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Saturday June 15, 2024

Politics in parliament

By Editorial Board
December 28, 2022

It is a mystery just what makes former prime minister Imran Khan think that the general elections may be held in April next year. By all estimations, political observers feel – and this is rather apparent too – that the current PDM government is in no mood for early elections. Much of this is due to the economic crisis that is staring us in the face. No federal government would willingly go into early elections when inflation is at its peak, foreign reserves are nearly empty, and there is a recession on the cards. Some of it though, and something that is probably the driving force behind the PTI’s enthusiastic pursuit of early elections, is the idea that the PDM government is running from the fight in fear of defeat. The delay in the LG elections in Islamabad cannot be attributed to much else. Despite these estimations, general elections seem a far-off possibility; in fact, saner counsel suggests that Imran and his party also rethink their insistence on dissolving the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies. Such wise counsel would also emphasize the PTI accepting the PDM-PPP leadership’s offers of a return to parliament. This suggestion has now also been offered by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari who has invited Imran to return to parliament and asked him to be part of the democratic system instead of being part of the chaos that threatens to unravel democracy in the country.

With just three days to go before this year ends, politics remains as chaotic as it was in April. One would have hoped that the devastating floods would have given some pause to the political bickering. That was not to be. One would have then thought that perhaps an on-the-edge-of-disaster economy would have moved the political realm into something resembling dignified negotiations. But, under the circumstances, our political stars will in all probability be entering 2023 bickering and squabbling. While the PDM government wants to complete its tenure – and at the moment the stars seem aligned with this option – the PTI is on a warpath and had rather burn the system down just to force early elections. It has already exercised its nuclear option by announcing that both the Punjab and KP assemblies would be dissolved. But, even after the Punjab chief minister has been reinstated by the court, it seems highly unlikely that the provincial assembly would be dissolved anytime soon what with reports that a few MPAs of the PTI and PML-Q have contacted the PDM opposition in Punjab ahead of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s vote of confidence.

In all this, the only political solution – pro-people, pro-democracy and prudent – would be for the PTI to go back to the assemblies. How can early elections resolve a situation in which there is zero consensus or even an attempt at a consensus on several key issues, including election reforms, the ECP etc. How will early elections resolve anything when the majority of political parties do not want to go for early elections? Pakistan will not be able to get out of the economic mess it is in today without a political consensus and tough decisions. And the PTI is a bonafide popular political party without which it will be difficult to move forward. Naive though the wish may be, a new year’s resolution for the political realm in the country is for the political parties to finally start holding people’s interests above their own.