By Raza Ruman
A caretaker government of technocrats is going to be installed in Pakistan — this is the talk of town here these days.
Ousted prime minister Imran Khan has voiced concern that such a proposal was under consideration by the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Former chairman of the Federal Bureau of Revenue Shabbar Zaidi in an interview with a private TV news channel on Tuesday said that discussions were going on to replace the current government with a caretaker setup comprising experts.
It is believed that such a government would rule for a period of about two and half years and take difficult decisions to stabilise the economy which the elected government cannot take due to fear of losing public support.
“There is hearsay about a technocrat government to be installed in Pakistan for two-and-a-half years and this compels me to believe that the Shehbaz Sharif government is not interested in holding general elections anytime soon,” 70-year-old Khan told a group of senior journalists at his Zaman Park residence here on Wednesday evening.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman warned against installing a technocrat set-up and said that only the military establishment had the role of calling snap polls.
“The establishment means the Army chief. It is more important to convince the establishment to call early elections than the incumbent Shehbaz Sharif’s government as a solution to the country’s problems, including economic and terrorism, lies in fresh polls,” Khan said.
The cricketer-turned-politician cited the example of the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971, saying if any political engineering is attempted in the next general elections the results will not be good.
“The mandate of the largest party in East Pakistan was not accepted (in March 1971 elections) and as a result, the country was divided into two,” he said.
On the other hand, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said there is no credence to reports that a plan to install a “technocrat government” is afoot.
“We have not received any message or signal from the (military) establishment,” the minister said in reply to a question on the issue.
Sanaullah believes it is Khan who has floated this idea of technocrat set up in the country on someone’s behalf.
“Seeing snap polls, not insight, Imran Khan has floated this idea at the whims of someone (in power corridors). Khan may be given some message from somewhere in this respect,” the interior minister said.
Rumours of the technocrat government are doing the rounds following the coalition government’s failure to handle the economic crisis. The PTI and several economic experts are predicting Pakistan’s default in the coming days.
Khan said the threat of default has increased to 90 per cent which was 5 per cent during his government.
The idea of forming a technocrat government makes rounds every time the country lands in economic trouble. It had been partially tested by military dictators, including Pervez Musharraf, but without any success.
As the economy continues to sink and the security situation deteriorates due to the rise in militancy, once again it is being presented in TV talk shows as a solution to many ills of Pakistan.
Pakistan is in need of funds to bolster its struggling economy, amplified by devastating floods that affected the country’s agriculture and infrastructure in recent months.
Since his ouster in April, Khan has been demanding snap polls in Pakistan. The term of the current National Assembly will end in August 2023.
Let’s see if this experiment if made works. PAK DESTINY