SC verdict, PML-N options and question of PM’s office

Considering the broader picture, I believe the supreme court has acted very smartly. Instead of venturing into the realm of politics and political intrigue, as many had expected, it restricted itself to the legal framework, simply delivering a legal verdict and leaving politics to politicians.

Now, as things stand, the PPP has clearly collapsed in Punjab and KP, which is why it is resorting to gambits like the Siraiki province, etc. The PTI gained from this vacuum, especially when the soft opposition presumption did the rounds, leading many to declare PPP as part of the Punjab setup. However, now PML-N is clearly anti-PPP, and won’t let this opportunity go by.

Also, I can say with a certain degree of confidence that whereas this issue will linger at least till year-end, its media hype will not last more than two to three weeks. Now everybody will get into the nitty gritty of the bench for the appeal. Then the appeal process will begin. But when the budget frenzy begins and negotiations with Americans become more serious, will the media still run this story as the main item? I don’t think so.

I believe PML-N is leveraging these developments with the vote bank in mind. That is why I don’t think it will push too hard in the streets. PTI might, but that is why because it lacks representation in parliament. Actually, its calls for the Nawaz league to resign from the assembly also stem from its complete lack of foothold in the House. Why should the N-league resign and deprive itself from its rightful say in the caretaker business?

Politicians in the opposition will have to realize that resort to the supreme court will not unseat the prime minister. A street fight will also not send him packing. The government can only fall inside parliament. For that elements in the Q-league, MQM and FATA will have to come into play. Interestingly, the Q-league raises an important point about the ruling coalition reflecting the people’s mandate. It is ironic that it sits comfortable with its ministries despite being voted out in the ’08 election.

The country stands at a very important crossroads. Very tough negotiations are underway with the Americans. The economy is weak. Nobody is willing to lend us any money – the life and blood of our economic model. Inflation is high, energy is scarce and unemployment is at disturbing levels. The government’s position is clearly precarious. Like I said, it is already considerably weak in Punjab and KP. It still retains solid support in rural Sindh, but not anything a united opposition cannot overcome. However, if it is to fall, it must either happen through no-confidence in the House, or a new election. I will not be party to any other method.

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