Half way into the tenure there seems to be a welcome shift in the priorities of the Federal Government. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) is known for its strategy of visible development: construction of underpasses, roads and public transport. The strategy has no doubt worked well for the party as the public is usually swayed by such flashy projects. The 30 billion Lahore Metro Bus Service inaugurated shortly before the 2013 General Elections was seen as a key factor for the party’s dominance in Lahore. Many other roads, underpasses and flyover projects have also been completed in the city but the party has nonetheless faced criticism for severely neglecting the health and education sector. Post 2013 elections it was expected that there will be a shift in the party’s policy but the expectation was misplaced the PMLN Government kicked off its tenure in the centre by announcing a whole array of roads and mass transit projects. The 50 billion metro bus project in Rawalpindi-Islamabad completed earlier this year was seen as vote gaining gimmick by many political analysts. Provision of clean water, health and education facilities and rampant crime were some of the issues that should have been prioritized instead of multi-billion transit projects.
However the welcome shift in the Government’s priorities came with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif unveiling a comprehensive overhaul of the capital’s government schools and colleges and pledged major investment in teacher training and building improvements. The multi-million programme developed by Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the PM’s daughter addresses widespread concern about dilapidated buildings and low teaching standards in government schools and colleges. It is hoped that such initiatives would be extended for the health sector, which at present is in desperate need of attention.
PM’s education reforms programme is a welcome shift in Government’s priorities.