No doubt, if the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) goes ahead with its resignation plans in the National Assembly, the logical course will be by-elections for the vacant seat, but the Parliament will be deprived of a genuine opposition. Minutes before Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif won the election for the leader of the house, the en masse resignation of PTI MNAs was not a surprise. Most of the MNAs have posted their resignation letters on Twitter with captions that reiterated their love for Pakistan and most of all for their leader Imran Khan who was made to step down from premiership through a vote of no-confidence.
Other than the PTI MNAs, governors of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh also tendered their resignations after stating that they will not work under Shehbaz Sharif.
This is not sportsmanship from the party, being led by a former cricket player. The PTI members who resigned from their seats stated that they will not work with a government that chose to become ‘traitors’ just so that they could have power. For them, the new government is ‘imported’ and not welcome at all. They have stuck to their narrative of a foreign conspiracy which led to the fall of Imran Khan. They say that they will not work with a prime minister who has numerous cases of money laundering and corruption registered against him. This is a strange narrative; Imran Khan also had the individuals in his coalition government, who were facing cases from courts. Many of them were later acquitted of charges.
In the scenario, when the PTI is adamant on quitting the National Assembly, the ruling coalition should work overtime convincing the former ruling party to stay put and act as a powerful opposition. Instead, the ruling PML-N is pushing the PTI to the point of no return.
Previously, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal has said that in the case of en masse resignations from the PTI, by-elections would be held. Now that the prophecy has come through, the new government will have to prepare for elections on those seats so that those constituencies would have representatives in the parliament.
In a week of mind-boggling surprises, the last one did not really turn up the heat. To the PTI this en masse resignation may be a power move, however, if Imran Khan chooses to be the leader of the opposition, he can have held the new government accountable for their actions. In his years as a member of the opposition, Khan performed well and was always at the forefront when the government went through any hiccups. Even now, he can stay and make sure that there is accountability in the house. However, it is understandable that this would have been embarrassing for him.
With the PTI MNAs and Khan out of the National Assembly, there will be little opposition to the new government’s policies and procedures.
This may result in poor performance due to zero accountability.
Though the current members of the house are hopeful that the new government will bring about changes that will prove to be great for the nation, it is hoped the PTI will revisit its decision on en masse resignation. Imran Khan as an opposition leader will surely strengthen his political credentials. Parliamentary politics is not always about being in power.