Frequent changes by Tribune Editorial

There is the inconsistency in the PM's statemen

In a recent speech in the National Assembly, PM Imran Khan noted that quick changes at the helm are a perfect recipe for destroying institutions. The PM is speaking from experience and is mostly correct. He had a sluggish start to his time as captain of the national cricket team before going on to become one of the most successful leaders the boys in green ever had. In a broader sense, every new leader comes with his or her own vision and management style. Organisations take time adjusting to these and can sometimes slump before settling in on the path to success.

It is healthy to give new leaders time to get the job done, but the amount of time depends on how much of a learning curve is allowed. There is also the problem of how to react when that curve looks more like a cliff, which has been the case with many of the PM’s questionable appointments. That is the case with PIA which the PM was referring to in his parliament speech. He said the PIA had undergone frequent changes at the helm that was a major factor behind its “collapse” as an institution.

Meanwhile, there is the inconsistency in the PM’s statement. If he is intent on letting top appointees see their charges through to success, why has the head of the FBR been changed four times since Imran came to power less than two years ago? Keep in mind that many of the FBR’s failings during this time trace back to government policies that the revenue board only enforces. The crafting of these flawed policies is up to the cabinet and parliament.

Most recently, Nausheen Javaid Amjad was removed from the FBR, in violation of the government’s own appointment policy which was supposed to ensure continuity and consistency in policies. Amjad’s removal after just three months gave her the ignominious honour of having the second-shortest term as FBR chief ever. The shortest? Rukhsana Yasmin, who served from July to August 2018 and was removed by the very same prime minister. Perhaps it is time the PM started listening to himself.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2020.

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