Imran Khan’s 100 days in office as Pakistan’s leader: Scorecard

Cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), gives a speech as he declares victory in the general election in Islamabad, Pakistan, in this still image from a July 26, 2018 handout video by PTI. PTI handout/via REUTERS TV

Elected on high hopes to battle corruption and fix Pakistan’s economic malaise, Prime Minister Imran Khan set a raft of ambitious targets for his first 100 days in office.

The South Asian nation has made progress on some pledges, but finances are dwindling and Islamabad is negotiating an International Monetary Fund bailout. The government has also been distracted by a right-wing religious backlash. Critics have also pointed to mixed messages, U-turns and a lack of coordination across Khan’s inexperienced administration.

“The government is still stuck on the economy, avoiding bold steps,” said Dawood Mamoon, the director of research at the Islamabad-based Policy Research Institute of Market Economy, or PRIME. “They are fire-fighting at the moment.”

Despite his rhetoric for change, Khan hasn’t made significant headway during the first hundred days, according to a review published last week by PRIME. His administration has completed 43 percent of its set tasks, almost half of those being the creation of task forces or staff appointments, according to the government’s tracking website.

The former cricket star and his top leadership are sincere about implementing structural reforms and eradicating deep-rooted corruption, according to Western diplomats and government officials. But the government is in disarray, with multiple ministries unable to execute decisions, they said, asking not to be identified to avoid fall out with Khan’s administration.

Naeem ul Haque and Iftikhar Durrani, special assistants to Khan, didn’t answer calls seeking comment. The ruling Movement for Justice party says it is delivering on its pledges and that opinion polls show Pakistanis support their efforts. Khan will give a speech on Thursday in Islamabad highlighting his government’s achievements.

Here is the status of Khan’s 100-day pledges:

– Pledge: $12 billion gap.

Status: Not completed.

The nation planned to get financing secured within the first 100 days as it becomes all “the more expensive” as time passes, Finance Minister Asad Umar told Bloomberg in August. Saudi Arabia deposited $1 billion this month of a total $3 billion it pledged to boost the country’s foreign exchange reserves. Talks with the IMF were extended this month after failing to agree on terms for a bailout.

– Pledge: Tamasek-style fund

Status: Not completed.

Pakistan planned to create a fund like Singapore’s Tamasek to move state-owned companies away from ministry and political intervention in the first 100 days. The new government has completed a study on the loss making state-owned units, but hasn’t completed the transfer that is aimed to turnaround the companies with new private sector management.

– Pledge: Decrease gas price for industries.

Status: In progress.

To become regionally competitive and boost exports, the government announced that it will decrease gas prices for factories, but industrialists complained that the new price has not been reflected in the subsequent month bill.

– Pledge: Decrease fuel prices by removing taxes.

Status: Completed.

Pakistan decreased tax by as much as half, reducing gasoline and diesel prices in September.

– Pledge: Anti-corruption drive.

Status: In progress.

The government has started investigations into previous government contracts — from gas to housing. However, the leaders of opposition parties allege the anti-corruption drive is selective and targeting the ruling party’s opponents.

– Pledge: Appointments by merit.

Status: Failed

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