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Flawed priorities of the new government

"Instead of focusing on getting its key aids out of the ECL, the government should be getting Pakistan out of the FATF Grey List"

After the successful removal of prominent government figures from the no-fly list, including Asif Ali Zardari, Maryam Nawaz, etc, it was announced last night that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been issued a passport so that he can travel.

Ever since the new government has been formed, it is working day and night to serve the people. First, it removed over 100 people from the Exit Control List (ECL). Then it drafted urgent amendments to ECL laws, for us. Then it struggled so that Nawaz Sharif could get his passport. And now, for the greater interest of the country, they are focused to get back the passport for Maryam Nawaz as well. As if this is the biggest crisis in Pakistan right now.

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A few years back, Imran Khan promised a hundred things to the people. But when he got the power, he spent all his time dragging down the opponents instead of executing his ideas. As a result, he made no breakthrough achievements in his almost three-year portfolio. And now the new government is also doing the same.

The new government, which was then the opposition, used to call out Imran Khan for not focusing on the country and wasting his energy on the opposition. They had problems with his incompetency, joblessness, poverty and growing inflation. In fact, the economic crisis was the centre of the no-confidence motion. The opposition frequently stated that they are coming to oust the prime minister due to rising inflation. They asserted that it is important to oust the PTI-led government otherwise Pakistan will go bankrupt.

However, Imran Khan always countered the no-confidence motion with the argument that the opposition members of PML-N and PPP are only coming back to save themselves from the accountability process. And the kind of steps that this government is taking every day, reaffirms his claim to some extent.

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Pakistan is in a crisis right now. The economy is giving a Mayday call. Inflation is soaring.

We have very low reserves. Loadshedding is back once again. People are polarized and divided. There is the risk of massive clashes in Pakistan as PTI is constantly evoking its supporters. We have major pressing issues to deal with. But it seems like the new government has other priorities. It is busy undoing the restrictions that were imposed on its members in the tenure of the previous government.

Every day we turn on the television to listen to “the value of rupee has increased today”.

Instead, we learn that people in the current government successfully got rid of this restriction and that. Opposition supporters did not support the PDM so that Nawaz Sharif could travel to wherever he wants to. Neither were they out on the streets in the PDM rallies to remove Maryam Nawaz or Rana Sana Ullah from the Exit Control List. They were out to support PDM so they will be back in the government and serve the people.

So that they will fix the power sector and end load-shedding. So that they will figure out how to run the economy without submitting to IMF. So that they can give relief to the common people.

But here priorities are different. People got burned and died in Dadu, but the prime minister did not go to console them. Neither did Bilawal Bhutto visited the victims. (And let’s be honest, not even Imran Khan bothered to go to those broken people.) The government needs to realize that it has a very short tenure and all eyes are on it. Every step it takes, every move it makes is being scrutinized by its supporters, and especially by its haters.

PTI used to be very submissive to IMF. Now it is calling out PML-N for approaching it. PTI used to increase prices frequently, now it is raising its eyebrows when new finance minister Miftah Ismail has hinted the revoking fuel subsidy. In the midst of all this, if the new government continues to use its resources to extract itself from the accountability process rather than serving people, it will be under fire from its opponents.

Both Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz and others should face their trials and it should be up to the courts to decide whether they should be given a clean chit or not. The government needs to stay away from this and should refrain from using its authority to get this kind of privilege. Instead of focusing on getting its key aids out of the Exit Control List, it should be more focused on getting Pakistan out of the FATF Grey List.

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