By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi – 29th April, 2019
Nov, 2017 – PM Imran sharing his plans on Pakistan in his longest media interview ever
In November 2017, 9 months before he became PM, a very upbeat and confident Imran Khan, perhaps gave his longest and most wide ranging TV interview ever. 1 hour and 7 minutes.
We discussed his questionable choice of electables to bring Tabdeeli.
How he plans to reform institutions, especially the Punjab Bureaucracy.
His views on then MD PTV, Ataullah Qasmi and I can’t help but contrast this with his treatment of his own handpicked MD, PTV, Arshad Khan, who he threw under the bus.
How Sharifs destroyed institutions by appointing incompetent, inexperienced people to senior posiitions and his plans to address this.
His views about Jehangir Tareen and Aleem Khan and the criticism that Jehangir Tareen controlled him and basically ran the party.
His plans to address the economic crisis, the fiscal and current account deficits, FBR reform, increase taxation and exports.
The charge of being a Taliban sympathiser.
His plans for civil service reforms.
Criticism about the Peshawar BRT.
Review of CPEC projects.
Now 9 months into his Prime Ministership it is interesting to see how successful he’s been.
But in all fairness to him and his government, many are long term.
To me of particular interest were his comments about merit and competence in appointments, economic reforms, reforming the Punjab bureaucracy and Police, FBR and Civil Service reforms.
While I’ve temporarily moved away from political commentary, but believe that this interview is a must watch to understand the contrast between being in opposition and in power and the current situation in Pakistan.
Also its worth noting, that, to date, Imran has not given a single one on one interview to any Pakistani anchor since taking oath. One of his media handlers, who earlier was rejected by him for the post of MD, PTV, because of his tainted past in the same role, now periodically “selects” groups of “gentle” anchors.
A huge contrast and departure from Imran’s bold free wheeling confident chats and interviews when he was in opposition.
While I’m not amongst the chosen who have access to him, although Imran personally promised me, thrice, his first interview to a Pakistani anchor, after being elected, I hope he comes out of his cocoon and the Castle his handlers have captured him in and plead his case to the people who had, perhaps still have faith in him, as well as all others in Pakistan!
But clearly from the interview we can see that IK had, perhaps still has, his heart in the right place. And he may yet pull an “Imran rabbit” out his hat, as he has done in the past.
We hope he is able to understand better, the art of governance, gets a group of extremely competent advisors around him to fill his inexperience gap and as per his own criteria, appoint the right people for the right roles!
But the Jury is still out on him and his government, as they’ve 4 years to go.
Our hopes and prayers for Pakistan.
Salaams and Prayers.