Coming to terms with the uselessness trying to nip the opposition, the incumbent government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has apparently decided to establish normal relations. The opposition launched a slew of political attacks on the ruling party, especially against Prime Minister Imran Khan during the inauguration session of National Assembly. However, NAB’s relentless pursuing of the PML-N leadership based on corruption charges had significantly shook them to their cores.
With the NAB investigation underway, the PM himself resorted to treating the opposition as petty criminals, and as a result the opposition refused to cooperate in and outside Parliament. The better part of the first 17 months of the PTI government, opposition parties spent every waking moment trying to take a jab at each other. PML-N and PPP barely ever saw eye to eye in the Parliament.
While recounting the events, it certainly appears that the government, in view of the numerical strength of the opposition in NA and Punjab Provincial House, used NAB to break up these parties by introducing blocks and resistance within the PML-N and PPP parties.
This is a classic move by the incumbent government, to avoid being blackmailed by the coalition partners into handing out increased share in power which might lead to the downfall of the government. However, the political opposition despite withering the worst storms remained intact, leaving the government with no other aces up their sleeve. Thus, the ruling government had to eventually reconsider its approach and seek the opposition’s cooperation; the offer of “minimum common consensus” was a subtle hint towards it.
PML-N and PPP parties responded positively to the government’s offer by extending their cooperation for the extension of the Chief of Army Staff’s Services (COAS) being processed in Parliament. The spirit guiding the opposition here is perhaps to see that the office of the COAS remains politically non-partisan.
The government had already made the extension of the incumbent COAS General Bajwa hugely controversial by the way it had handled the matter inside the Supreme Court and outside. Also, its decision to go to the apex court for a review, then deciding on Wednesday to bring the necessary bill to the NA as per the SC’s ruling and next pleading on Thursday for the SC ruling to stay until a decision on the review petition is reached indicate the ruling party, especially its main legal eagles appear to know not how best to handle the case which further deepened the controversy surrounding the COAS office.
On the other hand, PPP offer to Muttahida (MQM) of equal ministries in Sindh has further raised an alert for PTI. In a countermove attempt to secure MQM’s loyalties, Planning Minister Asad Umar also promised the MQM that Karachi’s share of resources will also be released to fund further boost Karachi’s development.
In short, PTI seems to be employing a divide and rule system for the opposition which seems to be working. However, only time will tell if PTI is really going to outsmart everyone or just fail miserably.
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03 April, 2020