The government is expected to face a tough challenge in the National Assembly (NA) from the opposition after its proposition of formulating a media regulatory body which will not only be responsible for the scrutiny of content on mainstream media but social media as well, and the taking back the subsidy offered to the metro bus project to increase the cost of the ticket because offering this subsidy puts a lot of pressure on the economic situation of the country. The problem here is that both the decisions need to be taken with all the relevant stakeholders on board and also after a thorough discussion in the parliament.

The use of executive authority in both matters is bound to make the opposition and the relevant stakeholders left out of the decision-making process, which will make the implementation of these policies difficult. Up until now, the country has been running smoothly with all the different media regulatory bodies. Joining them under a single umbrella gives the impression of increasing control over the national narrative. A feasible solution to this problem is involving media bodies and discussing problem areas to find the solutions they propose to improve the situation. The freedom of media is important in a democratic polity and dissenting voices should have space to highlight their concerns. The opposition will be expected to fight tooth and nail in the assembly, and the government needs to have its answers ready.

An even greater fight can be expected on the metro bus subsidy; slashing the subsidy – and reducing the efficacy of the previous government’s flagship infrastructure project – will not sit easy with the Opposition. Admittedly, offering a subsidy on a large scale is bound to affect the economy, however, there is another aspect to the project which must not be neglected. The project offers transport to many individuals who are not as privileged and buying such cheap bus tickets makes mobility easier for them. Since the new government took charge, the price hikes in gas and electricity have already frustrated the common man. Along with the increase in prices of basic necessities due to the drop in the price of the Rupee, if transport is also made costly, the public may find the piled up burdens too much to bear. The citizens of Lahore, Multan and twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi use these services on a daily basis – their situation must be taken into account.