No single leader can steer the country out of crises
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Only a few weeks before the PDM and PPP’s next phase of the movement against the PTI government, the Institute for Public Opinion Research has conducted a survey about various leaders’ ability to steer the country out of the prevailing crises.
The survey, conducted between December 22, 2021, and January 9, 2022, is based on the opinion of 3,700 people.
The answers are very interesting and raise many questions about the logic they are based on.
It has been claimed that 33 per cent of people think that former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif has the ability to grapple with the crises facing the country while 30 per cent pin their hopes on Imran Khan.
Sixteen per cent were of the view that it’s PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari who can play that role.
Only three per cent said PDM chairman and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman can steer the country out of the crises.
In other words, no single leader can navigate the country out of the crises.
These survey results, ostensibly, are not reflective of the on-ground situation.
Here is why.
Mr Sharif, it may be recalled, served as Punjab chief minister twice before donning the mantle of the country’s chief executive three terms.
He is so popular and influential in his party that despite the fact that he is a convict and disqualified for life for any public office, he remains the final authority in decision-making.
His younger brother Shehbaz Sharif is the party president, still, the real authority lies with the senior Sharif.
During the PML-N rule, the economic situation was much better than what it is today.
On the other hand, this is the first experience of Imran Khan in power. Earlier he had no experience of holding any political position.
People are crying because of the situation created by the policies of the PTI government.
Many of Imran Khan’s supporters are repenting over their support to the PTI during the 2018 elections.
The PTI government has almost surrendered occupied Kashmir. India annexed it in August 2019 but the only nuclear power of the Islamic world failed to do anything for the liberation of what is regarded as Pakistan’s jugular vein.
Also, there is little hope of India changing its policy about occupied Kashmir even in the distant future because it feels under no pressure.
Inflation has become unbearable. People feel powerless when power rates are enhanced so frequently.
Foreign loans have been heaped on the country, and there are no signs that the Islamic republic will ever be able to pay them back.
If despite such a depressing situation there is a gap of only three per cent between people who have attached hopes with Mian Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan, then apparently something is wrong with the findings. The conclusions seem to be questionable.
And if these conclusions are to be trusted, then one fails to understand on what basis the PPP is claiming that it will form its government at the centre as a result of the next elections. (Any party on its own or with the help of allies must have at least 172 seats in the 340-member National Assembly to be able to form its government).
In the light of the survey findings, there seems little justification for Maulana Fazlur Rehman to demand the ouster of the PTI government. The one making such a serious demand must have a locus standi.
The survey finding that only one per cent each have attached hopes with the PML-Q, Awami National Party, Tehrik-i-Lubbaik Pakistan and Jamaat-i-Islami leaders for their ability to grapple with the crises appears to be flawed.
They can’t be treated at par because of their respective backgrounds and past roles.
The conclusion that 68 per cent of those surveyed want Mr Sharif to return home from London and face the courts is interesting. This is in sharp conflict with the advice being sent to the PML-N supreme leader by his party.
The party leaders have repeatedly expressed reservations about the judicial system and are of the view that Mr Sharif would not get justice. They want him to complete his medical treatment before thinking of returning home and facing victimisation at the hands of what they call a fascist PTI government.
Probably, people wanting the former prime minister’s return home want him to face the judicial system that was there during his three terms as country’s chief executive – and through which the 220 million people are supposed to get their grievances redressed. If it is perfect for them, it should also be able to deliver justice to the former premier.
According to the survey, only 28 per cent of people want Mr Sharif not to come back.
This clearly means that the policy being pursued by the PML- N about its supreme leader is backed by only 28 per cent.
Perhaps it’s time for the PML-N leaders to review their policies and modify them in accordance with new realities and public aspirations. No single individual can deal with the challenges facing the country.
Probably, various parties in the government and opposition should join hands for the purpose. Grappling with these challenges is more important than anything else.