At a time when, in the larger national interest, the government and the opposition should have joined hands to grapple with the countless problems facing the country, major opposition parties are making all possible efforts to oust the government headed by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.
As a result, all eyes are focused on the likely fate of the government, which is already skating on thin ice.
The ongoing power struggle has established beyond doubt that the political parties of the Islamic republic have little regard for values and principles and they can be expected to do anything – fair or unfair – to achieve the target.
At present, the PTI has a majority of only about eight votes in the 342-member National Assembly against the minimum requirement of 172 to stay at the helm.
Had all members of the lower house of parliament been conscientious, custodians of principles, the present setup would have been facing no threat at all because the majority of even a single vote can keep it afloat.
But since buyers and sellers are there in the political market – deals are being negotiated behind closed doors. Both sides are in contact with the ‘traitors’ in the rival camp and are banking upon them.
In such a situation, nobody is in a position to predict the emerging situation. Needless to point out that members of parliament, under the Constitution, are supposed to be ‘sadiq and ameen.’
Whether or when a no-confidence motion is tabled against the prime minister or whether it succeeds or not, the country is a loser because of the ongoing activity in both camps. It has created a state of uncertainty in which nobody will like to invest in any new project despite the irresistible incentives offered by the government.
In the prevailing situation, the bureaucracy is not working properly, fearing that the leaders who are accused of involvement in corruption or other illegalities today may be in power tomorrow after which investigators may have to face the dock tomorrow.
Since the opposition and the ruling party are focusing all their energies on defeating each other, they have no time to address the problems facing the people. In fact, the problems are multiplying by the day.
It may be recalled here that when a no-trust motion against then-prime minister Benazir Bhutto had failed in 1989, she had said in her speech in the house that it had shaken the country. She clearly meant that it should not be resorted to in the future to save the country from its adverse effects.
But, unfortunately, her party – PPP – has not adhered to her advice and is spearheading the current move.
Late Benazir Bhutto’s husband Asif Zardari and son Bilawal are meeting with various leaders to garner support against Imran Khan.
Zardari’s recent meeting even with Jamaat-i-Islami chief whose party has a single vote in the NA manifests the PPP’s ‘commitment’ to dislodging the government.
Billions spent over the years in the name of accountability will go to waste and those being tagged as corrupt today will be calling the shots tomorrow.
Then, everyone knows that the PPP and PML-N are arch-rivals but are together at present. Needless to say, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif had repeatedly labeled Zardari a corrupt leader and had committed to dragging him on the roads and tearing up his belly to recover the ‘looted national wealth.’
But today everything has been forgotten on the plea that there is no final word in politics.
Shehbaz Sharif met even PML-Q leaders Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi after some 14 years to persuade them to break their alliance with the PTI.
Even PMImran called on these leaders in Lahore for the sake of his government’s survival. Before inducting them into the cabinet, he had been using very derogatory language against them and calling them the biggest dacoits of Punjab.
The MQM leaders are also meeting with other parties, ostensibly, to improve their bargaining position and get a better deal from the PTI.
Assuming that the no-trust motion succeeds and Imran is thrown out of power, he will become the opposition leader, and Shehbaz Sharif, as the leader of the biggest opposition party, will get the right to become the country’s chief executive.
Even in his new role, Imran Khan will not shake hands with Shehbaz Sharif because he regards the industrialist-turned-politician to be corrupt.
As a result, as at present, there will be no interaction between the two which is required for the performance of certain constitutional functions.
The accountability process will come to an end and cases against opposition leaders will be shelved.
In other words, billions spent over the years in the name of accountability will go to waste and those being tagged as corrupt today will be calling the shots tomorrow.
But the change will not come about unless the relations between the PML-N and the military establishment are normalized.
The army doesn’t tolerate the PML-N since its supreme leader Mian Nawaz Sharif launched a frontal attack on then army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and then the ISI chief Lt Gen. Faiz Hameed more than two years ago.
Barring some unforeseeable miracle, as long as Gen Bajwa retains the post there is little possibility of the PML-N getting any important role on the political scene.
And he will retain the baton of authority till November this year.
It is also an open secret that Gen Faiz Hameed, now the corps commander, Peshawar, is likely to be the next army chief.
With this setting on the chessboard, nobody can predict the shape of things to come.
— The writer is a senior and veteran journalist with a career spanning 40 years with major national and international newspapers.