televised address to the nation, and without much politicizing the issue, put up the case to the public and go ahead with, what the media calls, literal “petrol bomb”.

In this space, when the PTI was in power and the petroleum price hike had become an order of the day, I had fought the unpopular cause of the price hike in the favour of the government. Petrol is an imported commodity, and we must use it efficiently. What the Imran government did with the subsidized petrol in his last days was a purely political move, and they did so after they realized they had no chance of surviving the no-confidence motion against the prime minister.

The Shehbaz government should have taken the most difficult decisions in its very early days of the government, but it lost precious time. Now, it has become increasingly difficult for the prime minister to set the prices on the right track. During his brief talk, the prime minister said that his government would have to take tough measures to put the economy back on track.

Don’t waste time, dear prime minister, and go ahead with what’s best for the country.

The prime minister spent considerable time in his talk on Imran Khan.

He said his government may not allow the opposition leader to march on Islamabad.

I would suggest the prime minister reconsider the policy. He should do what he has been doing in 2012 when Dr. Tahirul Qadri started a long march from Lahore and later on in 2014 when Dr. Qadri and Imran Khan left Lahore for Islamabad march. Both times, then chief minister Shehbaz Sharif facilitated the marchers to reach Islamabad safely. That was the best strategy as by allowing a free hand to the opposition, the then Punjab government did not allow the opposition to manipulate the circumstances. Instead, the march never swelled, once it hit the GT Road.

In politics, playing not into the hands of opponents is the best policy.
If the government tries to prevent the march, it is giving a walkover march to the opposition.

Though the prime minister did not take more questions from the participants, he, however, seemed convincing and confident in addressing the few questions asked by us.

Looking forward to more such interactions!



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Top news

Related articles