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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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Politics today!

"Imran Khan will launch another round of long march and this time with the help of Punjab. He will lead a procession from Lahore"

After the results of the by-elections held in Punjab on July 17, I was expecting that the Pakistan Muslim League-N-led government would resign in the Centre as well as in Punjab. After all, the landslide victory of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf should have been accepted with a meaningful gesture. The by-election, which I call a mini-election, gave a clear verdict in favour of the PTI leader, Imran Khan, who has been demanding a fresh election since his ouster from the Prime Minister’s House back in April.

My contacts in the PML-N and the PPP tell me that coalition partners have decided to stick to the power corridor for now.

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Legally speaking, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will remain the prime minister as long as he enjoys the trust of the majority of the sitting MNAs.

But politics is more than legalities. It is more about perception.

On the other hand, Imran Khan does not seem happy with his newfound public popularity. He is not ready to talk to anyone to find a solution to the national crisis through serious negotiations. To him, Shehbaz Sharif, Asif Zardari and Fazlur Rehman are not too clean to be consulted for talks. He is also not satisfied with the conduct of the chief election commissioner despite finding the recent by-polls transparent and fair. He wants the CEC to go. Period.

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Far from Islamabad, a circus of horse-trading is ongoing in Lahore. Both sides are determined to win control of Lahore, come what may.

If Chaudhry Parvez Elahi becomes the chief minister as the face of the PTI, one can imagine how he will make it tough for Islamabad to govern Punjab.

Imran Khan will launch another round of long march and this time with the help of Punjab. He will lead a procession from Lahore.

People argue that Imran Khan’s previous two long marches have been utter failures.

I disagree.

In 2014, when Imran Khan concluded his 126-day-long dharna, by that time, he had shaken the foundations of the federal government.

His previous long march in June lasted for 16 hours, but Imran Khan swept the by-polls.

To deter Imran Khan from another long march, I would suggest fresh elections.

What will happen to the economy if Shehbaz Sharif keeps his hands up in the current situation?

One can see that when the results of the Punjab by-elections were announced on July 17, the next day, the rupee against the US dollar went down by Rs8. The stock exchange witnessed a bloodbath.

Every time the rupee goes down, people start talking about the incompetence of the government.

When Imran Khan was prime minister, the then opposition blamed him for the fall of the Pakistani rupee. Then, the PTI government would explain that inflation was an international phenomenon and that the oil market was historically high.

Now, when the same arguments are put up by the incumbent government, no one listens to them. Not even the PTI people, who know everything.

The blame game goes on. Sometimes, the government people blame the previous government for the economic mess. Then they say that not only in Pakistan but in every country in the world at this time, inflation and recession have made the lives of citizens miserable. No one listens to them when they say the main reason for high petrol prices is Russia’s war against Ukraine and there is no prospect of ending this war.

The only way to end this chaos, the blame game and uncertainty is fresh election.

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