Need to engage the opposition | Pakistan Today

Need to engage the opposition

  • Establishment- PDM dialogue can save the situation

There was a time when all opposition parties wanted to resolve issues with PTI government through talks. PM Imran Khan’s hubris however led him to reject the moves disdainfully, calling these as attempts to seek the NRO. Things have reached a point now where no one in the PDM is willing to negotiate with the “selected” PM. Meanwhile, the opposition has already held half of its six planned rallies. The latest in Quetta drew big crowds fed up with the government’s policies like the earlier ones despite intelligence warnings of a possible terror attack.

Over the past few weeks the 11-party alliance has developed a common narrative. The PDM maintains that the PTI’s ‘selected’ government is thoroughly incompetent. According to the alliance, while the government’s policies have made life miserable for the common man and drawn resentment from smaller provinces, its foreign policy is alienating Pakistan from friendly countries. The government has tried to suppress the independent media, made attempts to target impartial judges and has failed to stop the wave of disappearances in the country. The PDM accuses the government of failing to deter India from changing the status of Kashmir, thus openly turning the disputed region into a colony.

According to the opposition’s narrative, the “selected” PM pays no attention to the sufferings of the common man because he does not consider himself responsible to the electorate. This has led the PDM to conclude that the fault lies with the establishment which has brought an inept leader to power. While there may be variations in the tone of the alliance partners, the substance of their narrative remains the same.

The PTI’s ministers have called upon the establishment to take stern action against the opposition. Any move in the direction would not deter those who are already facing several cases or have remained under custody. It could however add to the prevailing restiveness among the masses caused by the government’s failed policies. This suits neither Pakistan nor its friends and allies. The situation along the LoC, ongoing peace efforts in Afghanistan and the timely completion of the CPEC require peace and stability in the country. The way out is a substantive dialogue between the establishment and the PDM with the exclusion of the government representatives unlike the talks last month.