The decision of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to quit the National Assembly in protest at the ‘imposition of the imported government’ is simply a bully-boy act.
What to say of the PTI’s thinking that the same National Assembly which elected Imran Khan as a prime minister, has now become a ‘forbidden place’ if Imran Khan is not a prime minister anymore. The PTI should withdraw its resignation and let the game move on. Imran Khan puts up a formidable opposition; he has proved in the past that with his optics, and street power, he can unnerve the government. His opposition could have provided great checks and balances on the new set up.
But the PTI is just an apolitical breed when it comes to parliamentary traditions. During his last days in the government, Imran Khan said in one of his many televised speeches that if ousted from power, he will be more dangerous to those vying for the government.
Before he becomes a dangerous man for the government, Imran Khan should look back and see why he is again on the top of a container.
The fall of the PTI government and the unceremonious departure of star-appeal man Imran Khan from the Prime Minister House are a modern-day Shakespearean tragedy.
Power is temporary, but those holding it for a while forget this golden rule.
Since it assumed power in 2018, the PTI rule kept dividing the nation on the basis of hatred, intolerance and arrogance till its last day in power in April 2022. When denouement is imminent, parties change their working styles and plans and go into soul-searching to find glitches and to prepare well for the coming time.
Today’s column is dedicated to introspection about the former ruling party’s premature fall.
When the PTI began its power party, it had the mandate of the youth, had representatives from all parts of Pakistan, and had the support of the powerful institutions. Moreover, it faced scattered opposition.
As the time passed by, it emerged that the party lacked a disciplined team. It lacked political acumen. Being a minority government, the PTI cadres needed to treat its allies with kindness, and the opposition with meekness. The party, however, squandered the benefits by creating polarization and running the government on a day-to-day basis.
Instead of listening to the media, civil society, and even the hardcore PTI cadres, the main leadership kept on going ahead, giving no or less regards to its well-wishers.
After over three years of rule, the party leaves the government with a trail of baggage like unmet promises, and a worse economy.
The other side of the PTI rule is that it breached status quo politics. It empowered the middle class. Its rule promoted austerity; it launched the landmark Sehat Card in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which will be hard for the future governments to undo. It focused on accountability, external and internal current account deficits, and policy making of crucial sectors.
The government would have completed its term despite all odds, had civil-military relations not become uneasy last year. That was the start of the end. Seeing the end around, Imran Khan lost balance and he resorted to all ugly means that could ensure the longevity of his government. That was so disgraceful.
Now, when Imran Khan’s party is not in the National Assembly anymore, the incoming government needs to take measures with great care. Instead of doing anything that is a red rag to a bull, the government should initiate a dialogue with the PTI about the next polls. General elections within a year can save the country from the repeat of a 2014-like dharna, and ensuing polarization.