Imran Khan’s rise reflects Pakistan’s disenchantment with the old corrupted democratic order dominated by two political parties – the PML-N and the PPP. But his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice, PTI) came to power without well-prepared plans for implementation or a clear policy direction on pressing issues such as institutional corruption, economic weakness, and low human development indicators. At the federal level and in Punjab, the PTI is in a coalition, which means making compromises in taking action in order to sustain its federal and state governments. There are some clear successes in dealing with foreign powers and some setbacks, albeit temporary.
The main opposition parties, the PML-N and PPP are now teaming up against the government at the federal level. Imran Khan’s own absence from parliament distances him from the reality of politics in the country and from amongst his own parliamentarians. On the other hand, though often accused of being the military’s protégé, the PTI government appears to have found an equilibrium in relations with the army.
Though common people’s disappointments have crept in, the public still has hope in Imran Khan’s personal integrity. Given the enormity of the task, the results of his policies will only show over time. Most people are prepared to give Imran Khan that time.
About the Speaker
Sajjad Ashraf was Pakistan’s longest serving High Commissioner to Singapore from July 2004 to December 2008 and was also the Dean of the diplomatic corps during 2008. During his 35-year diplomatic career, he served in several diplomatic assignments both at home and abroad. Subsequently, he has served as an adjunct professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, as advisor to Fullerton Financial Holdings, and as Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishaq Institute in Singapore.
Ambassador Ashraf writes regularly in the international media, including in the Straits Times. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from Forman Christian College, Lahore and an M.Sc. in Defence and Strategic Studies from the National Defence University, Islamabad.