PTI chief Imran Khan is going to find in days to come that political issues can only be resolved through talks rather than ultimatums and agitation. He wants the National Assembly to be immediately wrapped up and new elections announced. The ruling alliance is finally ready for the elections. A National Assembly committee has appointed two missing Election Commission members with the result that the ECP is now at full strength with all the four provinces duly represented. The National Assembly has also passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2022 with two important provisions that are likely to irk the PTI. The first is the rejection of the Electronic Voting Machines for casting votes. The second is denial of voting rights to expatriates. With the PTI having resigned from the National Assembly it will have no role in the appointment of the caretaker PM either who will be nominated by the PM and the leader of the opposition through consensus.
The government has withdrawn some of the NAB laws widely considered to be draconian. These laws had demoralized the bureaucracy, making it reluctant to take decisions while the provisions were used to harass the business community also. The PTI government had made use of these laws specially to subject opposition leaders to media trial and prolonged incarceration in the absence of evidence. This would ensure that the opposition leaders would not face humiliation and undeserved torture any more.
Fulfilling a promise made to the bIMF to gradually taper off the financial burden on the budget, the government has announced a significant rise in fuel prices, though still less than required by IMF. It has also decided to divert funds from development projects to finance the budget deficit. This has sent a positive message to financial markets, leading to a surge in rupee’s value and to the KSE-100 index gaining over 950 points during intraday trade. The move is also supposed to convey that, unlike the PTI, the PML(N)-led parties care more for the national interest than for their own partisan gains.
What is still lacking is any meaningful move by the govt to secure the common man from inflation which is bound to rise further with increase in fuel prices.
While maintaining that only National Assembly will decide the election date the PM has shown willingness to hold committee level talks with PTI. There is need to resolve issues through talks than waste energies and resources in marches and sit-ins.