Myriad problems and ineffective parliament 

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 03:49 PM, 24 Oct, 2020
Myriad problems and ineffective parliament 

The future political situation in Pakistan is getting hazier with the poisonous statements churned out by the opposition parties and the ruling coalition’s top brass every day. 

Every statement adds to the political temperature, depicting a war-like situation in the country which otherwise is facing myriad problems needing fullest attention for their solution.  

What is more unfortunate is the complete absence of parliament in decision-making. 

Matters that should have been discussed in the bicameral legislature are discussed in TV talk shows or news conferences, raising questions about the justification of billions of rupees the poor nation has to spend every year on the salaries and allowances and other facilities of the so-called parliamentarians. 

It is parliament’s principal duty to discuss all sorts of problems and their solutions. The parliament should formulate policies for all walks of life to justify their remunerations.   

The country’s problems are so many and so serious that a politically immature party like PTI cannot solve them single-handedly. It should take all parties along to be able to give some relief to the people.

Leaders who cannot work out a mechanism to join hands in the national interest cannot be expected to hammer out policies for other sectors.

The prime minister’s resolve to bring back Nawaz Sharif from London to Pakistan by any means and the likely fallout in case his efforts did not bring the desired results should be discussed by the parliament.  

It’s not Imran Khan’s individual problem, nor will the consequences be faced by him alone.  

The prime minister said in an interview that he would talk to his British counterpart Boris Johnson, if necessary, to bring back convicted former premier Nawaz Sharif and would also travel to the UK himself if required for the purpose.  

"We will bring him [Nawaz] back and throw him in jail," he added. “The federal government is in talks with the UK authorities and the extradition process could take time.” 

The prime minister should not ignore the fact that Mr Sharif had not launched the attack on the military and ISI leaderships without assurance of support from some quarters. 

Therefore, the possibility of Imran Khan’s mission cannot be ruled out. 

It augurs well that the prime minister expressed his willingness to talk to the opposition on all matters except giving them an NRO. 

Since the opposition parties insist that they are not calling for any NRO, the talks between the two sides should be started without delay. 

The prime minister should create an environment conducive for talks and avoid saying anything that could provoke the other side. 

His assertion: “Whatever you [opposition parties] do I am ready. If you want to protest I am ready, if you resign [from assemblies] I am ready for that as well" would only vitiate the atmosphere.  

Needless to reiterate that Mr Sharif’s address to the Gujranwala rally has started a new crisis in the country. His frontal attack on the military, ISI and the NAB leaderships has added to the tensions. 

The initiative becomes more significant as he knows well that his daughter Maryam, brother Shehbaz, nephew Hamza are in Pakistan and they may have to face consequences of his ‘intolerable’ utterances.    

Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of the former prime minister, continues to harp on the same string, a line because of which the situation is not expected to normalize. 

Her utterances in Quetta on Saturday, a day before the PDM’s public meeting in the Balochistan capital on Sunday, mean that other opposition leaders would also make fiery speeches, because of which talks between the two sides would not be possible. 

In such a situation nobody is in a position to say whether the country is heading towards fresh elections or anything else.  

Therefore, the prime minister’s claim: “If there is an election, my party would come to power with an even bigger majority in parliament and that will help the government in achieving its goals.” is a bit premature.