PTI regains Punjab  

But IK needs to hold onto his hat

With Ch Pervaiz Elahi sworn in as CM last week, the PTI has regained control over Punjab after nearly three months of PML(N) rule. On Thursday the PTI got party stalwart Sibtain Khan elected Speaker of the provincial assembly, thus further strengthening the PTI’s hold on Punjab. Ch Peraiz is credited with introducing 1122 rescue service, replacing traffic police with a more efficient system of traffic wardens and setting up the Lahore Food Street. He is also known for treating opponents as competitors rather than enemies. PTI chief Imran Khan would however want Ch Pervaiz to ruthlessly suppress the opposition and use all means, fair or foul, to stop the return of the PML(N) to power in Punjab. It remains to be seen if he abides by his projected norms or succumbs to PTI’s rough methods.

Mr Khan believes that he currently enjoys mass support and can return to power provided elections are held at the earliest. Failing to get the demand for snap polls accepted, he might try to force the elections on the administration by announcing massive marches. This will require mobilisation of Punjab government resources. To force the federal government to hold early elections Mr Khan may decide to dissolve the KP and Punjab governments. While Ch Pervaiz has already expressed readiness to dismiss the Punjab Assembly should Mr Khan instruct him to do so, it might not be easy to persuade PML(Q) legislators.

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Punjab has been in the throes of a crisis for the last four months with a third shaky government in place. Mr Khan wants snap polls. Instead of issuing ultimatums and demanding a CEC of his choice, the PTI chief needs to negotiate with leaders of other political parties on the issue. Another complex problem that needs mutual consultation is the state of the national economy. Understandings reached with the IMF and financial assistance being sought from friendly countries require a national consensus. This can be developed through talks between the government and opposition. It is time for all major parties to come together to develop consensus on an electoral schedule and matters related to the economy.

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

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