A NEW PAKISTAN
By Simon Templar
Austerity, simplicity, accountability. First words from a brave, bold new leader.
The paper lions and self styled Emperor's are gone.
Caged,shackled and locked up to rot with nary a whimper.
Flying back with his princess, he expected a devoted and determined sea of humanity to break down all barriers, receive him a la Erdogan, and carry him back to the throne.
Alas it was not to be!
Not even his brother bothered to show up to receive him, what to speak of the steel ball bearings!
Man generally sacrifices his all for his children.
Even animals have this trait.
Mr Sharif is an interesting exception in the sense that he has sacrificed his entire family to safeguard his I'll gotten wealth.
Rarely hase a former PM, his daughter, son in law and grandson been locked up at the same time.
Had the sons not been absconders, they would have met the same fate.
Brave boys, facing hecklers and egg pelters in London, while they gladly sent ageing father and delicate sister home to face incarceration.
That's all in the past.
The people have spoken, and the first Ray's of a new Dawn are to be seen.
There are no easy victories for Mr Khan.
The real battle and test are yet to begin.
He inherits an insolvent economy in tatters, declining exports, crushing debt, hostile neighbors, a broken power sector, a growing water crisis, a massive population, millions out of school.
The grim reality is that there are no easy solutions, no low hanging fruit, nothing that is quickly deliverable.
The opposition will be robust, the critics watching like Hawks, the media has it's knives sharpened, shrieking at every chink they find in his armor.
The brave and resolute warrior cricketer turned politician will have his work cut out for him.
The one thing he may, rather must do is to tame and control Pakistan's cancerous bureacracy.
The enablers, the facilitators, the corruptor's, the joy riders.
Those who laugh in the evenings over fine scotch as they narrate tales of how they bungled or blocked some proposal while simultaneously enriching themselves.
Those who craft junkets abroad, live in sprawling homes, misuse half a dozen vehicles each, grow fat on official meals and deliver nothing to the nation.
Sell off the palatial residences, privatise the white elephants, stop foreign travel, ban purchase of new cars, seize and sell all luxury SUV's I say.
Does a country groaning under a staggering $80 billion foreign debt really need it's dull, plodding, inefficient civil serpeants to be chauffeured around in quarter million dollar SUV's?
Also less government, please!
A PTI goal should be a 25% reduction in size, payroll and number of departments per year.
Ronald Reagen became the darling of the voters when he implemented his agenda of reducing the size of the US government.
"Less government is the only good government" he would say to wild cheers and thunderous applause.
The reality is that the real cancer in Pakistan are the civilian state institutions.
Ponderous, bloated, overstaffed, unwieldy and inefficient to the point of actually being dysfunctional.
It's the elephant in the room, and it has become unmanageable as it is obstructive, counterproductive, choking the life out of it's citizens and the private sector.
The state is supposed to be a regulator, not an operator.
Government reform and reduction, austerity, rightsizing are things Mr Khan can do...and must do.
Such acts will be visible, popular and appluded by the people and press alike.
Let us see if he and his team have the vision, understanding and resolve to follow through.
It will be a tragedy if team PTI too become helpless stooges, listening in fascination to the self serving inane mumbo jumbo peddled so eloquently by the despicable civil serpeants of Pakistan!
This remains to be seen!
The writer is a geo-strategist based in Brussels who retains a keen interest in Pakistan.