- Need to resolve issues before Peshawar rally
It was understandable why Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech before the Insaf Doctor’s Forum reflected frustration. His expectations that the opposition’s rallies would fail miserably had been belied after the PDM’s impressive shows of force in Gujranwala, Karachi and Quetta. Even those the opposition calls “selectors” understand now that Mr Khan had miscalculated. Instead of drawing the right political conclusions, Mr Khan continues calling the opposition a gang of thieves who would soon be packed off to jails. One wonders if any of the PTI’s leaders or allies could persuade Mr Khan to treat the opposition as a competitor rather an enemy.
The opposition alliance has so far displayed a rare unanimity. The case against Captain (retd) Safdar and his brief arrest in Karachi failed to cause mutual suspicions. The absence of PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari from Quetta rally too raised no eyebrows. Maulana Anas Noorani was told to give a public explanation for his controversial remark which he did, ascribing it to a slip of tongue. The PDM sticks to its narrative that requires all institutions, including the military establishment, to strictly abide by their role as defined in the Constitution. It remains to be seen whether the opposition alliance can maintain unity when required to resign from the assemblies.
Those who brought the PTI to power have little reason to be satisfied with its performance. The mismanagement of the economy can affect the country’s ability to defend itself. What is more, this can cause public unrest which again can have a negative impact on the country’s security, both internal and external. Despite its desire not to be dragged into political disputes, the issues with the establishment have assumed centre stage during the rallies.
The next PDM rally is to be held on November 22. This provides more than three weeks to the PTI, the PDM and the establishment to resolve their differences. The PTI government needs to bring down the temperature so that Parliament can legislate amicably. The establishment has to follow the Constitution in letter and spirit so that it does not become a subject for heated public discussion. While the opposition’s role is to criticize the government’s policies, it has to allow the party in power to complete its tenure.