Signs of difficult days ahead
The PTI leaders of all tiers may be celebrating the arrest of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif by the NAB after the Lahore High Court refused to extend his bail, but in ultimate analysis the development will go against the rulers and help opposition parties close their ranks.
People are already fed up with the back-breaking price hike, poor law and order situation and will respond to any call coming from the opposition parties - who have already set up an alliance: Pakistan Democratic Movement.
The PDM plans to hold a protest rally in Balochistan early next month and are expected to come up with a schedule of more protests thereafter.
The anti-government developments are much faster than expected – which should be a matter of serious concern for those in power, especially the prime minister. His oft-repeated resolve that he would not spare any corrupt element even if he has to sacrifice his government manifests nothing but his political naivety.
Pragmatism demands that the government should pursue a strategy for the longevity of its rule so that it could implement its agenda and improve a lot of the downtrodden. For this purpose, it has to ensure that the opposition doesn’t get a chance to bring people out on the streets. It has also to ensure that there is no victimization of its opponents as this is a potent factor that will stoke the situation within no time.
For this purpose at times, the government has to be lenient to its arch-rivals.
But, unfortunately, the inexperienced Imran government is shooting itself in the foot. And the veteran leaders in the opposition will try to exploit the situation.
At present, Shehbaz Sharif is in NAB custody. His son Hamza has been in the custody of the anti-graft body for more than a year. He appears in the Punjab Assembly sessions because of the production orders issued by Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.
Another son Salman has been living in London for many months.
Son-in-law Ali Imran, elder brother Nawaz Sharif’s sons Hussain and Hassan, samdhi Ishaq Dar have also been living in the British capital since long.
The seriousness of allegations against them apart, the PML-N and other opposition parties are trying to create an impression that the Sharifs are being victimized.
A media report from London will further benefit the Sharifs. The report says that nearly two dozen young men gathered outside Avenfield House on Sunday evening and chanted slogans against him.
Over 20 young men in hoods and face masks gathered on Dunraven Street, across from the PML-N leader’s home, to shout “Go Nawaz Go”.
Many of them held A4 sheets with the words “We stand with Pak Army” printed on them, as well as one that read “Nawaz Sharif is a thief”.
Sharif family sources have been quoted as saying the protesters hurled abuses in Punjabi, and that the Metropolitan Police were informed about the incident at 4pm. By the time the police vehicle arrived, the crowd had dispersed, leaving behind their posters.
A complaint has been lodged with the police.
The PTI leaders should not forget that three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif has links with many foreign powers that have the capacity to change the situation in Pakistan.
He had certainly made his fiery Sept 20 speech on the advice of his friends, calculating all consequences.
In a significant move, he also launched his Twitter account a day ahead of the APC. Now he has been in constant touch with his party and supporters across the world.
If the PTI government continued to play in the hands of inexperienced elements, the times ahead may be worse than all assessments.