ISLAMABAD: Overseas Pakistanis and professionals are pinning high hopes on Imran Khan as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is set to form the next government, saying that the time has come to deliver on his vision of a new, prosperous Pakistan after winning the nation’s trust.
Pakistanis settled in the UK and professionals hailing from his hometown said that if incentives are given with genuine one-window facilitation to cut through red tape, they would mull over the option of investment for playing their role in the crippling economic crisis, they said in their separate comments.
Amman Yusaf, working in optometry in central London, said that it was encouraging to hear Imran Khan tap the potential of over seven million overseas Pakistanis fanned out across the globe to surmount the daunting challenge of eliminating corruption.
“But the real hiccup is the availability of basic information online about investment incentives and sectors where expatriates can invest, garnering prompt responses to their email requests,” he said. Pakistan’s expatriates will be ready to respond provided they have an iron-guarantee that their investment will remain safe and they will not be dragged into unnecessary litigation by locals.
Being able to concentrate on business ventures thus necessitates requisite judicial reforms too, said Amman. “We’re going to run Pakistan in a way it’s never been run before,” Imran said in his victory speech after he bowled out his opponents while his supporters took to the streets in celebration.
Imran narrowed the focus on bad governance, which caught the attention of the common man who faces it day in and out during his visit to a government office or a hospital. “In Pakistan, the main problem is not extremism,” The New York Times quoted Imran saying in a recent interview. “We are a governance failure. And in any third world country, the moment the governance collapses, mafias appear.”
The PTI chief’s emphasis on the rule of law also went down well with overseas Pakistanis like Maham Malik, who hails from Namal Valley and has just graduated from Durham University Law School. When approached, she said, “Institutions can topple harmful structures of power through the judicial process. The aftermath of the elections reveals the democratic process can do the same. Hearing Imran Khan’s victory speech, I was struck by the wisdom and sincerity in his success.”
Fahad Malik, an architect based in London commenting on Khan’s address said, “I recently heard Imran’s victory speech, where he extends a hand to overseas Pakistanis to come back and invest in our country. With this in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to extend that hand back.”
Meanwhile, in Imran Khan’s home district Mianwali, the people expect much more to unravel the web of poverty wound around the 238,000 people of this district. Moeen Abbas, an MBA graduate from Oxford who grew up in Namal, proposed that even if the Cattle Market at Bun Hafizjee every Thursday could be expanded into the food-grain market, it could be a harbinger of change in the development of the poor of the area.
PTI Namal President Mr Shaukat said that it was the people’s faith in Imran’s honesty and his vow to rid the country of corruption which captured their imagination. In the virtual absence of a well-established local bodies system, the constituents in his hometown insisted that parliamentarians carry out development and infrastructure, by building roads and schools.
However, Imran had already won hearts of Namal’s constituents who were the first to elect him as MNA in 2002. In return, he set up Namal University, which secures internationally recognised degrees as a University of Bradford affiliate.
Nestled in the craggy mountains, it has changed the fate of many in this poverty-stricken area. Imran’s singular achievement also forced the Punjab government to open a college in the area – a dream which had been eluding the people for decades.
Bilal Ahmed, a young advocate who practices in Islamabad, said that the two educational institutions will help alter the destiny of the poor who otherwise cannot think of securing higher education. “They want Imran to set up a crockery manufacturing factory in the area as china clay is being produced in the mountains near Namal University,” said Ahmed.
He said the completion of a small dam like Ghambeer Dam, a few miles upstream from Danda Shah Bilawal can irrigate thousands of acres in the area near Namal and bring in vast improvements to the living standards and income of poor farmers.