On May 20, the Chairman of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan presented his ambitious plan to positively transform Pakistan in 100 days if he comes to power. This plan, which was also presented by the key leaders of his party, touched upon vital issues related to governance, economy, education, health and matters concerning Karachi, South Punjab and Balochistan. Earlier, in a public meeting in Lahore, Imran Khan had presented his 11-point agenda to restructure Pakistan as a welfare state by ensuring good governance, rule of law, social justice and a better future for the people of the country. Within a span of a couple of hours, critics lambasted the 100 day plan, terming it childish, impracticable and a ‘copy-paste’ of Ahsan Iqbal’s vision 2025 programme. They also argued that when PTI couldn’t positively transform Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) despite being in power for five years, it couldn’t hope to bring radical socio-economic changes throughout the country within such a short period? Yet, there is some merit and substance in Imran Khan’s agenda because it addresses critical issues that impact all of it’s citizens. The two political parties which have ruled Pakistan for several decades miserably failed to eradicate poverty, corruption, nepotism, ensure good governance and the rule of law. Pakistan is grappling with the legacy of regimes that compromised on the country’s national and human security at the cost of human and social development. That it has deviated from its path by embracing corrupt and opportunist people has disillusioned many of PTI’s former supporters Those supporting PTI and Imran Khan’s agenda of change and a ‘Naya’ Pakistan argue that if PPP and PML-N have had several terms at the federal level, PTI also deserves a chance. They cite massive reforms in police, health, the justice system, education and in other fields during PTI”s government in KP over the last five years as evidence of the party’s capability and capacity to free Pakistan from corruption, nepotism, bad governance, absence of the rule of law, economic crises and political schisms. During his presentation in Islamabad on May 20 on the 100 day plan, Imran Khan lamented that, “a civilized society is not known by how many big houses are constructed in Defence Housing Authorities, or now in Bahria town but how people in the slums live. These 100 days reflect the path for which the country was made.” PTI leaders announced that in five years of their term, its government will provide 10 million jobs and construct 5 million low cost houses for the common people. PTI announced that a “Council of business leaders” would be created to improve Pakistan’s global business standing”. Khan also said that the “Pakistan Wealth Fund” would be created to fund institutions such as the Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Steel Mills and power distribution companies to bring revolutionary changes in them. In a nutshell, PTI 11 point plan and program of first 100 days in power should be taken seriously instead of being ridiculed by opponents. Unfortunately, there exists a serious trust deficit at the popular level because people are very suspicious of politicians’ tall claims, in view of the fact that they have often been let down in the past. They have suffered enormously at the hands of those political parties who got their votes and instead of delivering while in power were involved in loot and plunder of national wealth and resources. PTI has tried to bridge the trust deficit between the voter and the candidate in elections, but one needs to wait and see how the PTI will perform if it comes to power in the forthcoming general elections. One can observe three advantages which PTI can make use of in the coming elections in order to win the voters’ confidence. Firstly, Imran Khan must be consistent in defending his agenda of change for Pakistan because of his unusual status as far as financial corruption is concerned. His clear, articulate and courageous stance on resolving issues which have plunged the country in a vicious cycle of corruption, nepotism and bad governance gives the party an edge over others. Secondly, PTI is amongst the few major political parties which have not had a chance to form the centre yet. Otherwise, other political parties like PPP-P, PML-N, Awami National Party (ANP) Jamiat-i-Ulemai Islam (JUI) and Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) have taken their share in power. Now, it will be up to the PTI to come up with how it deals with the challenge and performs if it gains a majority in the next general elections. Ground realities shaping the politics in Pakistan prove the fact that it will be an uphill task to fulfill people’s expectations despite the claims made by PTI that it is ready to govern and implement its manifesto for building a new Pakistan. Finally, it is a plus point for PTI that it is not just concentrated in one province as is the case with other parties. PTI has a sizeable following in two out of four provinces. In almost all the by-elections which took place in Punjab following 2013 elections, PTI was either number two or won. Over a period of five years, PTI has been able to build a sizeable vote bank in different constituencies. It has not invested much time or energy in Balochistan, but in Sindh it plans to give a tough time to both the PPP and MQM. This is not to say that the PTI doesn’t have its drawback. One major grey area for Imran Khan and his PTI is the lack of committed and dedicated leaders. A large number of turncoats have managed to jump on the PTI bandwagon. Such people are not reliable, and this prompted the departure of one of the oldest and most diehard PTI workers and leaders Fouzia Kasuri. That it has deviated from its path by embracing corrupt and opportunist people has disillusioned many of PTI’s former supporters. Major contradictions in what Imran Khan says and does also tend to reflect another grey area. It is yet to be seen who will be the “Rasputin” (a Russian monk who along with the wife of Czar Nicholas II was held responsible for contributing to the down fall of Czarist Russia Empire in 1917) for Imran Khan, guiding him to his downfall! Another major shortcoming for PTI is the failure of Imran Khan to train his party workers, many of whom lack discipline and ethical values. The use of abusive language against political opponents is common in the PTIs ranks, particularly the incident of slapping a federal minister by a PTI leader in a live talk show of a TV channel cannot be ignored. The same problem was also faced by the PPP when it was led by its founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Imran Khan and PTI should have used their popularity to train their workers to follow proper work ethics. They should show respect for the law, be tolerant and civilized and should appear to be focused on developing civic sense, respect for women and minority communities. Unfortunately, the workers and most of the leaders of PTI lack political maturity and don’t have a sensible approach to many critical issues. If this does not change, then what will be the difference between PTI and other political parties, parties that have a feudal mindset and who run by sycophants and corrupt opportunists? The writer is Meritorious Professor of International Relations, University of Karachi. He can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, June 1st 2018.