K-P lacks capacity to fill vacuum in army operation areas

(Eschmall Sardar, Peshawar)

According to various apolitical and independent assessments or polls, the performance of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf in Khyber Pakhtukhwa has remained satisfactory. They have also witnessed failures of the Pervez Khattak government; especially no arrangement has been made to build the capacity of civilian administration that may replace the army especially in the areas where the military had to conduct operations, since 2009. Army has done an exemplary job, but the question is whether the civilians are ready to take over? Secondly, has the K-P government any de-radicalization plan to take out the roots of terrorism?

Yes, according to the assessment, corruption is far less than the levels set by the ANP, PPP and the holy fathers of the MMA; Peshawar city has been cleared of encroachments; the main road leading from Motorway-I toll plaza to Hayatabad has been spruced up; attempts have been made to improve the health and education sectors; the attendance of staff has shown good improvement; a good law for Local Bodies has been legislated; Police Department has been given good resources and is quite active; protocol does not become a nuisance; cooperation with the Armed Forces over the National Action Plan has been good; and the waste disposal mechanism has been streamlined.

However, all is not well at the K-P’s end. The assessment report says mega corruption is controlled but then there aren't any mega projects in hand; corruption in police and revenue departments is there contrary to claims. No university or major hospital for tertiary treatment has been opened. There's no special cardio care hospital in the entire province. Roads are in miserable shape; projects move at snail’s pace compared to the Punjab province. Public transport in major cities including Peshawar is in very bad condition. There are multiple centres of power and Chief Minister Pervez Khattak is at times defied. Some centres of power are outside the province. The divisions within the PTI are affecting the performance of the provincial government. Accountability Commission and ACE are practically locked out. The MDs of Bank of Khyber and PEDO have spoken out against corruption and nepotism; Shakil Durrani has already resigned. For three years 40 percent of the development budget has lapsed. The Local Bodies and Accountability Acts have been amended making them ineffective, but still it is better than the other provinces. The corrupt officials of the previous governments have not been touched, while investment in the infrastructure and public transport has been negligible. Overall the expectations remain unfulfilled.

The 13-point agenda of change and development which Imran Khan, the PTI Chairman, spelled out on July 25 has although been given after three years, yet it gives hope for the future prospects of the party performance as well as improvement in the lives of people of the province. This means Imran Khan still retains reasonable degree of popularity and the spirit to change the lot of the people. If he had not diverted most of his time to politics of agitation and dharnas and had concentrated of K-P to show it as a model to Punjab, then he could have created differences of greater degree as compared to other provinces. He has wasted time on agitation and eroded his popularity. “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has nothing tangible to show. If this continues he would be losing the 2018 elections in Punjab.”

Has K-P been able to address the most challenging threat of terrorism is a question which needs answer. The PTI government seems indifferent to it, probably keeping in mind that the army is handling it independently and effectively. What is the role of K-P government in resettling and rehabilitating the IDPs from Waziristan leaves a big question mark. Above all is the lack of capability and capacity building of the political administration and civilian setup to offer an able replacement to the army in areas where military operations were recently conducted. This has to be taken in mind that army for longer period of time cannot and should not stay in the troubled areas, like Swat, etc. The internal security dynamics have to be handed over to police and local law enforcement agencies. The 13-point agenda of change and development must have included a comprehensive deradicalisation plan in order to extirpate the roots of terrorism. The PTI government in K-P, as well as governments of other provinces, needs to realize this fact, sooner the better.

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