After ‘revolution’ plan comes national govt idea

By: Ashraf Mumtaz      Published: 12:42 PM, 31 Aug, 2021
After ‘revolution’ plan comes national govt idea
PDM leaders at the recently held Karachi rally.

Having failed to dislodge the establishment-backed PTI government in spite of opposition parties’ three years of continuous movement, Shehbaz Sharif, president of the PML-N and younger brother of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has floated the idea of a national government in the country as, in his opinion, no single party can grapple with the serious challenges facing Pakistan at present.

Talking to journalists at the end of his three-day stay in Karachi, where he had gone to address a rally organized by the PDM at Bagh-i-Jinnah, the three-time former Punjab chief minister said: “Frankly, I am telling you that sometimes when I look at these huge problems and challenges, I feel convinced that it’s not possible for one party alone [to fix them],” he said.  

“It needs collective wisdom. It requires collective efforts. That’s why I think we should have a national government in place to sort out these huge tasks. I don’t know what the exact shape of this idea would be and the right time may make things clearer but for me it’s crucial. Even if we [PML-N] win a majority, we can’t fix it alone.” 

The new brainwave is reflective of the confused thinking of the opposition parties and lack of coordination among them. 

Only a day before the PDM had given a call to people to bring about a ‘revolution’ in the country. 

The call came from the alliance chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who brands the present government as illegitimate that came to power through “backdoor”. 

“Fake rulers have destroyed the country’s economy and foreign policy during their three years in power,” he said while addressing the rally. 

The Maulana who was defeated for the first time in the 2018 elections after several successive victories in the past, and his son Mahmood is a member of the sitting National Assembly enjoying all benefits the parliamentarians are entitled to, said the PTI government was lying about economic gains and the current GDP growth rate had entered a negative territory. “We will fulfil our promises that we made to the people ... keep your spirits high and don’t be afraid,” he remarked. 

The call for a ‘revolution’ in Pakistan when it is not clear what turn the Afghan situation will take with the Taliban in the saddle and when enemy India is waiting for an opportunity to settle scores with Pakistan is reflective of the PDM leaders lack of vision.   

The question is if only a day before a revolution was being deemed necessary for a change in the country what was it that brought about change in Shehbaz Sharif’s thinking? 

Similarly, if the PML-N can wait for free, fair and transparent elections in 2023 (at the end of the PTI term) then why the long march or revolution?  

Ostensibly, there is little coordination among the PDM parties and their leaders come up with ideas without taking the allied parties into confidence.  It also indicated that they are not sincere to one another and are trying to use others for their own interests/agendas. 

If a national government is necessary to run the country, as ‘diagnosed’ by Shehbaz Sharif, then there is little justification left for the proposed long march on Islamabad.  

Likewise, the PML-N will have no logic to join the plan even if, hypothetically speaking, other parties decide to go ahead. 

And if the country’s main opposition party abstains, other parties in the PDM will not be in a position to bring the PTI government under pressure by any means, especially when the PPP and the ANP have already bidden farewell to the PDM.

After Shehbaz Sharif’s national government idea either the JUI-F will have to add its voice to it or it will stand isolated just like when other parties refused to support its long march on Islamabad after the 2018 elections.  

Shehbaz Sharif’s idea about the national government may put the very survival of the PDM in danger. 

Now there will be little justification for his party to take part in the activities aimed to pull down the PTI government. Whatever the strategy of other parties, the PML-N should come up with ideas to deal with diverse problems, leaving it to the ruling party to implement them. 

A million dollar question is what will be Mian Nawaz Sharif’s reaction to the national government idea?  

Will he support or oppose it?  

According to PML-N leader Javed Lateef, the three-time former prime minister plans to return to Pakistan during the current year – during next four months.  

His return will certainly be the result of some deal with someone at the highest level. It will lead to some change in the situation.