Crises one after another

July 4, 2020

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The way senior government ministers have defended PTI’s performance, especially with regard to their inability to reationalise sugar, wheat or petrol prices, is rather concerning. For one thing, they still seem to think that the best answer to every tough question is blaming practically everything on previous governments. But that leaves them looking a little unaware of how things are really progressing and what actually caused some prices to rise so significantly. In the case of petrol, for example, when asked about the recent decision to ban oil import even when the price in the international market was the lowest it has been in a very long time, all they could really say was that the system was in the hand of some sort of mafia and it would take two-to-three electoral cycles to set things right.
And when asked why they couldn’t bring down sugar prices, or wheat prices, despite all the noise they made about teaching every villain in the supply chain a lesson, once again they spoke of mafias that control everything and implied that the PTI government was going to set things right but such things took time. How far and lost those promises seem now, when PTI first claimed it would clean the house in the first 90 days of its time in office. Then it thought it would need six months, then one year. But now that two years have passed they seem to require two to three terms, things are not really looking on track. And all their arguments about mafias do not even begin to explain their own incompetence and mismanagement. The bit about banning oil import when the price was low cannot reasonably be blamed on any mafia or previous administration. It was the ruling party’s own grave miscalculation, and lack of oversight, that brought things to such a pass. Also, blaming so-called mafias and previous rulers for everything, and asking for a number of terms in office to sort out all the rot, effectively means that consumers can forget about any rationality in prices anytime soon. It also means that the ruling party is now lost in terms of policy and the best it can hope to do is outdo others in the blame game. But that is hardly the right strategy to adopt if it really wants the people to bring it back to power time and again so it can help them in the long term. It seems all ministers also share the prime minister’s feeling that they are indispensable. The way senior government ministers have defended PTI’s performance, especially with regard to their inability to reationalise sugar, wheat or petrol prices, is rather concerning. For one thing, they still seem to think that the best answer to every tough question is blaming practically everything on previous governments.

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