Imran needs support in his fight against corruption

Imran's doing good work to put the house in order. He has toured friendly countries to seek financial aid.



By Liaqat Ali (Wide Angle)

Published: Tue 13 Aug 2019, 9:03 PM

Last updated: Tue 13 Aug 2019, 11:05 PM

Two distinct narratives had helped Imran Khan's rise to the office of the Prime Minister in Pakistan last year. Firstly, his crusade against corruption, and secondly, his promise to revive the economy and free it from the shackles of debt. One year on in office, the prime minister arguably is doing well on both these counts.
Mismanagement has caused great damage to Pakistan and left its key institutions in the cesspool of corruption. Even as the country's level of debt has hit the roof, ventures started by some of its political leaders have thrived and grown into successful businesses. Take Sharifs, for instance.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's family had a steel business before he joined politics. The family had only one factory (Ittefaq Foundries) in 1981. More than three decades later, Sharifs have stakes in virtually every business in Pakistan and more notably in Punjab.
The Bhuttos are no different. Former president Asif Ali Zardari hails from a feudal family, and was quite well-off before marrying political heavyweight Benazir Bhutto, who later became the prime minister of the country. Zardari's eventual access to the corridors of power allowed him to rake in millions. He was, in fact, nicknamed Mr Ten Percent for charging commission to apparently use his influence in getting projects approved and commissioned.
These two political families have built business empires in Pakistan, and own high-end properties in cities globally.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz of Nawaz Sharif and Zardari's Pakistan Peoples Party both accuse each other of wrongdoing, and have used their political powers to restrain the other. However, none had been put in the dock until now.
Imran, on the other hand, is committed to doing justice and ensuring the wealth of the country gets rightly invested for the good of the people. He has time and again reassured people that corrupt politicians will not be spared.
The opposition is calling it political victimisation, and it is not difficult to see why. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government has empowered investigative agencies and is going all out against corrupt leaders.
Imran is encouraging austerity, too, and is leading by example. In the last one year, he has cut down expenses of the Prime Minister house. There is no prime minister camp office, and the road leading to his residence was built using his own money.
He travelled to the US by a commercial flight and stayed at the Pakistan ambassador's residence in Washington.
Call it optics, if you may, but this is in stark contrast to the way politicians have behaved in this country. Bhuttos and Sharifs have splurged government money on their personal tours, and misappropriation of funds has burdened Pakistan with debts.
Imran's doing good work to put the house in order. He has toured friendly countries to seek financial aid, and worked to improve foreign relations - an aspect that had been neglected during the final year of Nawaz Sharif government.
Imran visited Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Iran to bolster relations. He has developed a great bond with the UAE leaders. His Highness Mohammad bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, recently visited Pakistan and offered to vitalise relations further.
Imran had also made right statements to improve relations with neighbouring India, but relations have taken a turn for the worse since New Delhi's decision to revoke the special status granted to Kashmir.
Imran's also improving Pakistan's standing in the world, and is ensuring that the sacrifices made by its people are not forgotten. The country has lost over 70,000 lives while fighting America's war. It has suffered huge financial losses (nearly $150 billion). Pakistan does not need financial help from the US, but is looking to have dignified relationship, and this message was conveyed well during Imran's recent visit to the US.
Pakistan wants to promote peace in the region, and Imran's government should be supported for this.
-liaqat@khaleejtimes.com


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