Faisal Vawda, a federal minister and a stalwart of PTI broke the biggest news of the century in a TV talk show ‘Capital Talk’ hosted by Hamid Mir that within a week, ten days or maximum four weeks nobody will remain jobless in the country as the available jobs will outnumber the job seekers. When Hamid Mir pointed out that he was making a sweeping statement which ostensibly was not compatible with the ground realities and he would call him after five weeks to prove that he made the right claim, Faisal retorted that Hamid Mir could cut him into pieces if he was proved wrong.

Taken on its face value it is good news for the millions who are groaning under the burgeoning weight of poverty. One of the major responsibilities and aim of the government and the state is to strive for full employment in the country. However it is easier said than done. The task is complicated arduous and cumbersome due to a host of internal and external factors. Even the developed countries cannot claim full employment in their domains in spite of abundance of resources at their command. Pakistan which is admittedly facing economic crisis of colossal proportions and about whose economy the predictions made by the international lending and rating agencies are dismal to say the least, simply cannot boast of creating jobs for all in such a short span of time even if one concedes that the managers of the economy have a magic wand in their hands. It is like building castles in the air. It is my earnest hope that Faisal Wada was not intoxicated or in a state of mind that scuttles one’s ability to think and act rationally.

The PTI inherited an economy with a GDP growth rate of 5.9 which was highest in the last eight years. The IMF in its latest report on Pakistan’s economy has observed that country’s growth rate stalled in the current fiscal year as external account weakened, while revenue-expenditure gap continues to widen. It has predicted GDP growth rate of 2.9 per cent in 2019 and 2.8 per cent during 2020. Similar forecast was also made by the World Bank recently. As is evident the economy is in a nosedive. Under the prevailing circumstance making such a preposterous claim which is far removed from the ground realities does raise many questions about the ability of the PTI leaders to comprehend the situation in its true perspective and act prudently. Perhaps they are trying to emulate their leader Imran Khan who emerged as a revolutionary on the political horizon on 31 October 2011 promising moon to the people and later transformed himself into a traditional power grabber, when the reality of Pakistani politics dawned on him. What he promised on that fateful can be likened to what Wada has claimed.

The revolutionary narrative of PTI delivered on 31 October 2011 surely attracted the disenfranchised middle classes and the poor segments of the society who identified their desires and requirements with the vision of the new revolutionary. But that was not to be because Imran Khan soon realized that to get into the corridors of power he needed the support and assistance of the electables. That made him to compromise the political ideology of the party. Despite this U-turn the 2013 elections were lost mainly due to the rift in the party as a result of abandoning its ideological course.

Imran Khan in his quest for power even ignored party’s own constitution and forced out two chief election commissioners for attempting to enforce it through the free and fair intra-party elections. The party was taken over by the opportunists who jumped on the bandwagon of PTI after October 2011. They established their ascendency in the party and from ticket allocations to party positions everything was decided by them unilaterally, using the central executive committee as a rubber stamp. Instead of ideals enunciated at the time of its launch, power of money and pursuit of power became the driving force of the party. Much to the chagrin of the ideological workers and leaders, the PTI became an abode of plutocrats, opportunists and camp followers.

The Faustian Bargain struck by Imran Khan converted the party into a flag bearer of the vested interests. He even became part of a conspiracy to dislodge the PML (N) government through unconstitutional means. What transpired during that phase is quite known to the people of Pakistan and the international community and needs not to be repeated.

Fauzia Kasuri a founding member of the PTI in an article published in Express Tribune on 27 March 2018 lamenting party’s loss of its ideals said “All that is left really is the mirage of the PTI’s coronation by the ‘men behind the curtains’. Given our track record, it is more likely that they will take centre stage themselves.” When one considers Imran Khan’s advent to the corridors of power in the backdrop of the allegations made by the opposition parties, the observations of Kasuri seem prophetic to say the least though the men behind the curtains have not taken the centre stage themselves. Chaudhry Nisar an estranged leader of PML (N) commenting on the post-election scenario in the country as reported by the media expressed similar views by saying “Had Nawaz Sharif not taken to confrontation with the establishment the PML (N) would have been in power.”

The PTI again faltered in drawing up a manifesto conforming to the economic and political realities of Pakistan and made unachievable pledges. It will fill volumes to narrate the whole story. The pledges by Imran Khan to build five million houses and creation of 10 million jobs make no sense in view of the precarious economic situation leave aside other similar announcements made by him in regards to the alleviation of poverty from the country. They are all prestige projects having no relevance to the existing and future economic prowess of the country. The PTI is following the same course as was traversed by the previous regimes.

As regards the much trumpeted accountability process, it also very much smacks of political vendetta and a witch-hunt through NAB like it was done by the infamous Ehtsab Bureau headed by Saif-ur-Rehman. It is so unfortunate that a state institution is involved in promoting political agenda of a political party in power to fix its opponents. That surely will have a boomerang effect. The LHC has already held in two cases that NAB had acted with mala fide intent. The ambience of confrontation with the opposition parties in the name of sham accountability is also inimical to the national interests and it would scuttle the efforts to improve the system of governance and changing economic fortunes of the country. PTI therefore needs to come out of the dream world and revisit its political creed in the light of the ground realities. Politics after all is an art of the possible.