First impression suggests newly elected PML-N government is good for nothing

Published on Author K. ShahzadLeave a comment

turmoil, crisisPakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) is political party of Pakistan which came into power via general elections held on 11th may 2013. People of Pakistan were fed up by all the pathetic policies of previous Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government, due the problems they faced like lack of education and health facilities, worst load shedding and lack of even food for less prevailed people of Pakistan who are below the poverty line.

Pakistan Muslim League government in their election campaign made loads of promises with people of Pakistan, all promises concluded to the point as if the PML-N comes into the power, they will give relief to less privileged people and specially those who are below the poverty line. PML-N, a party run by Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shehbaz Sharif (the Sharif Brothers) have already been in power for many times in Punjab province, and two times they held federal office. For last two times when PML-N was in power in center they were not able to complete their term of five years and they had to leave federal office after just three years. Except two transportation mega projects of building two motorways M1 and M2 which connect cities like Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Lahore via three lane road for each side of traffic, PML-N have got nothing on their portfolio for those two times. They also claim that they made Pakistan atomic power, but the point is Pakistan had already 20 years ago successfully tested their atomic capability and those five underground blasts can’t be put on PML-N portfolio because they were built and were there with Pakistanis from long ago.

Getting forward with story PML-N had somehow an excuse that those previous two times their government was not allowed to complete given term of five years so they were not able to deliver well. Lots of people rejected this idea and decided to go for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI: Movement for Justice), a political party headed by a former cricketer Imran Khan, captain of Pakistan team of 1992 which won the only One Day International (ODI) world cup won by Pakistan. He is graduate of Oxford, also runs a world class charity cancer hospital in Pakistan which treats 50% of patients free of cost. So mostly the highly educated people and overseas Pakistanis decided to go for PTI but there were others who wanted to give another chance to PML-N and they were more in numbers.

Somehow, on election day the PML-N took first position with vote bank of whooping 15 million followed by PTI with 7.5 million votes and PPP getting third based on votes around 45 million. PML-N took both the Federal government and also the government of most populated province with holds 60% of Pakistani population.

Despite all that trust people who put in PML-N, after being elected on 11 May 2013, so far the policy of PML-N does not seem doing justice to all those promises made by PML-N in election campaign not so long ago. Its a complete story about how things started go shaky from stable from PML-N after they were elected.

Electricity

Before elections PML-N have been conveying that will throw away the electricity shortage in just first two to three years of their term in federal office, but as soon as they took charge of office, Nawaz claimed that the promise of fixing electricity issues in just two to three years was just some words which were expressed in momentum of speech, issue is lot bigger. Straight away after coming in power they hinted the nation that they are not going to resolve one of core issues of electricity shortage and load shedding for 12 to 18 hours in hot days, any sooner.

Later on the federal minister of water and power stated that electricity shortage is problem of 15 years and will take time in being resolved.  The facts are really different than what they have been telling Pakistan already have production capability over 21 thousand megawatts and in worst hot days the demand or usage reaches just to 18 thousand megawatts. Real problem here is circular debt, which means some richer with bigger influences and some govt organizations do not pay bills on time, some of them are defaulters from many years, but due to corruption on government level no one takes action against them. By the way, due to these defaulters not paying bills, Wapda can not gather even the costs so they don’t pay to power companies, power companies in turn can’t pay to fuel providers resulting in a big portion of plants being shutdown all the time.

Some recent governments including current government other than fixing the problem from root, just do invest few hundred billion rupees every now and then from government’s treasury, the money gathered from people of Pakistan via taxes. The real solution would be to get hold of non payers, lock the defaulter factories/organizations or just cut their power till they pay their bills. Unfortunate fact is that like previous governments current PML-N government doesn’t seem any serious in dealing defaulters and just making fools out of people of Pakistan.

Budget for Fiscal year 2013 – 2014 and excessive taxes

Soon the Nawaz government took federal office, they prepared the budget for 2013-2014 and soon made it public via speech of federal finance minister Ishaq Dar. This budget was again a big disappointment for common man. Lots of promises which were made in pre election speeches of Sharif brothers were not fulfilled at all and lots of things were actually contradicting badly with election campaign of PML-N.

PML-N in pre election campaign had stated that they will give an instant relief to common man, specially people who are below poverty line, instead in election government increased the sales tax from 16% to 17% which directly impacts common man. Also they decided to remove all subsidies from electric supply, also instant price hikes are being seen in all forms of fuels, petroleum products, power and CNG etc.

PML-N had promised the laborers that their minimum pays will be increased to Rs. 18000 (150 USD) from current Rs. 6000 (60 USD) but nothing like that was seen in budget, which was disappointment for lots of people. That minimum limit was not raised even a Rupee. Similarly, PML-N Government declared that inflation rate of last year was 15% in Pakistan, also they set target of 8% for this year, but still they initially does not increased a single rupee in government employees salary in budget and pensions of previously retired govt employees were increased just 10%. Later on when people started withdrawing the support PML-N announced 10% increase in salaries of public sector employees. So final appraisal was like 10% increase of salaries and pensions, which is nothing if we keep the current inflation rates in view. Real Inflation figures are much more higher than the ones government declared officially.

Talking of taxes, collectively on cell phone users the tax was 29.5%, which was 10% Withholding tax or the advanced income tax and 19.5% was Federal Excise Duty (FED). Current PML-N Government increased it to 34.5% with 5% increase in withholding tax (WHT). Theoretically the WHT is advanced income tax which can be adjusted in annual income tax statement but the issue is government imposed these taxes on prepaid well which are also being used by people who have lower incomes and they don’t even come in tax net, so they don’t have a way to get back the 15% extra money which they would have paid as withholding tax.

Another thing in budget, in which government made itself look like they are giving benefit to people was 100% tax rebate on import of hybrid vehicles up to 1200cc, late we came to know that not much of any car exist in that CC range which will be of any benefit for people of Pakistan, keeping in view the affordability and benefits after that like saving fuel. So basically this was also an attempt to make fools of Pakistani people.

Also PML-N had promised the youngsters in their election campaign, that they will release loans with no interests to youngsters, which they can use to setup new businesses and built their homes etc. Budget revealed that no interest loans would only be up to Rs. 50,000 (500 USD) and above that the interest rate of 8% would be applicable. 50 thousand is nothing for building home or starting business as promised, a very average kind of low end home in a city costs at least 8 million Rupees (80,000 USD) in Pakistan.

Lots of bigger businesses are already pulling out of Pakistan, Siemens had already pulled out in tenure of last government, HSBC Bank is already pulling out and now as PML-N took charge Internet Service Provider (ISP) LinkDotNet have also started pulling out of country officially, due to government policies which favor another telecom giant called Pakistan Telecommunications Company (PTCL) in the country.  PTCL was previously government owned but now already have been privatized and Etiolated manages it. On a side note PTCL have wider spectrum of services but have most pathetic customer support, which makes it useless for people. Still unfortunately situation tells that it would be only option for Pakistanis in near future.

So the performance of PML-N till now is nothing less that unsatisfactory, I still want to give them time, so that they could make things right, otherwise getting out of federal office will surely be their fate exactly as Pakistan Peoples Party is doing after a real bad defeat in recent elections. May Allah Bless Pakistan.

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