Friday, December 8, 2023
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PTI govt and allies on a collision course

Establishment wanted to have the new man on the job immediately while the notification issued by the PM office allowed the incumbent DG to stay in the office till November 20


Ansar M Bhatti

It has been my consistent view that the Prime Minister may not complete his five year term because we do not have any such precedent, albeit I personally think if people have voted someone to power for five years, he or she should be allowed to complete the term. Even if the prime minister is not delivering, it should be left to the voters to decide about his fate. Unlike the PM, the PTI government may be allowed to limp on till the end of its legal term, which will end in 2023. The Capital is abuzz with a plethora of rumors these days. Govt defeat in the National Assembly last week when it failed to get its bills passed, in fact gave further rise to these rumors. Then happened the drama of joint sitting of the parliament. The session had to be called off at the eleventh hour for the allied parties of the PTI refused to lend their support for the passage of certain bills including the one relating to use of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the next general elections.

The allies complain of being ignored and discarded by the PTI top leadership. PML Q and the MQM, even in the past had raised their voice against what they called injustices meted out to them by the PTI leadership. Even this time, they did not name anybody but obviously their complaints are directed towards the prime minister, and thus want him to be replaced. Certain names are also being heard who may replace the prime minister in case of any in-house change. Interestingly, name of the defence minister is also there who has recently been given a clean chit in a corruption reference. A couple of other contenders from Multan and Islamabad regions have also girded up their loins in case the top office is bestowed upon them.

The opposition on the contrary has demanded for early elections though none of them has done homework for this. But since they want to get Imran Khan out of power come what may, they won’t mind fresh elections knowing the fact that they are not going to win majority seats. I have written time and again, PPP always chooses to play safe and smart. It become part of PDM only when it intends to exert pressure on the “aliens” and after getting some concessions it spares no time in divorcing the alliance. Rumors are ripe that PPP once again wants to be part of the PDM and the PDM once again likely to fall in the same booby trap.

PPP’s sudden inclination towards the PDM; resurgence of the TLP and abrupt strange behavior of the allied parties of the PTI may not be a mere coincidence. It seems to be a calculated and very well knitted move facilitated and supported by powers that be. To me, allied parties disenchantment with the PTI leadership has nothing to do with what the PML Q and MQM claim. The actual problem lies somewhere else.

During the TLP standoff, the prime minister, at a point, wanted to handle the issue by force but as reports suggest the establishment did not seem eye to eye with this idea. We have to keep in mind that the issue of appointment of the DG ISI had already strained relations between the establishment and the prime minister. Establishment wanted to have the new man on the job immediately while the notification issued by the PM office allowed the incumbent DG to stay in the office till November 20. There are also reports that the PM wants to recall Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Lt. Gen Bilal Akbar (retd) and replace him with Pakistan’s high commissioner to Canada.

All said and done, the PTI govt itself is responsible for all its woes. It has miserably failed in keeping up its promises made to people before the elections. Corruption has increased manifold. Economic situation has gone from bad to worse and state of governance is just pathetic. The opposition on the other hand is only interested in grinding its own axe. Plight of people is not all a source of worry for it. If the snap polls are held or for that matter the Opposition parties take to streets against the government and they get a rousing welcome, it would only be because of the poor performance of the PTI govt.

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