Leadership’s challenge

In response to the PML-N’s demand that the implementation of its 10-points should start within 45 days, the PPP government on Tuesday, by saying that the deadline was irrelevant has only strengthened the popular perception that it was merely buying time.The nature of the 10-points is vague, no doubt but it is clear that the implementation, strictly speaking within 45 days timeframe is also not entirely out of the realm of impossibility. The pity is that the will and commitment which could achieve some of these points within the blink of an eye as stated by Mian Nawaz on Wednesday is in short supply. But the exasperation one feels over PPP’s procrastinating and hoodwinking the public is also directed at the PML-N for giving the government a clean bill of health and hence condoning its governance that is becoming increasingly frustrating for the hapless masses. The perception is that it was in order to counter the criticism hurled on it for bailing out the government following the departure of MQM and JUI-F that the PML-N came up with 10-points.

Tuesday’s meeting between PML-N and PPP leaders led by Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Sheikh, and the former’s soft peddling of their demands would reinforce the thinking that it was a mock fight going on. While the PML-N’s support for democracy is all the more welcome and shows that some politicians have really come of age, it must be borne in mind that the PPP’s pleas for extra time should not be entertained at all. It was a crying shame that during the talks, the government kept giving the lame excuse that it was because of Musharraf regime’s handling of national economy that the present set-up was still unable to put it back on track. The question is how much time it would require to fix economic engine or oust corrupt ministers and officials for that matter? It has still not taken a step to grapple with the energy crisis. Likewise, the rest of the demands which includes obedience to judiciary, tax reforms, and improving the law and order situation, are unlikely to be fulfilled by the government. Dr Hafeez’s statement that there was no fiscal space left for the government to give subsidies on petrol and gas further shows its real designs. Indeed, far from implementing the 10-points, it appears the PPP-dispensation is only going to follow the IMF and US diktat that in the days to come is going to make people’s lives even more miserable – Nation