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More jobs was a campaign promise

That the subtle social science of economics is lost on the minister for science and technology is understandable. Those things are for the CEOs and PhDs who usually get things wrong in the finance ministry. But his ignorance of some of the most central points of the art of politics is not so easily forgivable. And, surely, the manner in which he backtracked on one of PTI’s core campaign promises – of providing many, many jobs during its five years in power – as if he was showering the ignorant with some charitable advice, was not too far short of insulting.
But, to offer him some text book wisdom in return, appreciating the trend of small government is very nice, yet that’s a political/economic position you take when formulating your election manifesto; along with other defining features of your party, like conservative/liberal, left- or right-of-centre, and all that. And, once you promise millions of houses for the poor and yet more millions of jobs for the unemployed, you don’t just announce shutting 400 departments as if you’re knocking some sense into the uninitiated.
Also, far more importantly, when governments talk about creating jobs, in the modern setting, it does not only mean jobs in the government sector. Governments are, to put it in layman terms, responsible for creating an economic environment that is conducive to job creation. However, in times like the present, when the government has singularly failed to breathe any sort of life into the economy and unemployment has been rising all year, disbanding 400 departments, at least announcing it in such a nonchalant manner, is not just in poor taste but also pretty bad policy.
Senior government ministers should realise that since their party has already gone back on far too many of its core promises, they might not be too far from the point where people stop taking them for their word. Pakistan is not part of the world that does not see regular, fair-enough elections, and even our history is littered with examples of figures who thought they had been propelled to the top forever; only to be rudely awakened.



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