Offering EVMs to empty stomachs
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Wednesday’s was one of the most important joint sessions of the parliament because it provided the ruling coalition and the opposition parties a good opportunity to assess their respective positions in the bicameral legislature and chart their future courses of action.
The session was also significant because it was held a couple of days after an explosive disclosure made by former GB chief justice Rana Shamim that ex-CJP Saqib Nisar had influenced a judge of the Islamabad High Court to deny former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam bail till the 2018 general elections.
Though Justice Saqib Nisar denied the allegation, it raised a political storm in the country, as a result of which the parliamentarians got an opportunity to decide which side to vote for in the joint session.
The vote count after the EVMs bill shows that the legislators stuck to their parties and voted accordingly. The government got 221 votes against 203 bagged by the opposition.
This tally also means that the government’s efforts to address the estranged allies’ reservations bore fruit and they stood by the PTI during the joint session. Had the government not rescheduled the session or not held talks with the allied parties, the outcome of Wednesday’s session could have been different.
But the result of the session also signals that political temperature in the country, which is already very high because of the opposition partiers’ incessant campaign against the PTI-led coalition, will further go up in times ahead.
The adoption of the Electronic Voting Machines bill or giving voting rights to about eight million overseas Pakistanis will further intensify the confrontation between the government and the opposition. And now that the PML-N and the PPP have almost joined hands, the situation may take any turn in days and weeks ahead.
The charged environment suits the opposition parties and now they will step up their efforts to bring the hike-crushed people on the streets.
It’s a very valid argument that EVMs can’t fill the empty stomachs of the millions across the country, who are already praying day in and day out for the ouster of the ‘tyrant’ government that has failed to deliver on its promises during its hitherto 39-month rule.
Already wild speculations are being made in the media about the likely changes on the political scene.
However, the prime minister appears to be living in some other world where everything is hunky-dory. He is confident that the government will complete its mandated term despite all conspiracies being hatched by the opposition parties.
His confidence can be assessed from the speech he delivered on Tuesday (Nov 16) in Islamabad. He claimed that his government’s five-year performance will “bury” the politics of his opponents, saying that all his policies focused on the future of the country instead of winning the next election.
“From day one, they [opposition] wanted to topple my government because they fear that their ‘political shops’ will be shut after [PTI’s] five-year performance,” he said while addressing a groundbreaking ceremony of dualisation of Lillah-Jhelum road.
Hailing the performance of his government, the premier said for the first time in the country’s history, his administration was undertaking long-term projects to tackle the challenges of climate change and water crisis.
“We are building mega dams … planted 2. 5 billion trees and in the coming years, 10 billion more trees will be planted,” he added.
He said his government was making all-out efforts to ease the woes of the masses, saying: “Like I saved the country from corona, I will also reduce inflation.”
These utterances indicate that either his confidence about completing the term is misplaced or the opposition parties are miscalculating the situation.