Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has made some explosive revelations by claiming that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) failed to bring “tabdeeli” [change] due to the in-fighting between Asad Umar, Jahangir Tareen and Shah Mahmood Qureshi after the formation of its government, which was followed by the ouster of the political class from Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan’s core team.
“This political vacuum was then filled by new and non-elected people who did not have anything to do with politics,” the minister said in an interview with VOA Urdu.
Talking to senior journalist Suhail Warraich, Fawad revealed that Tareen was responsible for Asad Umar losing his Finance Ministry portfolio. When asked why was there so much in-fighting among PTI ranks, he said when Umar was the Finance Minister, Tareen got him fired.
“Now when Umar got back in the government, he got rid of Tareen. Qureshi and Tareen also had meetings but things didn’t work out between the two.”
He maintained that party groupings were a norm but PTI’s internal fighting between top leaders led to their replacement by bureaucrats, which compromised PM’s reform agenda.
Fawad added that the PTI government was now just another government as its agenda of carrying out police and judicial among other reforms now faced an uncertain future.
CIVILIAN SUPREMACY AND OPPOSITION:
To another question, he said that people say there should be civilian supremacy and the military’s role in politics should be curtailed, but they should also take a look at the parliament and provincial lawmakers. “How can there be civilian supremacy under such leadership?” Ultimately, this is about human resources, he added.
Criticising the opposition for having a limited vision due to dynastic politics, he also questioned why PM Imran had not developed any new and capable leadership.
“We can understand why Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto put weak people in important positions because their vision was to transfer leadership to their own children. Imran doesn’t have this problem. He should have placed the best at powerful positions but somehow, he was advised by someone to place weak people in powerful positions so that they can be dictated. This only damaged Imran. He is far bigger than what he looks like right now.”
When asked how bureaucrats and special advisors to the PM were all-powerful without any resistance from the political class, he said that most people worked with the status quo. “If you can’t balance politics and governance, then it is a problem. PM Imran knows this… he recently warned his cabinet that we have five and a half months to improve our performance, otherwise time will run out for us.” He added that they didn’t have a political or governance-reform team.
PRESIDENTIAL FORM OF GOVT?
Fawad said that in a parliamentary form of government, experts are brought in to consult in the decision-making process but decision-making has to be done by elected politicians. “This is the basic difference between parliamentary democracy and a presidential system.”
When asked if the country was now moving towards a presidential form of government, he said that the appointment of so many advisors or special assistants, and elected people not being invited to participate in key decision-making, put a question mark on parliamentary form of government. “Imran Khan’s failure is not the failure of an individual; the entire nation’s hopes are pinned on his success. If the military and other state institutions are supporting the PM, it is because there are no other political options.”
He also said that while parliamentary form of government was not the most competent, it was still the most powerful. “Ideas cannot be implemented without a good team and human resource.”
It is not the first time Fawad Chaudhry has criticised the PTI government for favouring non-elected or weak people in key positions. Last year following a major cabinet reshuffle that led to Asad Umar losing his ministry while Fawad Chaudhry and several others were given new portfolios, Chaudhry lamented in an interview that at times, important decisions were taken “and we don’t even know”.