LONDON: Imran Khan’s services to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) make him a hero. His party has successfully brought revolutionary changes to almost every department in the province. The most remarkable achievement is the political awareness that has developed. Common folk have made their appearance in the political process. This is a landmark development towards reshaping the political arena of Pakistan. The people of K-P rightly opted to bring a party to power that doesn’t stand on aristocracy or family politics. K-P was once considered the most corrupt province, according to Transparency International. Imran Khan had promised before the 2013 general elections that if given the opportunity, he would wipe out corruption from K-P and so far, the PTI government seems to be working towards this goal successfully. Imran Khan has already removed two K-P ministers on public complaints of corruption, which is admirable. Suffice it to say that not a single scandal has been caught by the watchful media even though all eyes have been set on the K-P government, and wherever irregularities have been pointed, action has been taken. In addition, the PTI government has brought in the Right to Information (RTI) law, which can further help identify corruption. Under this law, any citizen can write a request to any government department, without any fees, asking for any information about the working of the department. The applicant, under the RTI law, is not required to disclose reasons for demanding the information.
The complete depoliticisation of the K-P police system is a remarkable achievement. The ruling party and its ministers do not use the police for personal purposes. Hundreds of police officials have been terminated or demoted on complaints of corruption and misuse of power. There is also zero political interference and involvement in the selection, recruitment and promotion of officers and personnel. A merit-based system has been introduced for recruitment. In addition, the cumbersome process of filing FIRs and complaints has been simplified to an extent that they can now be filed online. In addition, the Peshawar High Court has introduced the e-Citizens Grievance Redressal System — a unique justice system through which distressed citizens can receive attention and justice for their cases within a matter of hours.
In hospitals, thanks to several ongoing healthcare reforms and campaigns, cleanliness, access to medical facilities and hospital management have improved. All treatments in emergency wards are free. A World Health Organisation delegation, which met Imran Khan recently, congratulated him on a successful anti-polio drive in the province. Also, so far, K-P is the only province in Pakistan providing health insurance to its citizens. A survey conducted by a reputable publication in 2014 showed that K-P’s health sector had shown a remarkable 72 per cent improvement — far more than any improvement in this sector in other provinces. With respect to the education sector, school data is now available online. Thousands of teachers have been recruited, educational programmes have been expanded and biometric systems have been introduced to improve teacher and student attendance. Plans to set up an education city are underway. The above-mentioned survey had also reported that the province’s education sector had shown a remarkable 70 per cent improvement. Additionally, the PTI has implemented reforms in the areas of revenue collection, women and minority rights, accountability, environment, tourism and citizen rights. I hope Imran Khan develops K-P to such an extent that the rest of Pakistan refuses to be led by anyone else but Khan himself.
Dr Ali Ahmad
Published in The Express Tribune.