Country’s politics within

July 22, 2019

Head of PPP Media CellPrime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the USA hopefully may not be overtaken by his habitual tirade of the political opponents in a foreign country. For, such indulgence...

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Head of PPP Media Cell

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to the USA hopefully may not be overtaken by his habitual tirade of the political opponents in a foreign country. For, such indulgence may not be taken in good stride by the people all over. The foreign minister and the media team of the prime minister in their wisdom may wade to render advice beforehand to their political boss dissuading him not to make unguarded statements on domestic politics. The notorious ‘slip of tongue’ may have the potential of eclipsing the image notwithstanding overshadowing his current visit to the US altogether. The good sense may prevail to minimise the chances of the ‘slip of tongue’. Understandably, he might have already been briefed on the sensitivity of such public interactions and the likely pitfalls. It is also suggested that Pakistani diaspora may also conduct them as Pakistani without carrying the flags of respective political parties outside or inside of the venues of engagements of the prime minister. They may prefer representing Pakistan while shoving aside party politics for a while. The optics of such behaviour will surely be amazing. Pakistan should be first rather than the party politics when in a foreign country.

It may be recalled that Chairman Bilawal Bhutto during his foreign tour a few months back was asked questions on the domestic politics that he politely declined to comment on by saying that country’s domestic politics was to be done in the country and not outside the country. The prime minister may like to take the hint from the chairman’s wisdom and desist from commenting on the domestic politics of which he is quite capable of taking it to the other extreme. The pearl of acumen may be allowed to sink in better part of the persona regardless of its source.

The politics of confrontation hardly finds any customer within and even outside the country. No surprise of its disapproval far and near because it invariably reinforces failures to the embarrassment of its undertakers in the first place. The country representatives of the (IMF), Teresa Daban Sanchez, while addressing a symposium last week in Islamabad titled “Pakistan Economy and IMF Programme: Challenges and Opportunities” has underscored the importance of evolving political consensus in Pakistan that may surely make difference between success and failure in the country’s economy. Her articulation implied the political consensus was absolutely critical to the success of the (IMF) programme involving legislation or change in the legislations for which the government had to go to the Parliament. This required the cooperation of the opposition that had formidable parliamentary presence in the Parliament. The eloquence of the (IMF) representative minced no words when she predicted that only the success of the programme would open all the doors of the international financial market for the country, and the failure may surely keep such doors shut during the unforeseeable future. The country’s economy could not withstand such fall out. It clearly implied that Pakistan could not afford the failure of the (IMF) programme because its predictable prognosis would aggravate the economic mess the country was already bitterly straitjacketed without an iota of doubt.

The political observers and fair minded people, without exception, had been constantly hammering the PTI leadership to seek the cooperation of the opposition to overcome the challenges facing the country as the politics of vendetta might inevitably spell doom and gloom. The leadership sadly remained unmoved so far reasons best to known to it. The prevailing political environment is indeed fraught with all types of dangers to the economy to the collective chagrin of the nation. It may not be easy to ignore the advice of the international lender anymore. Paying heed to it may prove as amazingly helpful to jack up the economy that has been teetering at the brink of looming crisis since this government assumed the reign of the country.

Much awaited heartening development indeed if genuine. Paradigm shift is visible in the areas, thanks to the international community that has pushed the powerful in a tight corner forcing to take action against those who have been declared international terrorists by the United Nations. The interior minister’s media talk during the last week confirming the sea-change in the policy on” Jihadis” was music to the ears of Pakistani. The re-arrest of Hafiz Saeed of JUD last week confirmed the earlier statement of the prime minister stating that Pakistani soil was not meant for Jihadis. US President Trump’s boasting on the arrest of Hafiz Saeed attributed to US pressure over the years on the country further confirmed the change against the non-state actors without the shadows of plying to the gallery. The hanging sword of (FATF) on Pakistan for interdiction of terror financing has presumably eliminated the chances of laxity in the state policies. The reported opening of desk of (FATF) at the Headquarters of (FIA) leaves no doubt in the minds regarding the total commitment of the state institutions to scrupulously implement the terror financing framework of the international watchdog.

US President Trump invitation to the prime minister of Pakistan to visit Washington for a meeting at the White House may clearly suggest that the US is somewhat satisfied with the endeavors of Pakistan in facilitating the peaceful settlement of the Afghan festering imbroglio. Pakistan’s new impetus for the “Afghan owned and Afghan led ‘ peaceful settlement of the long standing Afghan issue must have paved the way for the today’s meeting between the US president and the prime minister of Pakistan. The US president has powerful incentive in the settlement of the highly unpopular Afghan war among the American people and therefore is keen to seek out political settlement at the earliest. The political settlement of the Afghan issue may surely build his political capitals enough to brighten up Mr. Trump’s prospects of winning the presidential elections next year.

His working on ‘cut and run’ narrative in Afghanistan is precipitated in getting the US out of the war of attrition of Afghanistan that has cost the tax payers trillion of dollars and more than two thousands fatalities of the American troops and still counting in the unwinnable war. Afghanistan’s political settlement may underwrite the victory of the incumbent US president in the elections. The prospects of victory otherwise may be doubtful due to him being labeled as racist, isolationist, confrontationist who has sharply divided the American society against itself. His popularity is already on the line since his unilateral pulling out of the Paris Climate agreement and the Iranian nuclear deal in particular notwithstanding his kicking the sand in the faces of European Allies who are equally upset due to his bullying forcing them to contribute more for availing the US security umbrella.

All politics is local politics, said the US Speaker Tip O’ Neill. Local politics in Pakistan is unfortunately mired in perceived witch-hunting that may cast reflections on the prime minister’s underway visit. There is no let up by the PTI government against the high profile political opponents as the vilification and demonization of the politicians belonging to the other sides of the equation has been continuing with vengeance. They are being arrested allegedly on the specious grounds in perpetuity. The allegations of political victimisation of the repressive nature have been flying thick and fast right across in the name of accountability that does not seem to be above board. The video sandals may have rendered the whole accountability process controversial as the Accountability Judge had confessed as having been pressurised by powerful to award guilty verdict against the former prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif. As a matter of fact, the incident might have damaged the independence of the judiciary. It might not be restored easily because once the credibility of the institution was damaged it was difficult to restore it in totality. The Accountability Judge though had denied the allegations but his removal by the Islamabad High Court might lend degree of credence to the allegations.

Unfortunately, the predicaments of Pakistan’s economy are on the rise and the amber lights keep on blinking. The Reko Diq fiasco foisting prohibitive financial burden of more than five billion dollars on the country’s depleting exchequer was like Skylab fallen on the country. The economic policy planners and the political leadership are perplexed and bewildered as how to cope with the gargantuan problem to evade the tailspin situation. On the top of it current state of the economy does not inspire the matching confidence of the potential investers in substantive terms as evident in the unabated bearish stock exchange.

The government’s rigorous drive to collect taxes is being resisted by the traders, industrialists and the manufacturers alike. Their demands for tax rationalisation may not be possible for the government in the face of the whooping external and internal accounts deficit. The government reportedly has refused to succumb under the pressure with the firm resolve of forcing them to pay taxes. The emerging business scenario may not be enabling for doing business which is bad news for the economy and the people of the country who may be further marginalised due to resultant unemployment and the rate of inflation that has assumed the proportion of inferno.


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