The curtain falls

January 24, 2022

Every high has a low; every rise has a fall, and every show has an end. The topsy-turvy play of ‘tabdeeli’ seems to be nearing its climax.On October 30, 2011, the PTI was re-launched in...

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Every high has a low; every rise has a fall, and every show has an end. The topsy-turvy play of ‘tabdeeli’ seems to be nearing its climax.

On October 30, 2011, the PTI was re-launched in Lahore as a third mainstream party in Pakistan’s politics. The media gave exceptional coverage to all its rallies and public gatherings. The party’s agenda was to break the two-party system and pave the way for a third party with a character who can be easily controlled and dictated.

In the 2013 general elections, the new character who happens to be famous for his U-turns couldn’t deliver much as he was not a political mind, and with weak candidates, he couldn’t make any substantial impact in parliamentary politics. His party remained in opposition and Nawaz Sharif got power. Later Mr U-turn was on the streets, waiting for some miracle and a signal from an undisclosed ‘umpire’, but he was directed towards accusing his opponents of rigging in four constituencies.

As if following a script, he kept talking about those four constituencies in almost every press conference and TV interview, but this strategy too remained in vain. Even his 126-day-long sit-in couldn’t climb him up to the PM house. Finally, the Panama scandal was unearthed which led to the ouster of Nawaz Sharif.

Later, the 2018 general election which was marred with allegations of ‘rigging’ by almost all political parties brought him to power. But with a big ego, little experience, an immature team, a weak party structure and lots of arrogance, he has now landed himself in a place where his own ‘ace’ – the former CM of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the current federal minister – recently criticised him harshly in front of the party and cabinet members present at the meeting over the ongoing gas crisis.

This time the fingers were pointed at the PM who also happens to be the chairperson of the ruling party. The dramatic argument increased the temperature of the meeting room so much that the PM reportedly asked if he should quit his job and hand it over to someone else. This news spread like wildfire in almost all news channels, creating a scene of epic embarrassment and chaos for the government.

Also, the unpopular money bill which the PTI government bulldozed in the National Assembly infused further exasperation among people as the bill introduced an additional burden of taxes on Pakistanis who are already struggling with rising inflation. The frequent rise in prices of petrol, electricity and food items has brought instability to the overall economy of Pakistan.

However, the opposition remained loud and aggressive in the house against the federal government for handing over the State Bank of Pakistan to the IMF and providing amnesty to its governor from any sort of accountability whereas the opposition itself has constantly been under the radar of strict and harsh accountability.

The failed experiment of launching and ballooning a third party just to cut the size of the two mainstream parties has given devastating results with instability, a weak economy and isolation from the international world. It proves that the gradual and natural evolution of democracy is the only way forward for progress in Pakistan.

The current situation is not favorable for the ruling party’s leader as his own house is seemingly not in order. The ‘tall’ cabinet member is also running back and forth marketing himself as the next PM if Mr U-turn is ousted. The foreign funding case has also unearthed some shocking revelations which have been undefendable for the ruling party.

A special adviser of the PM who was also a donor of the PTI was awarded a multi-million-dollar contract for a five-star hotel in Nathiagali, raising questions on the term ‘conflict of interest’ which the PM kept harping on when he was not in power. There has been quite a huge gap in statements and actions of the PM which is why today his government has sunk deep into quicksand of unpopularity.

However, the ultimate victim of this mess is the people and now they are banking on the opposition for immediate relief from this economic crisis. Therefore, the opposition parties have fastened their seat belts and are charged up for a long march towards Islamabad as people’s tolerance has reached its threshold level. It won’t be easy for the federal government to sustain public pressure due to the uncertain economic situation and, above all, the revolt brewing in the federal cabinet which has raised quite a few eyebrows.

The possibility of a forward bloc within the PTI cannot be ruled out in this situation as Mr U-turn is not in a position to keep his numbers intact, so a no-confidence motion can send him back to the pavilion. Now, let’s see when and how this curtain falls and who pulls the rope. Meanwhile, the countdown has already begun!

The writer is a columnist and social activist. He tweets MustafaBaloch_

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