The new government is already on the right path, in terms of having a limited number of ministers in the cabinet. We must stick to it till the time our political setup is matured and the ministers are capable of developing national strategies relating to their ministries. Currently, it seems that most of the ministers are expected to be just harkaras (couriers). Hence, reduction in their number would not matter anyway.In terms of austerity measures, it has been a great initiative of the Punjab government to introduce a one-dish system for weddings and also conclude them within the stipulated time. This should be extended to all provinces; in fact, the PML-N government must immediately introduce it in the capital, as it has done in Punjab. It should also go a step further and regulate the dowry system that is still prevalent in Pakistan. Further, we have a great infrastructure still available across the country in the shape of government schools, which once were primary institutions. Let’s revitalise them by providing the necessary facilities and inducting talented pool of teachers by revamping the education cadre. If we could have specialist cadres for teachers, doctors and engineers at par with the generalist cadres of the federal civil services, one could rest assured that the talent would prefer to have careers in these fields. This would be cost effective, since the basic structure still exists. Perhaps, we could learn from Singapore’s experience. Undoubtedly, PTI would support such an initiative, as it is in line with its manifesto. In fact, there is hardly any significant difference between the manifestos of PTI and PML-N.Let’s take all political stakeholders on board. We should also listen to Imran Khan; he is the son of the soil and a national hero. He too may have some good ideas. In reality, any strategy that is formulated with consensus has a better chance of delivery and survival in the long run. Let’s endeavour to have one system of education across the country, and all public and private schools, as well as madrassas, must be regulated and follow the same government approved syllabus. The people should be on the same page, at least on social initiatives. The question, however, remains: is it possible for the political parties in power at the provincial and federal levels to sign a charter or protocol of political courtesy and decency, which they must follow at all times in the context of inter-government relations and irrespective of their differences at any point in time? If this happens, we would certainly look like a mature and seasoned democracy.It would, indeed, be a great legacy of the government if it could put an end to the discretionary policies. The allotment of plots to certain cadres of the civil and military bureaucracy, and even the civil society, is a case in point. The government must come up with a stated employment policy clearly stipulating the entitlements. Any discretion above the stated entitlements of various cadres must be avoided. They must be chalked out and documented in a transparent manner. This will also be in the interest of such cadres that, rightly or wrongly, are often criticised on this account and also viewed with suspicion.The idea of the federal and provincial governments to seek applications from top professionals to fill up leadership positions in various public sector corporations is, indeed, great. The process of talent hunt involves attracting, screening, selection and then taking them on board. The process of first attracting and then screening would be a gigantic exercise and the government may not have the appropriate resources to do this. Let this, according to the government prescribed criterion, be done by the third parties, i.e. ‘head-hunting’ firms. There are local as well as international consulting firms, which search talent for their clients. The government must realise that the CEOs are not searched these days through advertisements in the newspapers. It may end up with the run-of-the-mill stuff. All big corporations do it through “head-hunters” in confidence.The people at the helm of affairs must know that five years tenure may seem to be a long-term phenomenon, but gazing at their impatience and misery, the poor masses may not have the capacity to wait that long. The first 100 or even 200 days of the new government would be critical and if the nation does not see at least a directional change, then we may be heading for big trouble. Historically speaking, revolutionists have only first few months to get underway and set the direction failing which the history adopts its own course.

nThe writer is a lawyer and former senior corporate executive based at Islamabad.