In what looks like an exercise to justify the tax-heavy budget that his economic team has come up with, Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the nation hours after the noisy budget session — sometime around midnight. The PM explained his ‘compulsion’ of loading the budget with harsh measures, citing lack of money and resources that he, like always, blamed on nothing else but the ‘corruption’ of previous rulers. His narrative of why he has had to burden the masses with a huge amount of taxes was rather long, and attempted to convince them that he was sincerely focused on righting ‘the wrong’ done before him, but 10 months were not enough a time for the purpose, and people need to be patient with him. In the context, the PM mentioned that Riyasat-e-Madina was not built in a day and “there was a process in turning it into a welfare state”.
On what’s going to be the way forward and how he will go about his vision of a Madina-like welfare state, the PM declared that with a bit of break from the pressure to stabilise the economy, he would now focus his energies on catching the ‘corrupt politicians’ by constituting a high-powered inquiry commission with a one-point agenda to probe how the debt soared by Rs24,000 billion in 10 years, referring to the two five-year terms in government led by the PPP and the PML-N. He said the commission would comprise the Federal Investigation Agency, the Intelligence Bureau, the Inter-Services Intelligence, the Federal Board of Revenue and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.
So the PM has now taken it upon himself to ensure that the corrupt must not go scot-free — something that he has advocated all his years in politics, and promised so in his party’s election manifesto. But as he moves about fulfilling his promise, he must make sure that the proposed accountability process does not smack of vengeance and political victimisation. When instituted and rolled into action, the inquiry commission must treat all equally — be it somebody from the government or the opposition. It must be accountability for all.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2019.
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