As the heat from the opposition over the Panama Leaks intensified, the Prime Minister went ahead and did what he does best; announce development projects to counter the reproach reverberating from his critics. The not-so significant trip to Bannu rings with a lack of substance and political motive. As the PM promised to shower projects such as an international airport for Bannu, he did so while taking a dig at the ruling party in KPK, saying, “Repeat with me: This is the real ‘Naya Pakistan’.” The people of Bannu could very well do with a new airport, but isn’t the timing of the bestowing of these mega projects too coincidental for everyone’s comfort?

His speech was directed at PTI as a clear way to undermine the work that has been done in KPK by the ruling party. The PML-N has a long-standing history of splashing money on tangible objects so the ‘proof’ of prosperity is none too obvious. Expressways and high-rises are more visible than indicators of health or education and staying true to this ideology, PM Nawaz Sharif went on to announce a series of infrastructural and power projects for KP, including a university in Lakki Marwat, development of the Baran Dam in Bannu, an electricity transmission project for Bannu and reparation of the Indus Highway from Rangeela to Dera Ismail Khan.

The district of Bannu has always been strategically important, especially in the light of the development of the famed China Pakistan Economic Corridor, but why has it only now come on the radar of the PM? Will the people of these underdeveloped areas be swayed with promises made to support personal agendas or stay true to the PTI government, who through trial and error have worked hard to gain a support base in the region?

The PM has gone on a spree of announcements of megaprojects across the country; he announced the National Health Programme for 76,000 families in Balochistan, as well as other development projects in Mansehra. Announcing them is well and good but is there even a well-thought out plan behind these projects? It all seems murky at the moment and lacks thorough thought and accountability. How long can the PML-N government keep up this tactic of deflection from real issues? What is next on the government’s agenda – handing out cash prizes on the street? People may be distracted temporarily but answers will have to be given sooner or later.