What can the people of Pakistan expect? What are we doing, and what will we have achieved when our 100 days are up? Exactly what we said we would.
Our 100-Day Agenda outlined the themes we would focus on, and the specific deliverables we pledged. Those who care about policy should read this document at least once. Because many of us in the government read it every day. And progress against each commitment is being tracked at the highest levels of government. This week, in an unprecedented step towards transparency in government, we have launched our website that would enable the public to hold us to account against our commitments.
This will come as news to a populace accustomed to seeing plans and manifestos chucked in the bin the day after a general election.
What follows, while not exhaustive, will give a flavour of what the government is up to, and what the public can expect, before the morning of November 28th 2018.
Our first theme of focus is governance. Before the 100-day mark, our provincial partners will present draft legislation to amend local government laws, devolving powers further, in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. This will lay the groundwork for a more inclusive, participatory democracy, more responsive to the needs of the people.
As promised, our colleagues in Punjab are preparing a draft Police Act, which will aim to replicate K-P’s successful police reforms. We aspire to a day when every thana in the country will be a model thana.
At the centre, in line with our commitment, a Civil Service Reforms Task Force has been formed under Dr Ishrat Hussain’s leadership. This team, already hard at work, will present its reform timeline next month. This is the first step of the transformative change in governance we aim to see through. Our plan will include features to combat political influence, ensure appropriate compensation, and strengthen performance management. Many before us have failed in this quest. Which is why, after finalising viable policies, we will drive these reforms to their logical end with unwavering commitment for as long as it takes.
Our second theme of focus is strengthening the federation. This will require heavy lifting to address grievances in Balochistan, the former Fata, and South Punjab. And to maximise the federation’s potential, we must maximise Karachi’s potential. The city of lights has been neglected for too long. We promised to bring this neglect to an end, and on the Election Day, the people of this great city responded with a resounding vote of confidence. We will not let them down.
Within our first 100 days, the governor of Sindh will fulfil our vow to announce a Karachi master plan.
It is no secret that our government inherited an imbalanced economy, on the edge of insolvency. Fighting this fire is our most urgent task.
In this vein, as promised, before the end of next month, we will present our plan to build skills and create 10 million jobs, identify land available for the fulfilment of what will be the most ambitious housing policy in Pakistan’s history, and nominate four new tourist destinations to help boost tourism. We have begun the process of re-imagining CPEC as a true economic corridor, and are prioritising projects that will help our precarious trade balance. We are also aiming to expand the scope of CPEC to include human development projects. Before the 100-day mark, we will publish a refined CPEC strategy, which will guide our efforts throughout our term and beyond.
Before the end of November, in collaboration with our provincial colleagues, we will unveil agriculture and livestock road maps, and show material progress on the finalisation of provincial water master plans.
As our provincial government did in K-P previously, we aim to revolutionise social-service delivery across Pakistan. Health, education, social safety nets, women’s development and the provision of clean drinking water are all critical; not just to develop Pakistan’s human capital, but also as a moral imperative for a just society. These areas will be the key factor differentiating us from our predecessors. Our teams in the provinces are developing detailed, viable, road maps in all these areas, and we will share them publicly within our first 100 days. In tandem, next month, we will begin rolling out our flagship health insurance programme, Sehat Insaf, in erstwhile Fata and Punjab, kick-starting the provision of free health insurance to our society’s most vulnerable.
Our reviews of internal security policy and foreign policy priorities will also be complete at the end of 100 days.
Rome was not built in a day, and Pakistan will not be completely transformed in a 100 days. We did not, and could not have, promised that. What we promised, and what we will deliver, is a real change in direction, and material progress in that direction. We are well on our way, and invite all Pakistanis to hold us to account to the promises we made in our 100-day agenda. Beyond 100 days, we will be accountable to the people for the implementation of our road maps, and for the impact that this implementation will create.
Be unsparing in your criticism of our failures, be generous in your praise of our successes, and, as Pakistanis, do wish us the very best of luck.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2018.
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