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Other provinces can learn from KP

May 29, 2013

RESIDENTS of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have once again shown that when it comes to choosing their leaders they mean business.

They expect their leaders to have leadership qualities, deliver on their promises and bring in a positive change in their daily lives.

Those who do not deliver are not given a second chance. Perhaps other provinces can learn from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the good of the country.

During the last four elections, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have done something quite remarkable.

After trying both, the PPP and the PML-N in the 1980s and 1990s, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elected religious parties into power at the turn of the century.

This was a critical time in the history of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attack on New York and subsequent attack on Afghanistan by the US and coalition forces.

The brave people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elected religious parties into power at a time when religion was under attack.

However, when they realised that the religious parties were not able to improve their quality of life to the extent they had desired, they elected nationalists into power in 2008.

Unfortunately, the nationalists were unable to deliver to their expectations either and missed a big opportunity.

In the five years that followed after 2008, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa residents realised that their infrastructure has gone from bad to worse, that new projects have been initiated without due diligence and could not be completed in a timely fashion.

More importantly, law and order has deteriorated to the extent where it is not safe to go out of the house ‘unless necessary’.

Huge bomb blasts became a part of the daily life. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government was simply unable to stop this and lost members of their own party to such attacks.

In the 2013 elections, different parties ran with different messages. Some ran on past achievements, others on sacrifices. Some tried to take advantage of the deep-rooted religious beliefs in Pakistan, while others appealed to the nationalistic divide.

Only one party, the PTI, did not have a ‘past’ and did not like the present. They ran on a platform of change, a platform that promised a better tomorrow through reform, accountability and justice. If the PTI could deliver on its promise in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the rest of the country may start believing too.

While the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa may be less educated and, to some less civilised than the people living in other provinces, they have a history of voting for a better tomorrow.

They continue to believe that tomorrow could be better; if not this time, then may be next time. But they must have hope and they must do something to change the present in order to have a better future.

If the rest of Pakistan follows this example and work for a better tomorrow, not just for themselves but for everyone living in this country, then there is no doubt that the country will prosper and so will everyone living in it.

ZAKIR ULLAH KarachiAusterity

THERE is a lot of talk and suggestions on what the incoming government should be doing about various problems being faced by the nation. Economic wizards rightly have their say in finding solutions to the dilapidated state of our ‘cash flow’, debts, etc.

All suggestions point towards increasing revenue in different ways. Since there is not much detail coming out to show how taxes will be collected from those who do not pay any.

Clarity of action against such tax avoiders must be made and implemented. This would require some honesty and dedication from those who work on tax collection.

Since there is no mention of curtailing expenses, I want to ask if we have forgotten the basic principles of accounting that to balance a budget, one has to look into reducing expenses.

There is no mention of governmental ‘belt tightening’, the kind that will cut heavily the luxury expenditures incurred by the elite ruling classes such as VIP privileges, freeloading in food and beverage (best food and accommodation in the town at the cheapest prices is in parliament cafeterias and lodges), multiple expensive vehicles and corporate jets/helicopters, massive expenditures incurred for security of the VIPs and VVIPs, all paid from the people’s money.

Many stories of misuse of the government-owned expensive and luxury (perhaps even bulletproof) vehicles float in the media also indicating that now former ministers have not returned vehicles that were assigned to them. Will the incoming government retrieve these vehicles and use them rather than buy new ones for all the incoming cabinet members?

Then, bureaucrats during the tenure of Yousuf Raza Gilani started receiving monthly stipends in the name of transport. If that practice is still in vogue, do those bureaucrats still use government-owned vehicles?

An exercise could also be carried out to determine how many vehicles were purchased during the five-year term of the government and whether all vehicles are accounted for? We seem to spend millions on a few, while millions do not have enough to partake of two meals a day.

A sea-change is essential now and our elites and bureaucrats need to reflect dedication to the country and its hapless people.

M. HASAN            Karachi