The first 100 days...

Updated May 22, 2018


IF, indeed, the party does win the general election and if he is elected prime minister, the PTI and Imran Khan would have indicated that they will not just bask in the glory of a historic electoral victory but that they intend to quickly turn their attention to the serious business of governance and reforms.

The elaborate ceremony in which the PTI unveiled its agenda for the first 100 days in office has been criticised as presumptuous and gaudy.

But there was substance to the PTI’s agenda, and a party that is seeking to galvanise support among traditional non-voters, especially the young, perhaps needs a touch of glamour and political theatre.

The first 100 days in office is an arbitrary marker, but it has gained traction as a measure of perceived success in many countries.

Certainly, as Mr Khan emphasised in his remarks, political capital reaped by an election win needs to be used quickly if it is to be used effectively.

Pakistani politics is rarely calm and recent times do not give hope that a smooth transfer of power will be followed by the smooth functioning of democratic institutions.

In the case of the PTI, if it does win the election, there will also be the inevitable uncertainty and confusion as a first-time winner settles into government.

The six points presented by the PTI will be analysed and dissected in the days and weeks to come.

Promising transformation and revolution is surely easier said than done.

Where executive action is needed, the government will have a relatively free hand, but in matters of legislation and structural reforms, much will depend on the numbers in parliament.

Nevertheless, it is significant and encouraging that a major political party has laid out some metrics against which its performance in office can be judged.

Other political parties ought to consider emulating the PTI and offer their governance agendas that have some relevance to reality.

With some of the major structural problems well known and potential solutions bandied around for many years, mainstream political parties will likely have similar approaches to addressing the problems.

If each party were to offer an agenda for the first 100 days, six months or one year in office, it could help the next parliament reach a consensus that has eluded previous parliaments on major economic challenges and governance problems.

As the PTI gets serious about the business of governance, other parties should look to improving their own outlook too.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2018