Two years after being ‘selected’ as Prime Minister, Imran Khan is yet to demonstrate that he truly knows how to run the country. Pakistan’s economy is in a worse state than before, Covid19 cases continue to rise, and the machinery of state appears to be in doldrums.
In a column titled ‘Where to, Captain?’ F.S. Aijazuddin noted “Imran Khan, after flailing for two years in office, is understandably frustrated at the palpable incompetence of his subordinates. He must recall with nostalgia when he was captain of a team of obedient players, each with a special skill but a common goal. He assumed that his cabinet of 30 ministers would acknowledge him as their shepherd and they, his sheep. Instead, he finds that even though the match is only halfway through, unruly spectators are storming the field, anxious for his autograph on their appeals.”
According to Aijazuddin, Imran “put on the back foot by rumours of a minus-one change within his PTI, has announced a number of dramatic initiatives to reinvigorate public support. Used to receiving donations for his beloved Shaukat Khanum hospitals, now, as prime minister, he is expected to distribute largesse, sometimes beyond the nation’s finite resources.”
According to veteran human rights activist and columnist, IA Rahman “commonly believed that the prime minister has been trying to manage the affairs of the state largely with the help of his 14 special assistants and Federal Minister Asad Umar. The special assistants to the prime minister, except one, are not elected members of parliament, but they enjoy the status of cabinet members. The government’s law experts should examine the question of whether they can have this privilege because it is reserved for federal ministers, who must be duly elected members of parliament.”
In a column titled ‘Hybrid system’ Rahman states “the solution doesn’t lie in packing the cabinet with strangers. It should be addressed at the time of the next election. At least tickets for election as senators could be given to persons capable of contributing to good governance.”
Finally, according to Rahman the “hybrid system should be unwelcome to the people as it denies them rule by a proper cabinet that is an essential pillar of the parliamentary system. One is sure the prime minister means well but it is the responsibility of the law ministry to ensure that the constitutional limits are not crossed.”