A mandate for delivery

Published: May 31, 2013

The writer hosts a show called “Capital Circuit” for News One and tweets @FarrukhKPitafi

A couple of months back I had an opportunity to listen to and interview Sir Michael Barber. He served as an adviser on education reform during Shahbaz Sharif’s previous term, and during Tony Blair’s second term as British prime minister, he was his chief adviser on delivery. Sir Michael spoke at length on, what he called, the Science of Delivery or the exact knowledge of translating reforms into results. In his own words, “it meant changing the facts on the ground and ensuring that citizens could see and feel the difference”. Call it science or an art, Pakistan is badly in need of delivery. And this is exactly why the recent elections give us hope.

You can view the results and the entire process through a hundred prisms but that will not change the fact that this time, people have voted for better governance and rejected emotional blackmail of every shade. The two parties that won the highest number of votes were clearly advocating reforms and better delivery. This is a triumph of sorts. To those with a proven track record, this provides a better opportunity; the ones who want to bring an overnight change, that flighty temptress that wrecked almost 66 precious years of our evolution, were taught the virtues of patience.

But while many may bemoan it, the truth is that it has been a win-win for all except for a few who became political casualties, and yet, may one day rise from their ashes anew if they only grasp the message handed down to them — of delivery. The winning party will form governments at the centre and two provinces and the runners-up get one province each to rule and prove they are better. Let the competition of better governance begin and show us the miracles of destiny that await us.

As for those who lost, the PPP that was routed in Punjab and is reduced to the province of Sindh, complains that terrorists didn’t let it campaign freely. They did not but were they supposed to? In 2007, they had eliminated the single most potent source of the PPP’s hope of better performance, Benazir Bhutto. And yet, the PPP had campaigned tirelessly and refused to let the elections get delayed beyond a month. No, that was not it. The PPP did not lose because it could not reach out to the people; it lost because it did not want to reach out. This is because of two reasons. First, because the party’s new elite was not ready to delegate the role of campaign leader to anyone who had a chance to become prime minister. Second, it knew how poorly it had performed during its five-year rule. As for the clout of the terrorists, tell me, what was seriously done at a political level against it during the five-year tenure? How many counterterrorism laws were made, how many defensive mechanisms like Nacta devised or any serious investment made in human resource development, witness protection programme or other means to preserve evidence? Failure of delivery was quite evident.

Of course, it is neither for the first time that the PPP has done so badly nor the worst performance of its history. However, in order to stage a comeback, it will have to rely solely on better performance and better election strategy.

The ANP was the actual intended victim of the terrorist threats and has been wiped out of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). It has its weaknesses, too, but perhaps, the failure can be better described in terms of provincial proclivities. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwahas suffered so much since 9/11 that it has not given power to the same party twice. And it is ready to experiment more. The MMA and the ANP have been offered government, once each, and now it is the PTI’s turn. The situation is unenviable but if any government succeeds, it will be rewarded for a lifetime. I foresee the ANP down but not out.

But the real driver of change is the PTI. Earlier, we had two major parties originating from two separate provinces with different dynamics. By challenging each in its power base, the PTI ensures that they will not become complacent.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2013.                                Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.

Reader Comments (5)

  • Mirza
    Jun 1, 2013 - 12:35AM

    A sensible and simple to understand advice to all our leaders. The “science of delivery” is imp indeed. Let us take the example of the US. They have equipped Pakistani army with the latest equipment and planes, gave Pakistan most money than any other country, provided help at every disaster, protected Pakistan from worst terrorists yet their delivery science stinks and people dislike them. On the other hand there are countries who have not given much to Pakistan but we like them.
    The delivery science was ruthlessly used and abused against the last govt. No sooner did they take over there were all the talks about corruption. The cases against Sharif family were in the LHC frozen but the judiciary went after 2-3 decades old cases against PPP and Zardari. The irony is these cases are talked about only when PPP is in power and not when it is out of power.
    ANP and PPP could not deliver their message while hiding in their homes. On the other hand the two prodigies of TTP were free to deliver their messages across the country especially Taliban land. It is time the leadership of these two parties read this advice and learn to improve their delivery. Democracy is bringing more and more competition out and the best delivery of the message would win once again.

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  • Really
    Jun 1, 2013 - 2:49AM

    Noone cares why they lost, why is every second writer here who is a self-professed political analyst writing about PPP’s loss, do you not have anything better to do with your time ?

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  • irfan
    Jun 1, 2013 - 9:16PM

    What is this heading, it looks like, ‘I didn’t go there because he called me, I went there because I wished so’.

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  • Required name
    Jun 1, 2013 - 10:49PM

    Read again. Writer is simply saying that PPP lost because it didn’t delivar and cud not show its face to the ppeople. And this article is not about PPP but better governance

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  • Abd
    Jun 2, 2013 - 3:31AM

    Which better governance have the people voted for Sir. Better governance we saw from 1990-93 and then from 1997-99. If that was better governance and that is what the people have voted for, then May ALLAH be the protector of Pakistan, because future seems to be darker than ever.

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