An opportunity lost Mr Prime Minister
How one wonders over the attitude of Prime Minister Imran Khan who practically ran away from a video-conference presided over by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and attended by leaders of the opposition political parties including Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and President of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Shehbaz Sharif.
Both Bilawal and Shehbaz took a firm stance saying that till such time that the Prime Minister attends the conference they would not be part of this exercise that was convened with a noble objective of adopting a joint strategy to fight off the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic that has struck 197 big and small countries was being dealt with joint efforts by all segments of their societies except probably in Pakistan. The reason is that the Prime Minister is not willing to be on the speaking term with the opposition since he assumed power in 2018 after the general election, the result of which had been challenged by each political party except the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
Since the Opposition has challenged the legitimacy of the Imran Khan government, he decided, in his wisdom, never to shake hands with his political foes who accuse the establishment of imposing PTI.
It was expected that Wednesday’s interaction between the government and the Opposition would lead to such a strategy that would ensure the population to heave a sigh of relief. But due to Imran Khan’s undemocratic attitude, the exercise proved to be futile.
What’s more shocking is the fact that the PTI leaders (majority of the spokespersons) are trying to shove wisdom and statesmanship in Imran Khan’s abrupt exit from a forum that could be useful in many ways.
On the other hand, the nation is confronted with a deadly pandemic and it is time to take everyone on board and adopt a strategy with consensus to protect the lives of citizens. It has been proved beyond doubts that delayed action is no action rather it would be a criminal act knowing the devastation of the pandemic. But the Prime Minister is still surrounded by the controversy of not opting for complete lockdown even though chief ministers of Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab (where Usman Buzdar, his blue-eyed boy, is ruling) have decided to go for complete lockdown.
In his recent appearance on TV channels, the PM tried to convince everyone around on the dangers of going for complete crackdown using ‘hollow’ arguments. It may be pointed out that China and India have controlled the destruction of the pandemic by imposing total lockdown in their countries. But it seemed the Prime Minister had decided never to learn from others’ experience. It seems he is still standing on the container and making illogical demands, hollow promises, hurling abuses at the Parliament, calling fellow politicians thieves and dacoits.
The Prime Minister claimed to have been elected through the popular vote which not many people believe was a fair election. The Prime Minister must realize that he is no longer a leader of a rebellious party that stays out of the Parliament for 126 days, But later, each one of his party members including he himself received full salaries and benefits setting an example of ‘honesty’ and ‘principled attitude’.
The Prime Minister has been blaming the previous ruling regimes of loot and plunder by undermining the interest of the common man. But the Prime Minister himself used the institution of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and FIA to fix his political foes and when he thought the NAB has failed to bring about results to his liking, he got Wajid Zia transferred from Railway and appointed him as Director-General of Federal Investigating Agency (FIA) through which he is now settling his political scores. Wajid Zia was earlier obliged to be appointed Inspector General of Railways Police since he played a vital role in making the JIT report that led to the disqualification of the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Actually that was a complete failure as well because using Panama papers, which were a basis of initiating a case against Nawaz Sharif, the prosecution could not prove anything and he was disqualified for holding an Iqama, the ground that was not even part of the petition. The judgment categorically said no money laundering or corruption could be proved and yet he was awarded 10-year prison.
The Prime Minister must realize that there is a U-Turn at the top of each promise, claim and announcement that he had been making since his election campaign. He may be reminded of his saying: “I will prefer committing suicide than going to IMF”.
The prime minister must realize fast that the time is running out for him to prove his leadership by taking everyone along failing which like many past episodes he may end up in an alley.