‘Proximity talks’ between PM and JKT

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 03:37 PM, 22 Apr, 2021
‘Proximity talks’ between PM and JKT
File photo.

Jahangir Khan Tareen had played an important role in garnering political support for Imran Khan that ultimately enabled the PTI chairman to become prime minister after the 2018 elections, emerging as third power replacing both the PML-N and PPP that had been alternating each other in power for long. 

His role in the party was similar to that of a vital organ in the human body.

However, as is routine in the brutal field of politics, not long after his enthronement Imran Khan distanced himself from the South Punjab politician because of a number of allegations against him. Ostensibly, the premier did so to maintain his impartiality in investigations against his close friend of the yester years. 

The allegations are yet to be proved, but the gulf between the two has widened over the past few months. 

As of now, since there is no kinship in kingship the prime minister is trying to prove that nobody is indispensable for the party. JKT, on the other hand, plans to establish that he can’t be jettisoned like this and that he can be a game changer. For this purpose, he is gathering party legislators who can stand by him through thick and thin. 

JKT claims that so far he enjoys the support of some 40 legislators in the National and Punjab Assemblies and that they will meet the prime minister soon. 

On the other hand some people in the PTI want to save the party from any likely political damage because of the ongoing differences. They are trying to persuade the prime minister to spare time to meet JKT.

Egoistic prime minister, it is said, wants a committee of important party leaders to meet JKT to normalize the situation. 

What happens in future will crystalize in times ahead. However, the prime minister’s and JKT’s talks through intermediaries will be reminiscent of proximity talks between Pakistan and Afghanistan through UN mediation after the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Overwhelming majority of countries was opposed to the Soviet invasion and wanted the Soviet troops out of Afghanistan at the earliest. Pakistan was also among these countries but was not willing to talk directly to the Soviet-backed Afghan government as such a step would amount to recognizing what was called the puppet regime.

The UN had designated Diego Cordovez – and at a later stage – Lakhdar Brahimi for proximity talks between Islamabad and Kabul. It was the result of more than six years of proximity talks that the Geneva Accord was signed in April 1988 and Soviet troops had to pull out of Afghanistan under a timeline. 

The proximity talks between Imran Khan and JKT would be a manifestation of the ruling party’s incapacity to grapple with the internal party problems. Critics will be justified in saying that a party that cannot resolve its internal differences cannot be expected to deal with the multiple serious problems facing the country.

It is regrettable that the PTI which is resolved to transform Pakistan into a Madina-like state has failed to change the mindset of the people even during the holy month of Ramadan when, elsewhere traders, businessmen, shopkeepers offer all kinds of help to the poor in return for reward they will get in the Hereafter.

Unfortunately, in the Islamic republic of Pakistan it has been turned into a golden period for fleecing the people.

It is common knowledge that hoarding in anticipation of skimming greater profits is not permitted in Islam. Still, the greedy elements who want to make millions and billions in the shortest time are looting the people with both hands during the holy month.

The government has completely failed to ensure the availability of even sugar at fixed rates. Long queues of people waiting for sugar at subsidized rates are enough to humiliate the world’s seventh nuclear power at international level. 

Media reports suggest that shops are selling the sweetener for Rs 100 or even more per kilo. Those unwilling to pay are told that the commodity is out of stock.

The writ of the government stands challenged – no matter how tall claims being made by those in power.

In view of the on-ground situation it can be speculated that billions of rupees allocated to subsidize sugar will go into the personal pockets of some individuals and people will get nothing. Had the PTI leadership been really serious in converting Pakistan into a Madina-like state it would have enacted legislation to award exemplary punishments on hoarding, overcharging and similar other offences.

But lip service is going on round-the-clock and no change has been witnessed during the tenure of what is sarcastically called Tabdeeli Sarkar.