By Tariq ButtOctober 20, 2016Print : Islamabad
When Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif mentioned emergence of “dugdugi” (an un-sophisticated sub-continental musical instrument) player or juggler in every era, he alluded to a harsh political reality of Pakistan involving destabilizers, who act on the tunes set by others against democratic dispensations.
He explicitly put Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in this category, who, many believe, is working on an agenda, which can’t be of any democratic leader, to rock the system and get himself installed as prime minister by hook or crook.
“The present dugdugi player is lying and misleading people. One dugdugi player goes out and another comes in,” the prime minister remarked and also thus referred to Allama Tahirul Qadri, who created an unprecedented violent scene in 2014 but has since flown out to Canada and is no more on the old destructive path.
This is a sad chapter of Pakistan’s chequered political history that different frustrated actors, who can’t ascend to the power corridors through legitimate and kosher democratic means, are always available for service of undermining the civilian system. However, their conscience remains in deep sleep during military rules that they love because such dictatorial regimes look after them well.
The prime minister made it clear that he was not scared of such ‘juggler’, belying the impression that he was under pressure because of the threatened lockdown of the federal capital by the PTI on November 2.
During his address to the central general council of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) after his re-election as its president, the premier appeared confident and comfortable and had no apparent signs of any stress or strain that is being vigorously talked about by some circles referring to different matters including the most important new appointment or extension of the incumbent position holder. Less than six weeks are left for the key nomination that is always considered very important in Pakistan’s context contrary to all the countries of the world where it is a routine appointment.
Just a day earlier, Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif had a quite lengthy meeting, according to one report, spanning 100 minutes. The official statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office was as usual brief that may not have covered all the issues that might have come under discussion.
While the prime minister took a jibe at Imran Khan, without naming him, he did not extend an olive branch to him, suggesting a dialogue to avert him from spreading chaos and anarchy on the streets. It has been recommended by some elements that Nawaz Sharif should make a solid proposal for investigation into the offshore companies.
However, it is felt not only by the prime minister but also his entire core team that such offer at this stage would transmit a sign of weakness. Additionally, they believe that given the track record of Imran Khan, the PTI chairman will not agree to anything except Nawaz Sharif’s resignation and will adhere to his plan to put pressure for acceptance of his demands.
Some of them are of the view that the same happened in 2014 despite the fact that the prime minister had agreed to formation of a judicial commission to inquire into the election rigging allegations even before the sit-ins started, but Imran Khan had gone ahead with his premeditated march on to Islamabad that was later converted into a sit-in.
The government-opposition talks meant to prepare consensus Terms of Reference (ToRs) for a judicial probe into the offshore companies collapsed only because of the aggressiveness and insistence of the PTI and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on agreeing to their draft that targets only the prime minister and his family. It doesn’t cover the other owners of the offshore shells including Imran Khan, Aleem Khan, Jehangir Tareen, Liaquat Tarakai of the PTI and several others. This was the breaking point of the parleys as the government refused to let any inquiry concentrate on Nawaz Sharif only.
The moment there will be flexibility on both sides, the talks will succeed. But it is clear that every side is least interested in having a genuine probe into the offshore companies. When the PTI prefers to go to be out on the streets, it leaves no doubt that it is disinterested in any investigation into the issue.
It was clear from what the prime minister stated at his party’s gathering that he has no plan to show any leniency or softness in the face of the lockdown scheme and constant threats hurled by the PTI chairman to do this and to do that.
Instead, Nawaz Sharif was more focused and concerned with his aggressive development agenda, which revolved around building motorways, highways, power producing plants, hospitals, and bringing down electricity tariff and prices of essential items of daily use and refused to be derailed by any amount of destabilizing efforts.