- More bitterness, little benefit
The budget session was a painful ordeal for Prime Minister Imran Khan. He had to be in the House, for there was no other way to ensure PML-N legislators’ full attendance. What must have added to Mr Khan’s chagrin was that he had to listen to the budget speech for nearly an hour and a half. Meanwhile the opposition gathered in front of him, shouting “Go Imran, go” all the time. Speaking late at night on the state TV an angry Mr Khan said he could not be “blackmailed” with protests. Not content with getting the leadership of the PML-N and PPP in jail and or making them face cases in accountability courts, he wanted more and quicker action. “I will not let these ‘thieves’ alone,” he thundered as if he had personal scores to settle with the opposition.
The PM announced that he would set up a high powered inquiry commission with the one point agenda of inquiring how successive governments raised the debt to Rs 24,000 billion in 10 years. The Commission will comprise reps from the FIA, IB, ISI, FBR and SECP and presided over by him. All those in power will be fully investigated by this commission which will prepare a report so that no one dare leave the country in tatters ever again.
Intriguingly the Prime Minister also expressed bitterness over why the opposition failed to help the government while it was trying to put the economy onto an even keel. Mr Khan needs to be reminded that several offers made by the opposition to extend a helping hand to the government were rejected on the ground that these were meant to seek an NRO which the government would never give. By spurning the opposition the government forced it to adopt a hostile attitude. In order not to destabilise the government, the opposition is still confining its protests to the Natiional Asembly.
PM Khan is mistaken if he thinks his problems are over after the passing of the budget. These have in fact just started and would multiply over the coming months. There are likely to be widespread protests in the country creating a perception of instability. Meanwhile, irresponsible elements in the PTI are forcing the opposition to take to the streets.