Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has left for China on a two-day visit to attend the annual meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) being held in Beijing. There, he is likely to sign 27 MoUs and agreements – 21 related to energy production – amounting to an estimated total of $33 billion. Much of this would have already been done had the Chinese President not cancelled his visit to Pakistan last month owing to the sit-ins in Islamabad. The government had blamed the PTI of doing a great disservice to the country by disrupting its efforts to bring in investment aimed at infrastructure development, energy production, reconstruction of roads and new railway lines. Now that the government has been allowed to proceed according to its wishes, it should expect scrutiny on how business is conducted and what rewards the country will receive as a result of investment.

As always, there are serious concerns over transparency. For political opponents to scream “corruption” and “kickbacks” on every occasion is rather unfortunate. What is more unfortunate however, is that they are mostly right, as evident from our track record. Yes, most accusations made in the past remain unsubstantiated in a court of law. Still, controversies can be avoided by ensuring transparency. Why hide if there’s nothing to hide? Why not be open towards scrutiny and accountability when it can serve to restore confidence of the people in their government? Not just that, it restores investor confidence, which the government keeps talking about. Performance remains the best defense that the government can offer against the onslaught from the PTI and other opposition parties. Every crisis, it is said, presents an opportunity. Any government which solves the energy crisis that severely affects the lives of people across the country will emerge as a hero. It could be Nawaz Sharif’s second atomic blast. It is hoped that the proposed projects are completed within the deadline and the budget, unlike several other occasions involving great promises and disappointing outcomes.