Need to evolve ground rules
Soon after PTI chairman Imran Khan was elected prime minister, the opposition demanded the formation of a parliamentary commission to investigate rigging in the July 25 general elections. The PML-N and MMA legislators staged a protest and did not allow Imran Khan to smoothly address the house. It is the opposition’s right to use various tactics evolved in democracies including agitation to get their demands accepted. It is in the government’s interest to listen to the opposition even if it disagrees with it and try to reduce the tensions instead of contributing to them. It was unhelpful on the part of the PTI MNAs to create a ruckus during Shahbaz Sharif’s speech which the Speaker cut short by closing his mike. That Imran Khan should revert to a combative posture even after having been elected Prime Minister and throwing challenges to the opposition was all the more alarming. The PTI government badly needs a peaceful assembly and good working relation with the position to pass laws smoothly. It can implement its development plans on time if it is willing to realize the need for inclusiveness, reconciliation and openness and avoids entering into shouting matches with the opposition. The PTI’s attitude on Friday discouraged opposition leaders from attending Imran Khan’s reception.
As he prepares to be elected the new leader of the opposition in National Assembly, Shahbaz Sharif has to take the entire opposition on board. Unless he does so he runs the risk of getting the PML-N marginalised. He needs to reconcile between the two views within the opposition towards the PTI government, the one demanding an all-out opposition and no cooperation with the government and the other opposing the government’s negative measures while supporting positive ones. Both Shahbaz and Imran have to take note of the positive response Bilawal got from the house as well as the media when he criticized both the PM and the leader of the opposition without violating decorum and pleaded with both to work for constitutional supremacy.