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Friday June 21, 2024

Political disorder

By Editorial Board
May 06, 2022

The Eid-related pause in the political chaos in the country is over, with politics right back to squabbling over who is the legitimate holder of the seat of power. Punjab continues in uncertainty, despite getting its new CM. Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema, a PTI loyalist, continues to insist that he does not accept Hamza Shehbaz Sharif as the chief minister of Punjab and that if he could he would have Hamza arrested. The Punjab governor has also bizarrely asked the army chief to play his role in the implementation of the constitutional framework of Punjab and to restore people’s confidence in federal and provincial governments. Needless to say, this becomes all the more strange at a time when the PT and its supporters have been raising hell over ‘institutional interference’. Irony, though, seems to forever escape the former ruling party. Meanwhile, as the war of words between the forces who make up the political class of Pakistan continues, Imran Khan has said that the present government will be conducting a campaign of character assassination against him. His party members have also been talking about much the same, in the process giving far too much credence to the various rumours floating around.

It is obvious then that nothing is settled as yet. Hamza Shehbaz has still not been able to take over his full role as CM of Punjab and there is not much that can explain this situation. In the center too chaos continues, with Imran Khan stating in an interview that next time around, unless he had a clear majority and was able to bring in the kind of reform he sought, he would prefer to sit in the opposition. This is possibly one of the more lucid announcements made by the former prime minister in recent days. This month, the PTI will hold 20 rallies before a long march to Islamabad. Historically, long marches have not been able to get rid of any governments. This time should not be any different but the political temperature will keep rising.

The government has been busy in meetings with the Saudis and UAE representatives but has also announced the formation of an independent inquiry commission to probe the alleged foreign conspiracy that Imran Khan claims was the reason for the fall of his government through a vote of no-confidence. Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has said that this inquiry should help ‘end the drama’. As expected, the PTI has rejected the commission – given that the party has till now refused to accept the findings of two NSC meetings and a press conference by the DG ISPR, all categorically denying any foreign conspiracy against the previous government. In a further dose of irony, after casting doubts over the country’s judicial system, the PTI insists it will only accept an independent judicial commission into the ‘conspiracy’, with ‘open hearings’. With a slogan that has captured the imagination of a large number of people, especially the well-heeled, there is no reason for the PTI to not want to prolong this matter as far as it can. The party is using every opportunity – including a Fox News’ defence analyst’s statement – to further its narrative. And as far as its supporters go, its strategy is still working. Most observers within and outside the media have commented on just how well the former ruling party uses social media to further its agenda, using polarizing campaigns against the sitting government, any dissenting voice within mainstream media, as well as state institutions. Any hope that things may simmer down would be a highly optimistic view of today’s politics in the country. In fact, we seem to be headed in the opposite direction. A solution has to be found and the sooner this is done the sooner the people of Pakistan will benefit from a working government which can keep the country on track.