- In search of a line of action
Maulana Fazlur Rehman will never forgive the PTI and its chief for defeating him in the last general election. This was the second and the more devastating shock for him after the decision to incorporate FATA into KP ignoring his views on the issue. The inconsolable JUI-F chief would agree to nothing short of the overthrow of the PTI government followed by elections leading to his party regaining its lost seats, including his own.
The PPP and PML-N share the goal of the removal of the PTI government at the earliest and are unwilling to give any quarter to Prime Minister Imran Khan. They are however more realistic than the JUI-F chief. Being in the National Assembly, the two parties are keen to use all parliamentary tricks to expose and isolate the government and create a wedge between it and its coalition partners, but would prefer to desist from striking till the iron is hot.
Setting aside the suggestion that the APC be postponed till after the budget’s passage, the JUI-F chief has invited the entire opposition today. The other parties have got some of their suggestions also on the agenda that include removal of the Senate Chairman and hindering the passage of the budget. The JUI-F, on the other hand. would like them to agree to a lock down of Islamabad and the launching of an anti-government movement.
What strengthens the JUI-F’s position is the obduracy on the part of Mr Khan. Addressing the ruling parliamentary party on Tuesday, he once again ruled out any talks with the opposition, challenging it to please itself. Despite the provocation there is a likelihood that the APC might not go far beyond sharing views about the prevailing situation. The parties could formulate a joint policy about the Senate Chairman and the budget. They might even agree to hold a joint public meeting or a symbolic protest to test the waters. It would however be unwise to immediately launch a movement to overthrow the government. As long as the opposition is not hindered from expressing its view in the National Assembly, and the media and the people are not on the roads, it would be sheer adventurism to issue a call for agitation.