No-trust motion

The opposition is running into difficulties

The opposition parties have far from given up their efforts to bring a no-confidence motion against the government, what with the two largest parties’ leaders, Asif Ali Zardari and Mian Nawaz Sharif, getting in touch with one another on the phone. However, neither party had been able to get any joy from any of the current supporters of the government, without whose support the no-confidence motion cannot succeed. There were high hopes attached to the PML-Q and the MQM-P, but it seems that neither is willing to withdraw its support from the government. There is a universal assumption that these parties will not make the switch until they are told to do so by the establishment, which had delivered their support to the government in the first place.

This has resulted in a paradoxical situation for the opposition parties. Their main objection to the present government is that it has been imposed on the country by the establishment. Yet it seems that these parties are relying on that same establishment to pry away those smaller parties from the government and deliver them to the opposition. Also, if indeed the opposition does succeed in ousting the present government and going for fresh elections, where will its narrative stand if it relies on that very same establishment to bring one party or another to office with the support of those same pro-establishment parties?

The problem is that the reason for having a ‘hybrid government’ is to ensure that the government is carried on in such a manner that the establishment’s institutional goals are achieved, even while the impression is created that the government is an elected one. A hybrid government cannot deliver on such goals, mainly because it is rendered ineffective if it has to keep looking over its shoulder for approval of its actions. A government, if it comes to office through the will of the people, can only bring about meaningful change if it takes the leading lights of the very establishment which is giving it support. The establishment would like to escape the pain that would accompany a true reform. That is perhaps its only hope of survival. The opposition’s own actions over the no-confidence motion have made it appear that its real grievance was not that the establishment was playing an extra-constitutional role, but that its selection had not been of them.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].

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