PDM’s movement & an ex-general’s emergency, national govt claim

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 09:30 PM, 9 Dec, 2020
PDM’s movement & an ex-general’s emergency, national govt claim

The New Year will certainly be turbulent for Pakistan as the opposition alliance PDM and the ruling party are on a collision course – and, regrettably, no individual - or institution- is trying to prevent the likely disaster. 

At a meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday the PDM leaders decided that their federal and provincial lawmakers will submit their resignations to their party heads by December 31, who will then work out their future line of action. The PDM parties insist that they will not step back unless the prime minister resigns. 

On the other hand, Prime Minister Imran Khan says he is willing to hold talks with the opposition on everything except what he calls a concession for them in corruption cases.  

Will the stalemate come to an end as a result of some miracle? What if the two sides did not realize the sensitivity of the situation and did not hold talks to avert a deeper crisis? 

Only time will decide which side wins, or both sides lose. 

The victory of some third party – which at present is silently witnessing what is going on in the political arena – will not be unprecedented. 

If the assessment shared by a former senior general on the electronic media is something to go by,  the ruling coalition as well as the opposition alliance must spare some time to minutely examine if such a situation will be in the national interest. 

Maj. Gen (retd) Ijaz Awan said the president can impose emergency and also set up a national government. 

He categorically ruled out the possibility of fresh elections, the min demand of the opposition parties. 

A PPP leader, who is also a former law and interior minister, is of the opinion that even 150 resignations from the National Assembly will not make it mandatory for the government to hold fresh elections.  

Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said in an interview that by-elections on the vacant seats will meet the constitutional requirement. 

According to Aitzaz, Imran Khan needs just 172 MNAs with him to stay in the office. 

Political observers say that political parties should look into their conduct in the past decades and see whether they were right in all their decisions. 

They are not infallible – and they all made mistakes. 

Let’s start from their conduct since 1977.  Alleging that the premature elections held by then prime minister ZA Bhutto were rigged, they rejected the results.  But then they joined the government of Gen Ziaul Haq, the chief martial law administrator. Parties like PML, Jamaat-i-Islami, JUI were part of the Zia cabinet, something morally unjustifiable.  

Then the champions of democracy like PML and the Jamaat-i-Islami also took part in the 1985 party-less elections held after eight years of the imposition of martial law against a commitment of holding them just in 90 days. Under the Constitution there is no room for party-less polls. 

“Revolutionary leader” Nawaz Sharif was among the top supporters – and even beneficiaries – of the military rule  

In the subsequent years the confrontation between Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto continued for several years and they worked to defeat each other. As a result, the country continued to suffer. 

When Gen Musharraf overthrew the PML-N government in October 1999, all opposition parties celebrated the tragedy. 

When Gen Musharraf held elections in 2002 under a Supreme Court order, ‘democrats’ of various brands joined the new setup. 

Even the JUI (as component of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal) ruled the KP, with Gen Musharraf as the president. (Akram Khan Durrani, now a Senator, was then the chief minister). 

The PPP won the 2008 elections (mainly because of the Benazir’s assassination sympathy factor) and the PML-N reluctantly tolerated it. 

The 2013 election was won by the PML-N and the PPP leadership labelled it as ROs elections. But it was allowed to complete its constitutional term because of the May 2006 Charter of Democracy signed in London by Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif (both of them living in exile at the time) Both the leadaers had exchanged their pens with which they had signed the CoD. 

Neither party had expected that the PTI would emerge as victor in the 2018 elections. 

Now all major parties: PML-N, PPP, JUI and eight smaller parties are trying to dislodge the PTI. 

The situation is worsening by the day and the common man is convinced that Mian Nawaz Sharif, calling the shots from London, has started the new ‘project’ with the backing of powers that matter. 

The incessant propaganda being carried out by the opposition has diverted attention from the corruption, money laundering allegations against the Sharifs.  

The NAB is repeating allegations with proofs, but the Sharifs are not coming up with anything to counter them. 

The ‘victimization’ mantra is not convincing. 

The political temperature is going up while mercury is going down. 

The December 13 public meeting at the Minar-i-Pakistan is expected to make the future scene clear.