Serious consequences if opposition did not reciprocate govt’s talks offer

Published: 03:28 PM, 19 Jan, 2022
Serious consequences if opposition did not reciprocate govt’s talks offer
Caption: File photo.
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It is a bitter reality that the ruling coalition and opposition parties are wasting their energies and time to outmanoeuvre each other, as a result of which important problems facing the country remain unaddressed. 

Day in a day out the opposition parties have been trying to oust the government, alleging that it has failed to deliver.

The ruling party, on the other hand, has completed 40 months in power – thanks to the unwavering support extended by the military establishment.

If the government completes its term next elections next elections will be held sometime in 2023. But so far, there is no system in place that could make results of the fresh polls acceptable to all parties.

The government decided to introduce the electronic voting machines for the purpose, but the opposition parties rejected the idea out of hand. They call the evil, vicious machines a tool the government plans to use to manipulate the results.

Even the Election Commission of Pakistan has reservations about the EVMs. 

In such a situation, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has extended an offer for talks on electoral and judicial reforms to the opposition parties.

“We want to engage the opposition on electoral and judicial reforms and on the process for appointment of NAB (National Accountability Bureau) chairman”, he said at a news conference in Islamabad.

The subjects on which the government wants to hold talks are quire relevant and important. Patriotism demands that the opposition parties should set aside their ego and reciprocate the offer.

Both sides should hold talks with positive mindsets and identify the factors that make the election results controversial. They should also take necessary measures to make results of next elections acceptable to all parties.

They have enough time to diagnose the problem(s) and decide the required remedial measures.

In case the offer was not reciprocated and the elections were held under the existing system, their results would remain controversial like the results of all previous elections.

That means ground would be ready for another movement against the new government. 

Judicial reforms, for which the information minister extended the invitation, is another field deserving immediate attention.

At present people have to spend their lives waiting for justice.

There are allegations that justice sells and the moneyed people win even weak cases. 

Touts are available near courtrooms for fake evidence. 

All these are matters deserving legislators’ attention. They are duty-bound to take measures to set the situation right and save the people from hardships.

The example of state of justice has just come to light. 

Only on January 17, after six decades, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of Peshawar High Court regarding the payment and allotment of alternative land to the people affected by the construction of Tarbela Dam and directed the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) to find a way out and compensate the victims.

The apex court, while ruling on Tarbela Dam affectees after 60 years, dismissed Wapda’s appeal upon withdrawal against the claims of the victims and upheld the decision of the PHC regarding payment of compensation and alternative land to the victims.

The verdict was announced by a three-member bench of the top court led by Chief Justice-designate Umar Ata Bandial.

In his remarks, Justice Bandial said that according to the policy, Tarbela Dam victims did not get the alternative land.

“How much land is required to be given to 206 [Tarbela dam] affectees?” he asked the Wapda counsel.

The Wapda lawyer replied that 5,000 acres of land was required for the purpose to which the chief justice-designate ordered that Wapda should find a way out and compensate the victims.

Justice Bandial said Wapda had also settled matters with the Diamer-Bhasha Dam victims and observed that Rs0.107 million was not enough for 12 acres of land.

The Wapda’s counsel replied that the department would review the issue in light of the PHC orders.

This case should explain what ‘quick justice’ really mean even during the rule of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. 

Should not those responsible for the delay be taken to task?

The ruling party and the opposition should hold talks without delay and discuss all problems facing the people.  The negotiators should also trace the elements who are trying to open a new Pandora’s Box of presidential system. 

These elements want the existing parliamentary system replaced by the presidential system, either without considering the implications of the proposal or deliberately fanning a new controversy to deflect attention from other important matters.


Ashraf Mumtaz

The writer is the Deputy Editor of 24 Digital.