July 5, 2020

For a party that came into power on the promise of reform and change, 'disappointment' would be an understatement in describing citizens' assessment two years on

In the recent months, the governance crisis has only worsened. The pandemic had already laid bare the government’s mighty claims of various institutional and administrative reforms and abilities. It then comes as no surprise when citizens begin to lose hope and trust in governance and the government, for there remains little evidence to back up political claims.

Having recently presented its second federal budget, and just shy of completing its second year in government, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf needs to realise that the party can no longer continue to function on slogans alone. That it ran a vigorous opposition rally in 2014 against the then Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz-led government should not remain the only defining chapter in its political history after being voted into power in the 2018 elections on the promise of tabdeeli. Its leaders, primarily its chairperson – now, the country’s prime minister – must understand that governance is very different from political sloganeering and campaigning. Now is the time to be pragmatic, a trait lacking in the current leadership. Mocking parliamentary opposition leaders on the floor of the House while continuing to chant slogans of change – that hold little meaning given the current state of affairs – and blaming all but the government’s own (in)ability to address governance challenges are worrying trends.

For a party that came into power on the promise of reform and change, ‘disappointment’ would be an understatement in describing citizens’ assessment two years on. Beyond the world of political slogans and promises, there are realities and challenges that simply cannot be wished away or drowned in the beat of DJ Butt’s anthems. As one of our contributors notes: The biggest opposition to the PTI since it ascended to power has been the party itself. There are enough red flags in this sentence alone. Yet, the “all is well” mantra is what rules the government narrative these days.

This week, we look at the political environment exploring the various elements and dimensions of governance and political crises faced by the country. We also incorporate views of political commentators, analysts and journalists on how they view the government’s performance over the past two years. For more on this and more, our special report follows.

Editorial: A look at Pakistan's political environment