Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Opposition’s APC: will it pose any threat to govt?

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Unfortunately, in two years the sitting government has not been able to set things in order. It still has three more years. It has to deliver if it really wants to stymie opposition criticism; court people and complete its five year term, which it should as it has a mandate for that.

COMMENT

Ansar M Bhatti

THE hallmark of Sunday’s All Parties Conference (APC) was ostensibly appearance of Nawaz Sharif on the national hook-up after a long time. Despite a ban from PEMRA, the TV channels telecast his speech live. Nawaz Sharif expectedly delivered a strong anti-establishment tirade asking masses and leaders of the allied political parties not to allow non-political forces to divide them and then drive them with same stick in order to keep them under control. Nawaz Sharif apparently wanted all political parties to stand up against this govt and ‘promoters and supporters’ of this govt with a view to sending a loud and clear message that the country can be run by political entities only.

Nawaz Sharif openly decided to defy the system and supporters of the system. He urged the APC leaders to wage joint struggle in order to bring true democracy back. Asif Zardari also made brief remarks and vowed to resist what he termed govt’s anti-opposition tactics. Bilawal and Shahbaz Sharif too delivered their speeches and assured to make the APC a success.

Apart from what transpired practically as a result of the APC, however the APC would surely serve as a morale booster for the workers of PPP, PML N and other allied parties. The political temperatures after this APC are likely to rise – a fact, which may prove a hard nut to crack for the government mainly because in last two years the government has failed to live up to the expectations of its voters and supporters and general public as well.

The Opposition, it appears, is playing pranks with its voters and people at large. It neither wants to dislodge government nor launch a full fledge anti-govt drive for the sake of its own ulterior political motives. And that is the point where its close ally Maulana Fazlur Rehman has serious problems. He wants the Opposition parties to take a clear cut stand when it comes to giving tough time to the government.  The opposition presumably cannot afford to dislodge the federal government because then it will lose its nuisance value and relevance that is has as being the members of the parliament. The Opposition parties have complete knowledge of the fact that they can be more effective and relevant as long as they are part of the system and that this system remains intact.

The problem of Pakistan People’s Party is that it cannot go beyond a certain point in its criticism of the government or when it comes to sending the federal govt packing. The reason is obvious that if it happens, PPP will surely lose its government in Sindh also. And losing the Sindh govt means losing Sindh in fact. PPP can wield its control over Sindh and its people while remaining in power. Even Governor’s rule in Sindh would badly harm PPP politics therefore it earnestly wants to avoid that eventuality also. Otherwise, the govt led by Imran Khan is surviving only with a razor-thin majority in case of mass resignations, way for early elections can easily be paved.

PML-N’s predicament is that it has to make inroads into Pakistani politics while maintaining a hardliner stance about Pakistani establishment. PML N is now known as an anti-establishment party and so is the PPP albeit both have different approaches towards relations with the establishment. PML N patron Nawaz Sharif and his daughter are not ready to work with the establishment, which was quite evident from Nawaz speech, while PML N President Shahbaz Sharif and his like-mined group in the party think differently. In fact this confused situation is leading PML N nowhere. It has to come up with a unified stand if it really wants to regain its political strength and relevance.

There is a wider consensus among opposition political leaders that it perhaps is the best time to get united and launch vigorous campaign against the government because public opinion is fast turning against the sitting government. Even die-hard PTI workers have started showing disenchantment and disappointment. According to them the government has failed to deliver. And no moment can be more opportune for the opposition parties to gird up their loins against the incumbent government than this that govt’s own supporters seem to have started speaking against it.

Summing up, if anything happens to the govt and it has to depart, it would be primarily because of its own shortcomings and governance issues. Unfortunately, in two years the sitting government has not been able to set things in order as per the wishes of people and its own manifesto. It still has three more years. It has to deliver if it really wants to stymie opposition criticism; court people and complete its five year term, which it should as it has a mandate for that.

 






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