PM Khan's maiden address reflective of adviser Ishrat Hussain's vision

06:16 PM | 20 Aug, 2018
PM Khan's maiden address reflective of adviser Ishrat Hussain's vision
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ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan outlined his vision for 'Naya Pakistan', promising sweeping changes at a massive level, to cut down on expenses and to introduce structural reforms for revamping the cash-strapped country.

In his inaugural address to the nation after assuming office, the 65-year-old leader gave an arguably impressive speech, which was deeply rooted in the vision of Ishrat Hussain, his adviser on Institutional Reforms and Austerity.

Though Khan read the pivotal points of his speech written on a paper, the crux of his address was already outlined in Ishrat Hussain's book 'Governing the Ungovernable'.

Imran Khan talked about bringing reforms in key departments and categorically mentioned the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to increase the tax base. The same financial entity was mentioned by Hussain in Chapter 16 of the book, stressing that mass reforms are needed to be introduced.

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Ishrat Hussain also called for reforms in Pakistan Agricultural Research Centre (PARC) which was not directly named by Imran Khan, however, he covered the subject by announcing that the farmers would reap benefits after the implementation of policies by the PTI government.

Imran Khan also talked about creating business opportunities in the country for which Ishrat Hussain had highlighted in his book that Pakistan ranks at 147th spot on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business owing to administrative lacunae.

The 22nd Prime Minister of the country also discussed the judicial system of Pakistan and stressed the need for improvement. In this regard, Dr Ishrat Hussain expressed similar views in his book.

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'Victims of crime do not report to police stations because they do not believe that their complaints will be redressed,' stated Ishrat in his book, in line with what Imran Khan highlighted yesterday with a personal experience.

Imran Khan has expressed that he will talk to the Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar so that the civil cases can be winded up in a span of year; Ishrat Hussain also mentioned exactly the same points in his book.

The cricketer-turned-politician also stressed the need for a robust accountability system in the country that starts from the top, in a vivid reflection of what Ishrat Hussain outlined in his chapter titled 'Restructuring Key Institutions'.

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'Delegate the powers to the head of the organization to appoint the professional staff and human resources of calibre through an open, transparent process,' stated Hussain in his ingredients for strengthening the institutions, which were highlighted by the premier a day earlier.

Imran Khan's pledge to hold himself accountable before the parliament also seems to be an inspiration from the findings of Hussain who mentioned the initiative as a crucial ingredient for revamping the institutions of the country.

Pakistan's recently elected premier also talked about the sad state of affairs in the civil service and police; Ishrat Hussain sensed the same fault lines and mentioned it in his book.

'Reforms in police, of the civil service, revenue administration, land management, judiciary, and delivery of social services, must be undertaken to set the country in the right direction,' Hussain had mentioned in his piece.

Imran Khan also kept the education and health sectors at the centre of his speech, calling for reforms in seminaries, government schools and hospitals so that the children can be taught state of the art curriculum; the former state bank governor also outlined that ghost schools should be discontinued and health facilities should be improved.

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Imran Khan's agenda of introducing a national health care system and emphasizing the need for cleanliness across the country also reflects the vision of Ishrat Hussain who cited institutional decay and governance deficit as the core reason behind such problems.

It appears that Dr Ishrat Hussain will work in liaison with Imran Khan in days to come to introduce reforms and materialize the dream of 'Naya Pakistan' - a phrase Imran Khan opts to relate to his brand of enlightened Pakistan.