The feverish pace with which Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif has been doing his homework, appears to reflect the much hoped desire, that he really does mean business. An encouraging plan, unveiled on Thursday, his first day in office, was a relatively sound strategy to try and reduce the loadshedding crisis, as produced by the task force constituted to examine the crisis in its various dimensions. A gradual reduction in the period of power shutdowns on a monthly basis will be the evidence of the success of this plan, which will be plain for every Pakistani to see, or not see, as the case may be. Sharif proposes to begins with removing incompetent heads of institutions connected with the business of generating and supplying electricity to the consumer, shutting down worn out plants and energising those that are lying idle for want of repairs or spares. One of the planks of the strategy is the conversion of certain power producing units to run on coal instead, at present, of operating on oil or gas. The recovery of dues from defaulters would be an uphill task, since only influential persons can commit that crime and get away with it. But success in this too is only going to be in the people's favour. But, given the sincerity of purpose, they can be made to pay. The same would hold true for power thefts; though, in this sly game ordinary people cannot always claim innocence. Much easier would be to ensure the government departments and ministries to pay and keep the expense within the allocated limits. With these recoveries, the government proposes to retire the circular debt gradually. The Prime Minister also directed the concerned authorities to take action on a war footing to execute projects that were economically and technically viable. All this must not simply be empty rhetoric; the fate of those who failed to deliver contains a dire message for the new ruling setup. The will that Mian Sharif keeps reiterating he has, has led to the hope that Pakistan may soon be on an upward trajectory of its goal of economic recovery.
Meanwhile, on the international front, Mian Nawaz has directed foreign missions to pursue an aggressive policy of economic cooperation; friendlier relations with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran; strengthened strategic cooperation with China, and improved ties with Russia. With the US, obviously stressing upon a lot of common ground, he intends to build on it and on points of divergence make attempts at minimising or removing them. The other priority challenge of terrorism is not given quite the same, necessary attention. In the words of Foreign Office spokesman, the Prime Minister would evolve a comprehensive strategy after taking into confidence other stakeholders. One only wishes that whatever is its final shape it proves effective and the country is rid of at least the most severe of ills that ail it.