Power struggles and broken promises in Pakistan


In the framework of political governance, a leader’s primary responsibility is to guarantee the well-being of his people through effective and efficient administration. Good governance remains the hallmark of a functioning society, where the rule of law and efficient governmental oversight/ administration are used to promote growth and stability. The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) in Pakistan is known for its distinct cultural and societal values, educational standards, civic sense and unparalleled political awareness. Ironically, however, KP province has not been getting rulers, corresponding to its stature. KP is unfortunately burdened with a leadership that lacks the wisdom and sincerity, needed to translate hollow political claims into tangible benefits for the people. The current stewardship of Ali Amin Gandapur is essentially characterized by a succession of rhetorical outbursts and controversial political stunts.

Ali Amin Gandapur’s appointment as Chief Minister of KP was preceded by a slew of high promises and fictitious daydreaming spells. His lack of vision and inability to stop militancy is now drawing public ire. Frequent and massive changes in bureaucracy on political accounts are further compounding the situation. However, as time has passed, Gundapur’s hollow promises have mostly gone unmet, resulting in a striking contrast between Gandapur’s rhetoric and the ground reality.

Gandapur’s bold vow to stop militancy, including the idea that even the Pakistan Army’s vehicles should be subject to civilian scrutiny on various check posts, is in sharp contrast to the security milieu in his native district ie. Dera Ismail Khan. That part of KP is now effectively under militants’ control, due to poor governance. Recently, a local Member of Parliament publicly admitted that he could not safely visit his constituency. This indifference or inability to tackle security issues demonstrates a considerable disparity between Gandapur’s claims and his administration’s prowess.

Gandapur’s demand for the immediate transfer of the KPK Chief Secretary reflected his desire for expedited administrative reforms. However, his failure to replace even the Deputy Commissioner of Peshawar, who was accused of manipulating election results against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidates, reflects poorly on his grip on such affairs. This failure to undertake critical reforms within the administrative structure proves his ineffectiveness as a leader.

One of the most important challenges facing KP under Gandapur’s rule is chronic power theft that results in load shedding. The province has the highest rates of power theft in the country, which Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) authorities alone cannot handle. It is the role of the local administration to work with power distribution firms and disconnect people, who do not pay their bills. Gandapur’s failure to solve this issue has not only aggravated the power shortage but also created a misleading narrative about load shedding, misinforming the people and instilling a sense of unfairness. Such reckless behavior from the political supremo of the province cannot be discounted.

Most recently, a seemingly resolved dispute between the Centre and KPK over load shedding, resurfaced when KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur gave an ultimatum to PESCO to decrease outages to 12 hours per day. Despite an earlier agreement to fix power shortages—with PESCO reporting losses of up to 60%—Gandapur, who was in Dera Ismail Khan for the Eid holidays, went to a nearby grid station to implement his instructions forcibly. Other parliamentarians from PTI also interfered in respective areas of influence, across the province to prevent load shedding during Eid. This left Federal Energy Minister Awais Leghari with no choice but to request the Interior Ministry’s assistance owing to the KPK Police’s unwillingness to file FIRs against people, who were frantically disturbing the power layout in the grid stations. Adding insult to injury, Gandapur accused the Federal Government of failing to meet its pledges besides demanding Rs1.6 trillion for KP and threatening to derail the IMF deal, unless the province’s dues were paid. Despite promises to alleviate power failures, extended outages and interference with PESCO power operations continue, illustrating Gandapur’s combative and chaotic governance style.

Gandapur’s threats to cut off energy supplies to the rest of the country, if KPK is not sufficiently supplied with power and until the Federal Government does not pay the province’s power-generating dues, underline his uncompromising yet stubborn posture. As a matter of fact, his refusal to take control of power distribution corporations, has resulted in ongoing electrical shortages. In other regions, the length of load shedding has risen despite his claims. This ongoing issue highlights yet another instance in which Gandapur’s big promises have failed to convert into meaningful actions.

Section 186 of the Pakistan Penal Code states that if a person interferes with the operations of the Government, he may face one year in prison and a fine of 50,000 rupees. Is it not interference with the Government’s work if someone enters the Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Headquarters and pushes the Government to stray from its schedule? Furthermore, the individual warned the Police, “Beware, if you register an FIR without asking me and on the instructions of WAPDA, I will see you.” Isn’t this interfering with the Government’s work?

There should be no politics of severing hands, shattering skulls, and calling Government officials derogatory names. Ali Amin Gandapur of the PTI exemplifies this style of politics, which is uncivilised and non-productive. Ali Amin Gandapur has been the subject of media attention every day since he assumed office. It is amazing that Imran Khan, the founder and chairman of the PTI, has given Ali Amin Gandapur his blessings since he cannot make such claims without them.

Ali Amin Gandapur’s time as Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been marked by a succession of unmet promises and acts that frequently contradict his public declarations. His failure to successfully suppress militancy, execute administrative improvements, and handle power distribution difficulties demonstrates a major disconnect between his words and reality. As public dissatisfaction deepens, Gandapur’s actions must become more aligned with his promises to restore confidence and meet the expectations that propelled him to power. The onus is on Gandapur and his administration to close the gap and strive towards demonstrable changes consistent with their earlier pledges, ensuring that the essence of political order is maintained via good governance. KP definitely deserves better leadership and a bright future. a bright future.

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