LAHORE   -  The PML-N and the PPP in the election campaign had committed to the masses about addressing their woes at the earliest on coming to power but they never made such a tall claim as did the PTI about showing a distinction from the previous governments in the first 100 days in power in this respect.

At a time when gains and pains of the PTI during its 100 days in the office are being weighed, propriety demands that performance of other political parties should also be gauged to see how they acted to address the problems of immediate attention in their early months in the power.

Compare to the government of the said two parties, the PTI has bequeathed problems at a larger scale and in difficult circumstances.

As to the PPP, it gained power through 2008 in the background of assassination of their party chairperson and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. This tragic incident attached huge sympathies with the PPP which raised not only its vote bank but also enabled it to win the polls and form government. At that time the PPP did not make any tall claims of changing destiny of the nation within days despite the fact, the problems like load-shedding, price hike, increasing burden of loans, less money for development and social sector programmes, shaky confidence of the investors, US pressure for doing more and more in the war on terror, were all there. The experts assessed the victory of the PPP at that time more out of public sympathy than any other factor.

It may be mentioned that despite ills and rash decisions, the fact remains that during regime of Musharraf, the economy of the country had never been staggering as it was witnessed during the following PPP and the PML-N governments. Today all problems revolved around the feeble economy on the old realization that only an economically strong Pakistan can independently frame its policies and assert its position as an atomic power in the international politics that is very much relevant to this country due to its geopolitical location.

It is noteworthy, that the PPP had Musharraf as president when it came into power. As such it prioritized replacement of the president to put the country purely on democratic track. At the same time, it noted the energy crisis and decided to get rental power plants to meet the needs. It also worked on the 18th Constitutional Amendment in the early days of rule and also went for IMF bailout package, however, the financial crisis was not that irksome for PPP government given low current account deficit, and reasonable foreign reserves left by the past government. The PPP government did not take any major decision on its foreign and economic policy and also took time to announce its policies on social and development sectors as it awaited approval of the 18th Amendment that devolved the presidential powers to the parliament and abolished the concurrent list whereof the provinces were rendered autonomy in many areas particularly education and health. No programme was announced in the early days to control price hike and provide relief to the layman.

The PML-N in the campaign for May 2013 election highlighted those issues which the PPP government had failed to address. As such this party promised the masses before the election for taking up the issues like electricity crisis, terrorism, economic degeneration, law and order situation particularly in Karachi, insurgency in Balochistan, and foreign policies on priority basis but it did not fix 100-day for doing all that.

On coming to power, the PML-N government paid Rs480billion circular debt to the fuel companies to provide immediate relief against electricity shortage. However a mystery remained there over the facts as to where this money came from. The PML-N government also faced weak foreign reserves, and fears of default issues and it escaped the same by getting loans from the IMF. The Saudi gift of $1.5billion helped the government much to cushion the financial crunch.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited China in the early days and was able to secure a number of economic projects agreements, including that to execute CPEC on fast track and build Orange Line Train in Lahore. It also announced measures for the completion of Nandipur and Neelam- Jhelum hydal schemes. The prices of the items of daily use also increased while the electricity tariff and fuel prices were enhanced during early days of the Nawaz government.

In the early days, the PML-N government addressed the menace of terrorism and took decisions which later led to an APC that evolving a political consensus on chartering National Action Plan. Looking at slow pace of the PPP-initiated Aghaze Hoqooqe Programme to address the woes of Balochistan, the PML-N started to focus Balochistan more minutely and pumped in billions of rupees to provide facilities to the people of that province in the first budget. On the Baloch missing persons issue, it formed a commission in the early period but the issue continued to simmer in the time to come. From the beginning, the PML-N government made efforts to ease tensions with Afghanistan and India on LoC. In early months, no permanent foreign minister was deputed that kept Pakistan at sea in addressing vital issues particularly relating to the USA.

The government also addressed the problems in Karachi and with the help of army the crime rate was controlled.

Unlike the PTI government, the PML-N government did not resort to accountability process and get back the Pakistan money laundered by the influential people through foreign route. However, in the later period it announced to get back $200billion of Pakistanis stashed in Swiss banks but no serious efforts were made on this count as this money matter diluted into a myth.