The former captain of Pakistan Cricket Team Imran Khan is all set to take oath in few days and the people of Pakistan have high hopes from his political party; Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) but can the coming government deliver what it has promised? Surely, no one would be more keen to know this than the citizens of Pakistan.
The quest to get the right information regarding the progress of government can become easier if technology is effectively used in civic engagement. The wealth of information available on the internet and on other technological platforms can not only help the citizens to remain informed but also question the elected political leaders regarding their performance.
A Dubai based Pakistani Digital Marketer and entrepreneur Salman Saeed has designed a simple but unique website ‘Khanmeter’ that tracks and records the progress of the 47 promises of PTI. Moreover it keeps the overall governance system at check through a method that is very new in Pakistan.
Salman developed Khanmeter after being inspired by Obameter that tracked the progress of former US president Obama but according to Salman, “the main motivation behind Khanmeter was Imran Khan himself.”
Obameter developed by PolitiFact has been the pioneer of introducing this new form of political accountability where the details of promises kept, broken and compromised were shown. Obameter allowed voters to know the credibility and honesty of Barack Obama and gave them insights into whether they should vote for him again or not. The Obameter tracked a total of 533 promises made by the former US president; at the end of the presidency it was revealed that 258 promises (48.4%) were kept, 129 promises (24.2%) were broken and 146 promises (27.4%) were compromised.
Khanmeter is modelled on the same lines and it provides a detailed breakdown of PTI’s promises. These promises are further divided into seven categories which are economy, agriculture, water, society, security, governance and federation.
Saeed further states, “Majority of our voters have not read the PTI party manifesto but they only voted for PTI party candidates based on the face value of Imran Khan. There are 47 promises made by PTI in their election manifesto that is still available on the party website.”
Since the launch of the website it has received an overwhelming response so far with more than 100,000 visits, over 500 comments, 2700 Facebook likes and over 700 followers on Twitter. Salman has also been contacted by three members of PTI leadership regarding the overall purpose and introducing Khanmeter to the masses through proper channels.
So what’s next for Khanmeter? Despite the brilliant response the biggest challenge Khanmeter would face is to develop an effective process of fact checking. As a digital marketer Salman feels he needs support from the government and experts, including economists, industrialists and academicians who can help him run and sustain the website in an effective manner.
The information given by a common website user would be checked by experts and through other sources. The information would only be uploaded on the website if proper evidence has been provided by the user which can be in the form of a photograph or a video.
Salman has been receiving lots of feedback from Pakistani citizens, Pakistani expats, and even Indian citizens who are appreciative of this initiative. There is great interest from the citizenry in helping Salman improve Khanmeter through the development of mobile apps and making the current website more engaging.
Salman is a firm believer in technology for good and thinks, “Technology is the future for civic engagement. The Government of Pakistan needs to digitize every government process. Digitization would not only smoothen the governance system but it would make it look a lot more transparent and engaging.”
Saeed believes that the coming PTI government should empower local bodies as majority of our basic problems can be solved through proper engagement of local bodies with common citizens. Moreover the government needs to develop a digitization system that is free from any political or bureaucratic pressure.
Khanmeter will start measuring progress once the new government takes charge. Since large scale governance problems cannot be solved completely in 100 days there are plans to use the website as a tool to monitor progress over five years. This can help citizens check the progress of government over an extended period. It would also keep the elected representatives at their toes provided Khanmeter gets the required support from common citizens and experts.