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EditorialHostile statements from ministers

Hostile statements from ministers

As the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has decided to up the ante its protest drive against the coalition set up, the government quarters seem impatient with the drive and have been exhibiting undemocratic postures. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah has warned the opposition of arrests in the coming days. In this regard, cases are being registered and some arrests have also been made. Former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has moved to court for a pre-arrest bail while some other former ministers have already sought relief from the court. Not to forget that in a democratic country, everyone has the right to peaceful protest and march against the government to pressure it into accepting their demands. Since his ouster from the Prime Minister’s House in the wake of a no-trust motion in March, PTI Chairman Imran Khan has been on the roads, with different modes. A few months ago, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which was then an alliance of most opposition parties, including the PML-N and JUI-F, was rallying against the government of Imran Khan that the prime minister should quit as he is incompetent.

Now sides have been switched as the government of yesterday is today’s opposition. When the PDM had forerunners such as Nawaz Sharif who used to address the protestors via video conferences while his daughter Maryam Nawaz gave speeches sporadically, and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman was also an important asset of the alliance, the basic aim was to topple the government through a long march and resignation from the assemblies. The PPP was also a part of the PDM, however, differences between the parties led to the party distancing itself from the movement saying that it has been hijacked by some parties for their personal gain.

Now, the PTI is today’s PDM. It has already quit assemblies, and it wants to demolish the government with a blow of a long march. The party is arranging rally after rally in big cities. The PTI wants to have election dates at the earliest. The government, on the other hand, wants to linger on its tenure as long as it can so that it can dissipate the ongoing populism style of Imran Khan’s politics. The sane option for both sides is to sit together and reach some consensus date for elections. There should be a dialogue between the two sides instead of hostile statements to make the matters worse. Pakistan has already been in turmoil for over a year due to street agitations. The government has the bigger responsibility to show a responsible face and come up with a solution to the conflict. Inflammatory statements would lead the government to a blind ally. The ministers should refrain from giving arrest threats. The government consists of a coalition, and most of the parties may not agree with the position taken by one party’s minister. Therefore, the ruling coalition should first put its own house in order and it should also allow the opposition to do peaceful protest. Similarly, the government should be allowed to complete its term.

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