Seeking fresh elections without resignations is like desiring paradise without dying

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 12:22 PM, 10 Oct, 2021
Seeking fresh elections without resignations is like desiring paradise without dying
File photo.

The PML-N leaders have been insisting for the past few months that the PTI will be wiped out as a result of the 2023 general elections.

Their statements have been giving the impression that the party is convinced that the next elections will be held after a couple of years.

In fact, all opposition parties believe that the next elections will be held in 2023 when the PTI completes its five-year term. 

But on Saturday (October 9) PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman called on PML-N President Mian Shehbaz Sharif in Lahore after which the two said fresh free, fair and transparent elections must be held “immediately” to steer the country out of crises. 

They also decided to stage a power show in Faisalabad on October 16. The participants at the show will highlight the failures of the PTI government in all fields.   

The question is what is the PDM’s real demand about elections – immediate or in 2023 when the government completes its term? 

 It’s a matter of record that the PDM leaders keep changing their stance on the subject. No constituent of the alliance has prepared itself for the exercise. 

On the other hand, the PTI leaders say next elections would be held in 2023 under a new census and delimitation of constituencies. Both are time-consuming exercises and elections will not be possible before 203 if they are to be held on the basis of new census and constituencies. 

The parties in the PDM have been demanding fresh elections for the past three years as, they allege, the 2018 polls that brought the PTI to power were manipulated. 

To mount pressure on the PTI government to quit, the PDM constituents have been holding protest meetings, even long marches. But the government, which enjoys the backing of the establishment, remained unmoved. 

The PDM chief even tried to convince the allied parties to resign from the assemblies so that the system gets dysfunctional. However, many parties refused to go by the idea, as a result of which the alliance chief had to face tremendous embarrassment. Even his own son is a member of the National Assembly that is the product of ‘rigged elections’.  

At present the PML-N has 84 seats in the National Assembly; MMA 15, PPP (which is no longer with the PDM although it is an opposition party) has 56 seats. 

If the PML-N and MMA legislators tender resignations the system will become dysfunctional. But none is willing to vacate his/her seat because no one wants to lose the benefits available to them as parliamentarians. 

Even the PPP alone can create a serious crisis by quitting the assemblies. But this party too is not serious about adopting this course. It knows that quitting assemblies will mean losing the Sindh government. 

The situation in opposition parties can best be explained through a famous saying: everybody wants to enter the paradise, but none wants to die. 

Everybody knows that one can enter the paradise only after dying.  Since they are not willing to pay the price they cannot be expected to reach the destination. 

This doesn’t mean the writer is in favour of the opposition legislators’ quitting their seats.  The writer is of the considered opinion that the PTI government should be allowed to complete its term even if it has completely failed to deliver.  This will enable the voters at the time of next elections to compare the performance of the PTI, PML-N and PPP governments and take a better decision for the future. 

As for the justification for demanding immediate elections, everyone knows that no party is prepared for fresh balloting. 

Even the PML-N, the major opposition party, is required to clarify many things before the polls. 

Media have been raising questions about the conflicting narratives of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shehbaz Sharif. While the former prime minister is like an ammunition truck waiting for an opportunity to pulverize the establishment, the younger brother is like a fire-brigade.  

The younger brother doesn’t endorse his elder’s brother’s views but at the same time he can’t part ways with him because he knows that on his own he is not in a position even to win a councillor’s seat. 

The yawning gap in the two narratives has divided the party is divided into two camps. 

Because of political compulsions even those not endorsing the former prime minister’s thinking cannot dare part ways with the party. 

Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.