Gulf between govt, opposition widening
The ‘selected’ PTI government, the ‘selectors’ and the judiciary were the major targets of the main PDM leaders’ speeches made at the sixth and the last of the first series of the 11-party alliance’s rally at the historic Minar-i-Pakistan in the freezing cold on Sunday afternoon.
The turnout was good, although it should be taken as a routine in a city which is the political stronghold of the PML-N, the host of the event. (The PML-N leadership is not satisfied with the turnout and is castigating leaders and workers for failing to perform their duties).
The government did not create any hurdles for the rally although some ministers continued to warn that the holding of the event was against the law because of the corona threat and that the violators would be proceeded against.
After the event, as expected, the government high-ups called it a flop show and appreciated the Lahorites for staying away from the event. (Firdaus Ashiq Awan said people might have ignored the event because of a ‘secret’ message sent by incarcerated Hamza Shehbaz. This is nothing but political mischief by a government functionary aimed to create misunderstandings among the Sharif family members).
The PDM leadership announced that now a long march on Islamabad would be staged by the end of January or early February. The lawmakers would be taking their resignations along, and hence it is supposed to be ‘do or die’ phase of the opposition movement.
(PML-N Secretary Ahsan Iqbal said on Monday that MPs would submit their resignations with their respective parties by December 31).
Since the main target of the PDM is to abort the Senate elections, scheduled for March, and force the government to go for fresh elections at the national level, the opposition alliance may resort to any mechanism to achieve the target though some political circles apprehend a threat to the very system because of the current stand-off.
The tone of the speeches made at the rally was aggressive as before and the prime minister and ministers again characterized it as an attempt to seek concessions from the government.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, through video link, again spoke against military people, arguing that he was singling out some elements so that the entire institution is not taken to be involved in political engineering.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was reportedly playing with his pet dogs at his spacious Bani Gala residence when the rally was in progress, said once again that he would not budge from his position on cases against important opposition leaders, no matter what the consequences.
PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who speaks the same language against the establishment as three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in London, once again asked the powers-that-be to stop supporting the PTI government, a demand the acceptance of which would be against the constitutional obligations of the addressee, no matter who is in power.
In fact, such a demand is unfair from a platform which is supposedly campaigning for the supremacy of the Constitution. Will the PPP leadership tolerate a similar call to the state structure for no cooperation to the Sindh government?
What is very disturbing for the common man is the fact that so far the end of the present conflict is not in sight.
Opposition leaders have ruled out the possibility of talks with the government they call a product of rigged elections.
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari while addressing the rally participants emphatically said that the time for talks was over and now the PDM would go for the long march.
Stop any calls for this purpose, a fuming Bilawal said, implying that contacts were being made from the government side which he did not like any more.
While the government and the opposition parties are free to resort to any strategy to achieve their targets, what is being ignored by both sides is the fact that because of the ongoing confrontation the image of the country is getting tarnished across the world.
If the mudslinging continues from both sides, who will like to make the investment in Pakistan in any field, especially when the situation is so uncertain. Who will trust our claim that Pakistan is a very safe and attractive country for foreign investment?
There is an urgent need for talks between the two sides to work out some solution. There is no other way out.
The sooner the talks are held, the better. With every passing day, the gulf between the two sides is widening.
Maryam Nawaz alleged in her speech that it was the result of a fixed match between Prime Minister Imran and the then Supreme Court Justice Khosa that Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as prime minister.
She said even the selectors did not know that Imran would be so incapable, incompetent.
TAILPIECE: Though the PML-N was the host of Sunday's event, its president Shehbaz Sharif was conspicuous by absence. In fact, no member of his family was among the speakers or other attendees. He is in jail along with son Hamza. Wife Nusrat is in London and is wanted by courts. Another son Salman is also in London despite the fact he is wanted by courts in many cases.
Shehbaz Sharif's second wife Tehmina keeps away from political events.
Thus, Maryam was the star speaker from the Sharif family.