- Threats and disruptions
Good that the government has, as promised, agreed to PML-N’s demands of probing alleged rigging in the national election and spared everybody the prospect of another circus in the National Assembly. Shahbaz Sharif’s threat, of not letting “the house proceeding run” did get the government’s attention, though he was left with some egg on his own since his party never elaborated on “the nature of the rigging allegations” nor “submitted Terms of Reference (ToRs) to probe alleged rigging charges,” according to Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary. Also, the PML-N president should be the last person to need reminding of how his own party reacted to similar demands when it won in 2013.
The opposition has clearly not yet been able to digest the shock of PTI’s victory. And, even though all major parties share concerns about rigging, they have continuously failed to mount any sort of meaning opposition so far. Instead, whenever they have tried to work together they have only exposed more differences that they are simply unable to overcome. In repeatedly trying to score points against each other, they have already fractured what could have been a very strong opposition to PTI’s government in the House.
While ideally a robust opposition should keep close check on the government’s policies, seasoned politicians must know the fine line between constructive criticism and obstructing functioning of the government. Some actions of some of our more senior politicians, sadly, betray a degree of immaturity not in keeping with their many decades in politics. Shutting down the House, for example, hardly benefits the opposition in any way. In times like the present, when the country is unable to afford itself and runs a real risk of default, there is a need for government and opposition to work together. No doubt as voters get more aware they will also notice how parties behave where the real business of democracy is done, Parliament, and factor such things in when they go to the polls next time.