By Akram Malik
ISLAMABAD, Jul 29 (APP):Overseas Pakistanis and professionals are pinning high hopes on Imran Khan as Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf (PTI) is set to form the next government, saying that the time has come to deliver on his vision of a new, prosperous Pakistan after winning the nation’s trust.
Pakistanis settled in the UK and professionals hailing from his home town said if incentives are given with genuine one-window facilitation to cut through red tap-ism, they would mull over the option of investment for playing their role in the crippling economic crisis, they told APP in their separate comments.
Amman Yusaf, working in optometry in central London said it was encouraging to hear Imran Khan tap the potential of over 7 million overseas Pakistanis fanned out across the globe to surmount the daunting challenge of eliminating corruption.
“But the real hiccup is availability of basic information on-line about investment incentives and sectors where expatriates can invest, garnering prompt responses to their email requests,” he said.
Pakistan’s expatriates will be ready to respond provided they have an iron-guarantee that their investment will remain safe and they will not be dragged into unnecessary litigation by locals. Being able to concentrate on business ventures thus necessitates requisite judicial reforms too, said Amman.
“We’re going to run Pakistan in a way it’s never been run before,” Imran said in his victory speech after he bowled out his opponents while his supporters took to the streets in celebration.
Imran narrowed the focus onto mis-governance which caught the attention of the common man who faces it day in and out during his visit to a government office or a hospital. Instead of being served, the poor chap is made to run from pillar to post to get normal chores done.
“In Pakistan, the main problem is not extremism,” The New York Times quoted Imran saying in a recent interview. “We are a governance failure. And in any third world country, the moment the governance collapses, mafias appear.”
The PTI chief’s emphasis on the rule of law also went down well with overseas Pakistanis like Maham Malik who hails from Namal Valley and has just graduated from Durham University Law School (England) with First Class Honours. When approached, she said “institutions can topple harmful structures of power through the judicial process. The aftermath of the elections reveal the democratic process can do the same. Hearing Imran Khan’s victory speech, I was struck by the wisdom and sincerity in his success,” said Maham, who is also a Harmsworth Scholar at the Honorable Society of Middle Temple in London.
“The underlying theme of his plans for the future rest on the very essence of constitutionalism and power which the law strives to uphold. A leader willing to harmonize the relationship between different arms of government for mutually complementary progress is a great achievement for any nation, let alone a young and fragile democracy like ours. Finally, Pakistanis have a chance to speak truth to power,” said Ms.Malik.
Fahad Malik, an architect based in London commenting on Khan’s address said “ I recently heard Imran’s victory speech, where he extends a hand to overseas Pakistanis to come back and invest in our country. With this in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to extend that hand back.”
With a primary focus on solving the housing crisis facing the country, he hoped the new government would support incentives for architects living abroad to work in Pakistan.
“In most of the world, particularly developing countries, design is considered a luxury and hence not usually afforded. I am astonished at the level of construction happening in my country and in turn distraught at the lack of beautiful design,” Fahad said responding to PTI’s plan to build millions of homes across the country to address shortage of houses.
Meanwhile in his home district Mianwali, the people expect much more to unravel the web of poverty wound around the 238000 souls of this district.
Moeen Abbas, an MBA graduate from Oxford who grew up in Namal proposed that even if the Cattle Market at Bun Hafizjee every Thursday could be expanded into the food-grain market, it could be a harbinger of change in the development of the poor of the area. This Mandi already performs the much needed job of eliminating the middle-man in rural markets.
“Like many small towns, the “Mandi” (market) is deeply rooted in the socio-economic system of Namal Valley. Cobblers and farmers toil all year round, artisans sweat to craft their wares, and people of the valley flock to buy these items at dirt cheap prices,” said Moeen who is working as a consultant in Islamabad.
President of PTI in Namal Mr Shaukat, jubilant over the victory of his party said it was the people’s faith in Imran’s honesty and his vow to rid the country of corruption which captured their imagination.
In the virtual absence of a well-established local bodies system, the constituents in his hometown insisted that parliamentarians carry out development and infrastructure, by building roads and schools.
Howevver, Imran had already won hearts of Namal’s constituents who were the first to elect him as MNA in 2002. In return he set up Namal University, which secures internationally recognized degrees as a University of Bradford affiliate. Nestled in the craggy mountains, it has changed the fate of many in this poverty-stricken area. Imran’s singular achievement also forced the Punjab government to open a college in the area – a dream which had been eluding the people for decades.
A young advocate Bilal Ahmed who practices in Islamabad said the two educational institutions will help alter the destiny of the poor who otherwise cannot think of securing higher education. “They want Imran to set up a crockery manufacturing factory in the area as china clay is being produced in the mountains near Namal university,” said Bilal.
Bilal said the completion of a small dam like Ghambeer Dam, a few miles upstream from Danda Shah Bilawal can irrigate thousands of acres of land in the area of Namal and bring in vast improvements to the living standards and income of poor farmers.