Election call exposes Opposition parties’ sincerity to rain-ravaged people

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 04:00 PM, 30 Aug, 2020
Election call exposes Opposition parties’ sincerity to rain-ravaged people

To what extent the opposition parties, especially the ones that have no or very little representation in assemblies, are sincere to people and are committed to solving their problems caused by devastating rains in Karachi and other parts of the country, is manifest from a meeting they held under the chairmanship of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Islamabad on Saturday. 

Saturday was the day when arch-rivals Prime Minister Imran Khan and the PPP-led Sindh government realized that they would have to join hands to navigate millions of the affected people out of the misery and ward off such destruction in the future. The premier came up with a three-pronged strategy for the megacity and the Sindh government welcomed it. 

In view of the gravity of the situation, veteran leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, whose party is a coalition partner with the PTI, advised the prime minister to stay for a week in Karachi to solve the problems of the city.

The willingness of the two parties to cooperate with each other is nothing short of a political miracle that augurs well for the people of Sindh.

It was in this situation that those who attended a meeting at the Islamabad residence of JUI-F chief decided to seek a written deal from the PPP and the PML-N before the all-party conference. They want the two major parties to sign an agreement like the Charter of Democracy (CoD) to formalise the opposition alliance.

Efforts to hold the APC have been going on for long but the moot has been delayed for one reason or the other. While the Maulana is impatient to reach the parliament as early as possible, other parties have their own expediencies and calculations.  They will make a decision about holding the conference when their interests are best served.

The parties that will participate in the moot – whenever it is held – will call for fresh elections on the pretext that the PTI government has failed to deliver during the first two years of its rule. 

Will any sane person support such a demand in the prevailing situation? How will fresh elections solve people’s problems?  Can the country afford to hold fresh elections after two years of the previous ones? 

Logically, when the PPP and the PML-N had served out their mandated five-year terms, the PTI should also be allowed to complete its tenure.  This is the first time the PTI has come to power and people should be allowed to see how this party is different from the two parties that have ruled the country most of the time.  

At present all efforts should be focused on helping those whose businesses have been ruined by record-breaking rains and those who have lost all their assets because of this ‘calamity’. There is no justification for seeking fresh elections at a time when countless people are more worried about making the ends meet. It will not be wrong to say that at present nobody has the time even to think about elections. 

If rejected by people on both seats in the 2018 elections the Maulana has no other activity to perform, he should organize an APC to discuss how all parties could help the rain victims. All parties taking part in the moot should make generous contributions to help the affectees restart their businesses. All parties should donate according to their resources and help start a normal life. They should direct their followers to take part in the relief activities in their respective areas.

In the prevailing situation, this will be the best service to people. Everything should not be left to the government because it has limited resources and the extent of damage/loss has upset all their calculations and plans.