High time for PTI to form coalition with PPP

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 02:27 PM, 27 Mar, 2021
High time for PTI to form coalition with PPP
File photo.

The PTI-led coalition has failed to deliver on its commitments although it has already served out half of its constitutional term.

The opposition is also not playing any role to mitigate the problems facing the country. Major parties in this bloc are, in fact, in a race with each other to get better positions in the setup – even at the cost of principles.

This game has created distrust among the PDM components – as a result of which the alliance's future seems to be bleak.

The saying that there’s no final word in politics is being taken to mean that cheating the allies is also permissible. This approach has made political parties untrustworthy for one another. 

The PPP’s victory in getting its senior leader and former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani designated as opposition leader in the Senate has further added to the political stature of Mr Asif Ali Zardari as master of manipulative politics. The one-time president and husband of a former premier has left the three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif much behind in political tactics.

It will not be wrong to say so far that it is the PPP that has been taking all major decisions while other PDM parties have only been following them. It’s because of this ‘submissive’ policy that the alliance remained intact during the past six months. Had the non-PPP parties followed an independent policy the coalition would have withered long ago.

Participation in the by-elections despite the fact that PDM leaders called the assemblies  ‘fake’; contesting the Senate elections – whose electoral college comprised the same ‘fake’ assemblies; the delay in the much-trumpeted long march on Islamabad – are all because of the lead role played by the PPP.

In fact, the PPP served its own interests by following these policies which, otherwise, were very difficult for the PML-N, JUI-F and alliance components to digest.

The PPP’s eleventh-hour decision to accompany PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif to the NAB offices on Friday (March 26) was its master stroke to ‘blind’ the PML-N, JUI-F and others about its future course.

(Incidentally, the NAB postponed the hearing indefinitely – because of which the imminent showdown between the security forces and the party workers was averted).

Now the PML-N and the JUI are repenting their inability to assess the PPP’s goals and future plans. Hurt and embarrassed, these parties are working out their future course.

Ostensibly, they will try to establish that they can work even without the PPP being part of the opposition alliance.

The government, on the other hand, will celebrate the unbridgeable gulf between the PPP and the PML-N.

In this situation, there is no possibility of the government finding time and taking steps to give relief to people. In fact the measures it has already taken or will take in days ahead to get more loans from the IMF will add to people’s miseries. Already they are crying under the unbearable burden of problems and their screams will get louder when the heat of new steps grows.

The question is what should be done in the prevalent situation to give some relief to people?

Probably it’s time to make a new experiment of forming a PTI-PPP coalition at the centre and in provinces. Of course it’s a mindboggling idea in view of the animosity between the two parties and Prime Minister Imran’s resolve (reiterated umpteen times) not to spare any corrupt element.

But national interest demand that the idea must be considered seriously.

If the PTI can join hands with the PML-Q leaders that Imran had been labelling as biggest dacoits, there is no harm in sharing power with the PPP, that has following across the country.

Mr Asif Ali Zardari’s political skills may be beneficial for the country in many ways – even at the external front.

He should be given some important responsibility – like chairmanship of the Kashmir Committee – to deal with enemy India and get the Kashmiris their due rights.

Compared to Shehryar Afridi or any other non-entity, the former president is far more suitable for this role at a time when Kashmiris have pinned all hopes on Pakistan and are enduring Indian atrocities with the hope that the Islamic republic will extricate them.

Mr Zardari has unfathomable tolerance for adversaries. He tolerated even then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry; ironed out differences with the Chaudhrys of Gujrat who always held the PPP responsible for the assassination of Chaudhry Zahroor Elahi. It was because of this tolerant policy of Mr Zardari that PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi was inducted as deputy prime minister during the 2008-13 PPP rule.

Similarly, it was because of Mr Zardari’s flexible attitude towards rivals that the PPP became part of the Shehbaz Sharif’s government in Punjab. (Raja Riaz, who has now switched to the PTI, was PPP’s senior minister in the Shehbaz Sharif government).

A man who can garner even Jamaat-i-Islami’s support for Yusuf Raza Gilani as opposition leader in the Senate is certainly a man of extraordinary capabilities. By joining hands with such a party – at such a juncture – the PTI will be doing a great service to itself and the people of Pakistan

Such a strategy will also lessen pressures and tensions the PM is experiencing at present and change the course of future politics, especially at the time of elections.

The sooner Prime Minister Imran takes the initiative, buries the hatchet and takes the PPP along, the better for the country.