Imran Khan came into power in 2018 with tall claims of changing the rotten political system of the country and giving due relief and privileges to the people of Pakistan. He also claimed to initiate an impartial accountability process to recover the plundered capital of the country that according to him was laundered to foreign countries by many prominent politicians and former rulers of Pakistan.
Unfortunately, Imran Khan’s claims proved to be hollow and impractical as one cannot move the mountains by just whispering at them. Khan’s promises to the Pakistani nation remained unfulfilled and his entire tenure of governance set new records of an economic fiasco due to the lack of intent by Imran Khan.
Imran Khan promised the nation that he will refund the black money to the national treasury and will tackle the corruption with iron hands, he swore to bring external debts down and pledged to bring police reforms in the country. He vowed that he will convert the Prime Minister’s house into a state-of-the-art university, he said he will implement the same curriculum in the country to decrease the disparity between the poor and the well-privileged faction of the society.
He undertook that he will begin a new era of economic growth and will free the country from the manacles of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Above all, he assured his supporters that he will build fifty lakh houses for those who can’t afford to have a house and provide unemployed youth with one crore jobs. And the list of his false promises goes on.
When his promises are scrutinized with a lens of reality, we come to know that he couldn’t deliver even a single thing that he guaranteed to the nation. Here is the actual depiction of his performance in three and a half years. In his tenure, the GDP growth of the country declined to 9.2 % from 11.1 % in 2018. Foreign debt rose from 24,953 billion to 42,745 billion, and the number of unemployed youths increased to 95 lakhs, contributing to 60 lakhs jobless individuals in just 3 years. Pakistan jumped to 140 from 117 in Transparency International’s Corruption Index, the trade deficit of the country increased to 43 billion dollars which was 31 billion dollars in 2018 when he took over the government, and the fiscal deficit enlarged from 2,260 billion in 2018 to 5,600 billion in 2022. The inflation rate hiked from 5.8 % in 2018 to 8.5 % in 2022 when Imran Khan was ousted from power. Demonstrating an utter failure in governance, Imran Khan’s government added nearly two crore people below the poverty line in just three years.
Being head of the coalition government, Khan also failed his political allies. He couldn’t establish a national consensus over a range of issues in the country because of his deteriorating ties and his stubborn slant towards the opposition and other political parties. Finally, annoyed by his imprudent demeanor and a habit of narcissism, allies decided to part their ways leading to his government’s fallout.
He further botched the economic situation of the country. Before coming to the power, he claimed that he will turn the economy around, and will not go to IMF. But as soon as he became premier, he rushed to IMF which resulted in a lack of trust in the market over the unstable policies of his government and gave an overwhelming spike in the inflation and the economy took a downhill trajectory. As an aftermath of his unhinged economic policies, inflation, unemployment, corruption, and poverty amplified at an unprecedented rate.
Failure in making a balanced Foreign Policy was another delinquency of Imran Khan’s tenure. By unnecessarily going at loggerheads with the United States he deliberately hurt the wider interest of Pakistan. He couldn’t even maintain the exemplary relations of Pakistan with the Gulf states and lost the warmth that used to be in the past. China also showed its displeasure over slowing down the work on CPEC projects during Khan’s tenure.
His failure in almost all turfs accounted for his early dismissal from the government which he is still not in a mood to admit. Rather than accepting the ground realities, he is on a mission of spreading a fake narrative of an American-sponsored intrigue to remove him from the power while addressing countrywide gatherings.
The diplomatic cable that he is referring to has become irrelevant and lost its significance after twice being rejected in NSC meetings. DG ISPR and the Foreign Office also categorically denied any foreign conspiracy or regime-change operation against Khan’s government. Still, he is telling the tale of a concocted conspiracy against his government and igniting the anti-American sentiment in the country while enraging the public against the state institutions through derogatory campaigns against the armed forces and security agencies.
Khan must realize that by denouncing the state institutions, spreading the fake rhetoric, and widening the societal spat in the country, he is not doing any favor to the nation, but augmenting the enemy’s agenda. Instead of playing the victim’s card, he must act like a mature politician, tell the truth to the people of Pakistan, and wait for the next general elections to contest based on his performance in the past three and half years, or else the history will remember him as a cult figure who prioritized his interest over the country’s and undermined the sanctity of the state in a scanty face-saving attempt.
The writer is an Islamabad-based researcher and freelance journalist. He can be reached at [email protected]