Saturday April 20, 2024

New offensive

By Editorial Board
November 09, 2021

With the government on a weaker footing than at any previous time in recent years, the PDM has decided to embark on a plan of new rallies and marches to unseat the PTI government. The PPP, meanwhile, has a slightly different strategy, suggesting to the PML-N that the two parties work together to try and unseat the Punjab government. Many analysts believe that this would not be a difficult task. A move against Chief Minister Usman Buzdar would greatly weaken the PTI in terms of its standing and may be easier than street agitation. There have been very few movements in the country, which have worked without background support from powerful quarters. Perhaps the PDM hopes that the differences creeping in on the proverbial 'one page' could lead to such a path. The main weapon of the PDM will necessarily be inflation and the rate at which it is continuing. The Economist's Intelligence Unit (EIU) has predicted, on the basis of figures released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, that inflation will continue in the country and there will be no stop in the rate at which it is rising. While inflation is occurring around the world, the pace in Pakistan is considerably higher and the government seems to have no remedies that would resolve the problem or strengthen the economy, which has weakened as the rupee has depreciated sharply against the US dollar.

This then is a situation the PDM hopes to take advantage of. The alternative of an in-house change, beginning from Punjab, would have to be considered carefully by the alliance and the possibility of PTI allies moving away also thought of, though there have been suggestions that this could indeed happen as these parties show discontent with the PTI's handling of affairs. The fact that Imran Khan's own relations with the opposition have not improved over three years and he has repeatedly refused to even talk to the opposition leader or shake hands, despite constitutional obligations that he engage in talks with Shahbaz Sharif regarding various issues, adds to the opposition's grievances as does the NAB affair with a new ordinance coming in, under which the prime minister would be allowed to appoint a chairperson of his choice.

Practically speaking, the situation is rife for a strong opposition movement to succeed. The question is whether the PDM can muster up the numbers needed for this, even in a situation when people are infuriated and desperate, given the inflationary pressures they face and the virtual impossibility of life for the working and salaried classes. The PDM would also need to work together, forgetting its internal differences. Of the parties making up the alliance, only the JUI-F would appear to have enough street power to force change, although the PPP may be able to bring some people out in the streets, in Sindh. The road ahead is then a rocky one and the future of the PTI will rest largely upon whether the opposition gains the support from important quarters that it hopes will come its way.