PTI governance in Pakistani province criticized

By Izhar Ullah  |  Nov. 16, 2013 at 5:37 PM
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PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Nov. 16 (UPI Next) --

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has promised to end unrest in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the six months since it won elections there in May, but critics say it is clear the party is not up to the challenge of governing the province.

The PTI had strong support before the elections, especially among younger voters, who believed in the party's promise to create "Naya Pakistan," a new Pakistan. Young people now seem to have lost hope, however.

Ahsan Hamid Durrani, who represents the province in the National Youth Assembly, a model legislative body for the nation’s young people, told UPI Next he is "unsatisfied" with the PTI in overcoming unrest.

"PTI needs a mature and relevant approach toward the war against terror," he told UPI Next.

Despite such PTI government actions as creation of an online tool to report crimes and passing legislation to make government more accountable, critics say the basic security situation has gotten much worse, with more bombings and civilian deaths.

Aqeel Yousafzai, an analyst in Peshawar with the Center for Research and Security Studies, a Pakistani think tank, told UPI Next, "There is no road map with the PTI-led coalition government for governing the province."

Yousafzai said PTI's elected provincial assembly members do not get along with other parties' elected members. They also get into disagreements with senior bureaucrats, he said.

Yousafzai said the government is having trouble keeping the post of Peshawar's chief of police filled. The last chief took a long leave in September after only 18 days on the job. He had filled the position after his predecessor also took a leave.

"There is no cooperation between the executive and legislature in the provincial assembly," Yousafzai said. Ministers from parties in the coalition government do not have good relationships with each other, he said. These ministers have also created their own alliances within the provincial assembly.

Yousafzai said that while he endorsed the government's stance on U.S. drone strikes -- that the United States must immediately cease drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas -- the PTI must address security in the province.

"Most of the provincial territories are also under attack. There needs to be a clear policy to overcome the unrest," Yousafzai told UPI Next.

According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal in New Delhi, 459 civilians and security forces members were killed in terrorist violence between May and October in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, almost the same level as the 461 killed during all of last year under the Awami National Party government.

ANP Central Vice President Bushra Gohar told UPI Next, "There is no direction with PTI to fulfill the promises made by them to the public."

She said PTI has no policy for overcoming the unrest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

”They have a soft spot for militants and that has cemented the way for militants to carry on with their activities in Peshawar's outskirts Gohar said.
Gohar said that while the government accountability legislation and online crime reporting were improvements, there should have been more open debate in the assembly.

She criticized the provincial government for taking its direction from party members outside the province.

"PTI is dictating from Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad in the form of different committees by neglecting the experts in our province," Gohar said.

Fakhr-ul-Zaman, PTI president for the district of Lower Dir and in charge of all party activities there, told UPI Next PTI has not had enough time to make the needed changes. He said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has many problems and addressing them will require more time. He said the PTI government will formulate its "own policy for dialogue with militants if the federal government fails."

He said dialogue with militants is the only option for controlling the unrest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Zaman rejected Gohar's allegations that PTI was taking outside advice.

He said PTI is not dictating from other cities and that the role of PTI committees in other cities is "just for monitoring, checks and balances, and working as an advisory board."

As to Yousafzai's claim that the provincial government is struggling with the bureaucracy, Zaman told UPI Next, "the bureaucracy is not cooperating with the KP government."



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