Home > The PML-N — a house divided

The PML-N — a house divided

It is time the premie­r put his own house in order, given that just over three years remain for his tenure to end

LAHORE: It is time the prime minister put his own house in order, given that just over three years remain for his tenure to end. Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, once a power base of the PPP under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, are today places where the party has been demolished because of failures, greed, corruption and the poor governance of Asif Ali Zardari. The expectations of the population and their awakening have grown because their problems have become more acute. It is this desperation of the people which has reduced the PPP from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Things for the PML-N, however, aren’t looking too good either. In a parliamentary democracy, it is the federal cabinet which should be the forum for debating internal party issues — not press conferences or talk shows. Had the prime minister selected a more responsible and capable team, instead of courtiers, and encouraged incisive debates within the federal cabinet, he would have been spared these frequent embarrassments. He should realise that it is the mediocrity of his team, which, instead of realising the gravity of crises and the intrigues of adversaries within the establishment, is fighting in full public view, rather than delivering together as a team.

The prime minister must focus on achieving the targets set by him in 2013. One of his relatives in Faisalabad seems to have gone berserk, little realising that had his family not been patronised on the basis of kinship, no one would have heard of it on the political stage. Improvements in the Pakistan Railways could have been greater if the minister concerned had focused on his assignment instead of his personal real-estate business. Another federal minister could not resist the temptation of running his private airline while in office, resorting to unfair practices to make a few crores by fleecing the public when PIA pilots went on strike. State-owned enterprises, driven to losses by PPP cronies, have further deteriorated because the PML-N has failed to appoint men of integrity and competence to head them. The Nandipur project, initially stalled by the PPP, has failed to progress despite billions poured into it. It is the PML-N that chose the team to head this entity. The buck stops at the prime minister’s table in a parliamentary democracy, and he should be held responsible for his failures if he is to receive credit for his achievements.

Malik Tariq Ali

Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2015.

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