Imran Khan, Xi Jinping share personalities and goals

Chinese President Xi Jinping is known for his honesty and humility. He believes in simplicity and is against wasting taxpayers’ money. He is focused on the welfare of the common man and has the vision to develop China to climb the ladder in the comity of nations. He is a visionary leader and a hard-working person. He believes in merit and opposes corruption in any form whatsoever.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is also a proven honest person. His struggle against corruption and injustice stretches for 22 years. He is a visionary leader yet a very humble and simple person.

He loves Pakistan and the people of Pakistan. In spite of having the option to settle in the UK and enjoy a life of luxury, he opted to return to Pakistan and struggle for its deprived people. He faced many difficulties and severe opposition from the corrupt elite of Pakistan, but he never gave up and finally succeeded in winning the general election held on July 25, 2018.

He has all his stakes in Pakistan – his assets and wealth are in Pakistan, and above all his body and soul are there – unlike previous politicians who have ruled Pakistan for the majority of its democratic life who have preferred shoring up their wealth outside Pakistan. They invested in real estate in Europe and the Middle East. As a result, these politicians became filthy rich and the people of Pakistan became even poorer.

Imran Khan has entered the political arena to fight the menace of corruption and has vowed to spend all of his energies on serving the country.

His first focus will be the fight against corruption. During the last few decades, corruption in Pakistan has penetrated deep into society; as the rulers were involved in financial malpractice, corruption trickled down to the lower levels too. This is an area where Khan has shown interest in learning from China.

President Xi’s policy of catching “tigers and flies” – powerful leaders as well as low-level bureaucrats – has succeeded and has shown positive indications in the overall governance of China. Khan may also follow suit and strengthen accountability laws so anti-corruption institutions can likewise pursue the “tigers and flies.”

He will not differentiate among criminals based on their political affiliations; he has a track record of expelling his own party’s ministers involved in corruption in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and of not hindering state institutions from investigating him or other members of his party. He has offered himself for accountability first of all.

The previous few governments appointed their own political favorites to almost all important positions, compromising on merit and ability. That is why they were able to protect their personal interests and compromise national interests. They were being ill-advised by their own appointed officials who used to report that all was “honey and cream” in the country and were more loyal to the politicians’ personal interests than to the state.

Khan has to reform the civil service structure, remove all political and illegitimate appointees and promote merit and qualification for all posts in the government sector. The national interest has to be given the highest priority. Personal interests and anti-state practices have to be curbed with an iron hand.

When Xi Jinping, at the time of becoming president in 2013, announced his policies and priorities, he emphasized the eradication of poverty all over China. His anti-corruption rhetoric was met with negativity from the world’s media. There were concerns that a clampdown on corruption could be disastrous for business and investment. However, the opposite happened and China’s economy has not only been sustained, it has been enlarged and diversified and become healthy.

Similarly, there has much fuss around the clampdown on corruption in Pakistan and how it could eventually be disastrous, but this is only a myth. Pakistan is a poverty-stricken country. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s poverty is man-made and not a natural phenomenon. In fact, Pakistan is very rich in natural resources, agriculture, and quality human resources, but because of corrupt rulers, ill-planning, and mis-governance, the people of Pakistan have suffered throughout the nation’s 70 years of existence.

It is expected that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government will introduce reforms, people- and business-friendly policies, development-led planning, and corruption-free, transparent, and good governance. This will give Pakistan the boost it needs to be a major country in the Asian region.

President Xi believes in simplicity and is against big shows of extravagance. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, serving food at state expense has to be modest. In Pakistan, previously, state banquets were shows of extravagance with no regard to wastage. Huge amounts of the national budget were wasted on entertaining guests and taxes collected from poor people were spent mercilessly.

In contrast, Khan is a simple and humble person, and more practical in his approach. He will use public money with full responsibility and with full accountability. He entertains his guests with simplicity.

Imran Khan has promised austerity measures during his term as prime minister. He will not live in the luxurious Prime Minister House and decided against inviting any foreign guests and any ostentatious display at his oath-taking ceremony. If a leader is so conscious of not wasting public resources, I trust the nation will have a bright future.

Having so many commonalities, and huge space for learning, I believe the relations between China and Pakistan will grow further. Both leaders will keep in close contact and the two nations will work together in close coordination and liaison.

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