Dear Prime Minister,
Congratulations on your appointment as Caretaker. This is an opportunity that is not presented to many and I hope that you are able to make the most of it.
By that, of course I do not mean that you or your family are able to make the most wealth, accumulate favours and repay those you owe. Most Pakistani leaders have indeed used their office exactly that purpose, but that is not something that is expected of you. You have a unique opportunity - please do not waste it.
Unlike other leaders, your term of office will not be determined by what you do, and no amount of gifts and favours can ensure that your stay is lengthened. However, what you do WILL determine your legacy, your status and standing in Pakistani history – and you DO have the possibility to make a difference to the lives of the 160 million ordinary Pakistanis.
The most important contribution that you can make to Pakistan and the way it is run is to show that there is a different way for our leaders to behave in office.
1. 1. Please, do not accept gifts – in whatever form or package it might be presented.
2. 2. Please, end your term of office with the same house, car, clothes and bank balance you started off with.
3. 3. Please keep your friends, relatives and well-wishers under control, and ask them, for their own, their country and your sake, to similarly desist from taking advantage of your office.
4. 4. Please limit your activities and focus you energies to those required by your office. Attending weddings is not a part of them, even though in the normal course of social conduct, not accepting an invitation might be considered ill-mannered. Ask yourself, honestly, would you have been invited if it were not for your office? A general statement of not taking up social invitations and acting upon it would not cause offence, and may help set up a precedence for our future leaders.
5. 5. Please do not sanction or support any request for transfer, promotion, appointment etc that is not in your mandate as Prime Minister and has not been formally submitted and substantiated. Ask yourself: Is this not something that is beneath the dignity of my office to be dealing with? Again, a public statement regarding your intent would be extremely well received.
6. 6. Please insist that all officials work in accordance with the rules and regulations that they are required to. Check on those immediately around you, and ask them to check on those around them. Please try and change the culture of absenteeism, tardy and sloppy work and general dereliction of duty to pursue personal ends and gains.
7. 7. Please make the trains run on time. Ask why they do not, and what the officials responsible intend to do about them? Of course, not having the funds and equipment is pertly responsible, but what is being done about it?
8. 8. Please, ask Government departments to pay their bills. Especially for electricity and other utilities. Perhaps even declare a general amnesty, and for future bills deduct the payments directly from their budgets.
9. 9. Please, issue directives for the cancellation of all free seats being reserved on PIA for all the hangers-on of Ministers, MPs etc. If the British PM’s wife can be fined for not paying for her train ticket, why cannot we demand the same?
10. 10. Reduce your own protocol, security and pompous ceremony…Pakistan needs to establish a simpler more modest lifestyle, which reflects our achievements and our circumstances, not our presumptions.
These are all manageable by you and within your mandate. These would endear you to the hearts and minds of all Pakistanis. If you can show that one Prime Minister CAN do it in this day and age, it might make it more difficult for other Prime Ministers to go back to their old ways.
BE the Change.