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Toonari Post conducted an exclusive, short interview with Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf’s (PTI’s) Vice President Asad Omar on the future of the country, that for decades has been at crossroads between civilian democracy and military rule.
The Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf (PTI) (Pakistan movement for Justice) is a brain child of ex-cricketer and philanthropist Imran Khan. The party was formed on April 25, 1996 in the city of Lahore under the leadership of Imran Khan to fight anti status-quo movement and to bring justice, harmony and democracy in the country. According to Mr Khan, the Party is immensely popular amongst the young people of Pakistan due to its modern take on democracy and economical policies. The party’s vice President, Asad Omar is a man of extraordinary intellect and talent. He is one of the highest ranking members of the party. Before joining Imran Khan’s party on April 2012, he served as CEO and President of Engro Corporation. Because of his fundamental contributions to business world, he received Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2010, the third highest honor and civilian award in the State of Pakistan. Asad Omar is seen as one of the key members of party due to his background in world of business and finance.
If PTI wins elections in the near future, Asad Omar will most likely take a centre stage in supporting Pakistan’s falling economy and pulling Pakistan out of its debt state.
Toonari Post (TP): What is your prediction for upcoming elections?
Asad Omar (AO): Well I can say that without doubt, without anybody disagreeing with me that people of Pakistan are desperate for the change right now, that much is established. With such mindset, it shows that people are willing to embrace change and move forward. I personally think that Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf is the best place to tap into that sentiments of people and bring change. I believe Imran Khan can symbolize that hope for change and therefore it can bring victory for Tehreek Insaaf in the next election.
Toonari Post (TP): How has Pakistan changed after 65 years of independence?
Asad Omar (OM): We have a Pakistan, which has traveled a fair distance over the last 65 years. I am not one of those who will say nothing has happened in the last 65 years. We have achieved quiet a few things, but we have clearly fallen short of our potential and in the developments which have taken place have been severely unequally undistributed. You have a country where few have become extremely affluent; there is a very large mass which has been bypassed completely in this development effort. So you need to do two things, you need to put in the place strategy and start implementing the plan. It moves by the sound of its words in potential but equally forgetting not even more importantly you have to put in a game plan where this growth is inclusive rather than exclusive. So that everybody is able to get effect from this development as it takes place in terms of different genders in the country, different income segments, different demographics, communities, municipalities of the country. It is a lack of justice and lack of equality in the country which to me is setting Pakistan back.
TP: Pakistan has a huge debt problem, and PTI has said they do not want Pakistan to rely on aid anymore, so if we leave IMF and stop the foreign aid, then how will we be servicing our debt?
AO: I think it’s a question of mindset, and you have got to put in place strategies which clearly show how gradually you can continue to reduce the dependence on the foreign processes and not sit there and battle. That’s literally the way we are running our economy, we are waiting for the next loan to come in and all of us are running around and spinning ourselves to get attached to the political support fund or attach from the IMF. That’s what we need to do, we need to have a legitimate game plan and domestic strategy and home grown formula of how to curtail the army enough and in the execution of that strategy reaching out and taking support from people is perfectly kosher in compartments and it’s really the dependency syndrome we have to break that says we are not the best country in the world.
TP: What message would you like to give to Pakistani people on upcoming elections?
AO: The message is one of hope, despite all our problems. It is not like we have achieved nothing, we started off as the extremely backward and the poorest part of India, which is one of the poorest countries in the world and from there we were able to achieve quite a bit. We have gone off track and we have fallen behind our potential but the inherent potential of country is still phenomenal. Pakistanis are hard working and innovative people and therefore we still got to retain that belief in the nation and work together and we will get there.
Image credit: Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf FATA of Imran Khan via Facebook