Five facts which go in favour of Pakistan’s new PM Raja Pervez Ashraf – by Ali Tahir

Ashraf is the first political worker at the grass root level to become PM. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

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Although our new prime minister – the largely unpopular Raja Parvaiz Ashraf – has been ridiculed on social media sites and other public forums with nicknames such as ‘Raja Rental’, credit should be given where it’s due. So I have penned down five factual points which go in favour of our new PM.

1.  A political worker at the grass root level:

While we have had prime ministers who belonged to the lower middle class before ─ Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, for example ─ never has a political worker at the grass root level clinched the premiership. This marks the first occasion that a usual district level political worker has made it as the chief executive of the country.

2.  Social Action Program:

Most of our journalists are not aware of the fact that Raja Parvaiz Ashraf chaired the ‘Social Action Program’ from 1994 to 1996. Not only was it a successful chairmanship, surprisingly financial corruption was never alleged, which is a norm in Pakistani politics. It included the supply of medicine and financial aid, and promoted women empowerment at the district level.

3.  Loyalty:

It is a widely known fact Ashraf is a PPP loyalist and has never left the party in 30 years of his political career, even in days of widespread political victimisation of democratic workers. He was also offered a place in the PPP-Patriots, which later became the Q-League when he won the 2002 elections, but he chose to stay in the PPP.

This speaks volumes of strong character.

4. 3,700 MW added to national grid:

While Ashraf is infamous for his public declarations about putting anend to loadshedding by the end of December 2009, ─ which obviously never happened ─ it completely overshadows the fact, that 3,700 megawatts of electricity was added to the national grid in his stint as the Minister for Water and Power. The electricity shortfall was much lower in his stint than the one we currently face.

5. Tolerance:

Not only has our new PM shown tolerance towards the remarks passed about him by the opposition and on the news, sometimes he has even replied with a smile on his face.

This is a testament to his ability to remain in control of his emotions – a trait that many of our other politicians can learn from.

Moreover, he has never challenged the Supreme Court like other PPP stalwarts have done time to time. It is commonly assumed that the Supreme Court is hearing corruption cases against Raja Pervaiz, but this isn’t factual. The Supreme Court has ordered an inquiry into the matters decided by the Water and Power department of the federal government, and the inquiry will question former ministers and secretaries of the department. No corruption case is being heard, prima facie, against our PM in person.

I wish Prime Minister Ashraf the very best of luck to lead the country and pray to God to bless our nation. Every member of the National Assembly has a right to become the prime minister with the consent of the parliament.

If the process of election of our Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has been procedurally correct, he has every right to run this country as its chief executive.

Source: Express Tribune




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