Veterans like Ch Shujaat, Raja Zafarul Haq should mediate to avert confrontation 

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 05:49 PM, 4 Oct, 2020
Veterans like Ch Shujaat, Raja Zafarul Haq should mediate to avert confrontation 

If everything goes as planned, the newly-cobbled opposition alliance – Pakistan Democratic Movement – would hold its first anti-government public meeting in Quetta on October 18. Thereafter, a new schedule would be announced to mount pressure on the PTI-led coalition to step down. 

The events already planned by the PML-N and the PPP would now be held from the PDM’s platform. 

The new movement is different from the previous movements as PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, who set the pace through his Sept 20 address to the multi-party conference, has bracketed the military leadership with the party in power by alleging that the opposition’s struggle is against those who were responsible for imposing an ‘incapable’ Imran Khan on the nation. 

Army Chief Gen Bajwa had also said at a meeting with various parties that the institution was with the incumbent government – and would also stand by any government in power in future. More significantly, he said nobody would be allowed to create chaos in the country, which was like a warning to the would-be protesters.

On the other hand, according to visible signs Prime Minister Imran Khan will neither step down nor dissolve the National Assembly, because of which the possibility of fresh elections stands ruled out. 

This means the ruling coalition and the army are on one side and all opposition parties on the other – a perfect recipe for disaster in case a new round of anti-government protests is launched. 

Patriotism demands that a confrontation should be averted at all costs.  

For this purpose senior leaders are duty-bound to play a role, rising above all considerations.  

Perhaps, veterans like Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (PML-Q) and Raja Zafarul Haq (PML-N) should sit together to discuss how the disastrous confrontation could be warded off. They can also involve other leaders in the exercise to achieve the desired results. 

The opposition parties would be doing a great national service by tolerating the present setup for another three years just like they tolerated them for the first two years. This three-year wait will be a far better option than protests across the country that will lead to the collapse of the economy. Billionaires like Sharifs, Zardaris, Imran Khan and others will remain unaffected by the disaster to be caused by the proposed protests. But the common man will be crushed. 

Already the economy is in a very bad shape and a number of steps taken by the present government have not been able to give the poor segments the much-needed relief, tall claims to the contrary notwithstanding. 

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is absolutely right when he says that when his government had left on serving out its five-year term two years ago Rs100 were equal to one dollar and the parity today stands at Rs160 something. This shows a huge decline in the rupee value.  

(Information Minister Faraz Shibli said at a news conference on Sunday that billions were spent by then finance minister Ishaq Dar to artificially maintain dollar-rupee parity at that level). 

Not many people remember that Gen Zia was in power and Dr Mehbubul Haq his finance minister when rupee was unpegged from the dollar. At the time one dollar was available for Rs10. Yes, Rs10 only.  

The slide continued in the subsequent periods.  

When Gen Musharraf had left power after the 2008 elections, one dollar was equal to just Rs60. 

It was during the subsequent governments that rupee continued to shed its value. 

With another round of protests – as planned by the opposition parties – rupee would further lose its value, adding to the price hike and making the life of the common man further miserable. 

It is for this reason that it is being requested that another protest movement should be avoided at any cost. 

The situation demands that the ruling coalition and opposition should join hands to avert further decline. 

The time the two sides spend every day in levelling allegations against each other should be spent on discussing plans for national uplift. 

Also, only one weekly off should be allowed to offices to spare more time for work. 

Accountability should be absolutely fair and impartial. Those in power today should not forget that tomorrow they would also be held accountable for their activities. They should fear Allah and victimize not their opponents for political benefits.