Political impasse, opposition choices and next elections

The way I read the present political situation, whichever party is eventually responsible for ousting the present dispensation will take the next general election. And as regards PTI, I have two observations. One, as an outsider I still feel the party is not yet ready to face an election. And two, it seems to believe its main adversary is PML-N, as is evident from the obvious combat with N-league in Punjab, their main battle-ground. Now, an opposition at logger heads for the past many months is not exactly in the best position to unseat the government.

I don’t understand why Nawaz Sharif should resign from the assembly – a place for elected representatives of the people. For one thing, the constitution now mandates a role for the opposition with regard to the caretaker setup. Why should Nawaz Sharif deprive his party of this privilege by resigning at this point? For another, is it really clear that resigning will trigger elections? Is it not possible, even likely, for events to slip out of control of political forces? It is not possible to say for sure, but we all know which players take centre stage when things become too uncertain.

I understand the dynamics of the 2008 elections better than most people, since I was part of the setup that was unseated. There is no doubt that the 08 election was a vote out event. But then parties that got popular mandate should have put up a greater show of unity than has been the case. Surely, hardly anybody outside the government will disagree that things are much worse now. It needs no reminding that political parties should hold the national interest supreme at all times. Politicians should stop approaching the supreme court. Interestingly, the courts have emerged much smarter than politicians, carrying on with their decisions and letting the chips fall where they may.

Here’s what I make of PML-N’s present position. It is reading the PPP’s strategy quite rightly, which is very simple. Having achieved little of note during its four years in office, the party is now posturing to tap the public sympathy vote again, hoping to leverage any unexpected move that removes it from office and play martyr. In my opinion, Nawaz Sharif is considering an important political view and one whose technicalities are not immediately apparent to the masses.

If the government has to be removed, it must be done in a democratic way. That is why I call upon the PML-Q bloc sitting with its ministries and funds, I call upon the MQM, and Maulana Fazl ur Rehman and political currents in FATA to unite and topple the present dispensation. That is the real democratic way to achieve such ends. Like I have said before, it is the party that postures to remove the incumbent administration that will walk away with the biggest prize at the next election.

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