Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses lawmakers after being elected by the National Assembly in Islamabad on August 17, 2018. Photo: AFP/ handout
Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses lawmakers after being elected by the National Assembly in Islamabad on August 17, 2018. Photo: AFP/ handout

Back in May, well before the general election, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) announced its first-100-days plan, promising to transform governance standards, strengthen the federation, revitalize the economy, revolutionize social services, ensure national security and overhaul the agricultural sector, among other goals, if it won election.

After the election on July 25, PTI emerged as the largest party in the National Assembly, having good representation in every province. PTI chairman Imran Khan then became the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan, after a sustained struggle of 22 years, which made him possible to rule 220 million hearts and souls of Pakistanis.

In two provinces, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, PTI formed majority governments. In Balochistan province it is a partner in a  coalition government, while in Sindh province its presence is as a strong opposition.

Khan’s political opponents are criticizing his 100-days plan, terming it nothing more than a political slogan. They do not think he will be able to achieve his goals in 100 days, seeing the plan as just a campaign gimmick.

They also think that like other political parties in past, PTI makes promises to attract voters and, after winning election, will forget everything except making money and becoming rich. They also criticize his cabinet, term it a “Musharraf cabinet.”

Yes, Pakistan is facing serious challenges. The last few governments, because of incompetence and disloyalty to the country, have pushed Pakistan into its darkest era. Foreign debt has increased to about US$95 billion. The debt-service burden alone is too difficult for Pakistan to cover. It might need to borrow more money to just to pay the interest on what it has already borrowed. The situation is rather complex and the challenges are very severe. It will be very uphill task.

To my understanding of Imran Khan, he is an honest and committed person. He left his luxurious life in the UK and returned to Pakistan with only one mission – to serve his nation. He faced many ups and downs during his 22-year struggle, weathering very difficult situations, but never gave up.

He is a strong personality, and his loyalty to the country and sincerity with the people of Pakistan cannot be challenged. Even his political opponents have not been able to deny his commitment and devotion to the nation. He serves the nation religiously.

He has announced his 21-member cabinet, which comprises 16 federal ministers and five advisers. Having looked deeply at his cabinet, one can conclude that merit, relevance and qualification were the only criteria for forming his cabinet.

He also has included a few professionals who were not from his political party, which shows that he does not care about political affiliation, but merit is the only consideration in his mind.

He is in the process of forming an advisory council, which will act as a think-tank to advise his government on various issues, which will ensure the delivery of good governance.

He was against nepotism and built his team on merit. But finding the right man for the right job is only half of the work. The rest will be managing his team, monitoring and motivating them.

He offered himself for accountability and believes in accountability of everyone irrespective of status or party affiliation. It can be foreseen that accountability will be an ongoing policy in his government.

Although the goals are rather high and the issues complicated, we expect that he will successfully meet the expectations of the people of Pakistan. This is because he has won the support of the people, and they will extend all possible assistance to him to achieve his targets.

The people and their government are on the same frequency for the first time in the long history of Pakistan. It is an opportunity for the nation to change its destiny and carry out “Naya (New) Pakistan” reform. A prosperous and stable Pakistan is a common dream of its 220 million people.

Professor Zamir Ahmed Awan is a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Chinese Studies Center of Excellence, Islamabad, Pakistan. Posted to the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing as science counselor (technical affairs) from 2010-16, he was responsible for promoting cooperation between Pakistan and China in science, technology, and higher education.