Imran Khan – some readers would say this about the title of this piece.
The former prime minister is never free of ideas to mobilise his core constituency. Every day, he speaks to the media and faces their tough and easy questions. He is planning to give the second ‘Haqeeqi Azadi March’ within days. He has to fetch an election date, and once elections are announced, his tireless electioneering will come into a full circle.
But Imran Khan is not the man in my mind who has the toughest job in the world.
Then, the second ultimate choice can be Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The sleepless man starts his day early in the morning, and keeps on working till late night hours. He loves to start the projects which are deemed ‘impossible’ in our parts of the world, but he realizes them in a record time.
But Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is not the man in my mind who has the toughest job in the world.
The youngest foreign minister is trying to steer Pakistan out of diplomatic isolation, and win support for the country’s causes. He is going to the international forums speaking of Pakistan’s case. He faces international media, which is not easy. His every single sentence ought to be calculated, well-worded, balanced and factual. He has to go through lengthy, boring briefings and read notes of the support staff.
But Foreign Minister Bilawal-Bhutto-Zardari is not the man in my mind who has the toughest job in the world.
Then, who has the roughest, toughest and hardest job in the world?
The easy answer is that every one of us has challenging jobs, and every job falls in the category of the most difficult job.
But when I started thinking of today’s column topic, the ultimate person who came to my mind was/is Finance Minister Miftah Ismail.
Yes, you heard it right.
Right now, he is preparing a budget that is not for the common man, but for the International Monetary Fund. It was him who increased petrol prices, the biggest increase in one shot, with a brave face. He did it or he had to do it when he had issued a series of statements against the rising petrol prices in the Imran Khan government.
He is planning to hurl another “petrol bomb” on the public. I am against using hyperbolic terms in the media, but I used it only to remind Miftah Ismael, who has frequently been using this term.
I would suggest Shaukat Tarin and other PTI leaders not to use “petrol bomb” statements. These statements might become a recipe for embarrassment in case they form a government in the future.
Recently, talking to the media, Miftah Ismail acknowledged that they had no other choice but to increase petrol prices. He has acknowledged that it is not easy to stem the depreciation of the rupee. He has acknowledged that the economic turmoil would increase in the coming days.
These confessions are not easily made.
But Miftah Ismael is at least honest to his job and he has been telling the truth. No false hopes.
He also says there is no proposal to increase the price of electricity at present but the practical situation is that an increase of about Rs7 per unit will be sooner or later.
The result of these measures will bring in a dramatic increase in overall inflation and not only for the low-paid working class but also the middle class.
Fiscal realities are the hardest realities, and it is only Miftah Ismail, who will be facing these realities.