PTI chief Imran Khan questioned the relevance of PM Shehbaz Sharif’s visit abroad saying his presence was required in the country where millions were suffering due to rains-cum-flood havoc. Within the first two days of his presence in New York, Mr Sharif met half a dozen world leaders as well as the IMF MD and World Bank President, explaining to them the gravity of the situation faced by Pakistan and seeking their support. Despite the worsening of Pak-France relations under the PTI government, President Macron agreed to host an international conference aiming at contributing to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of flood-affected areas of Pakistan. In his speech to the UN General Assembly, US President Joe Biden made a fervent appeal to the world to help Pakistan. He also suggested negotiating debts of vulnerable nations to forestall broader economic and political crises around the world, an issue Islamabad needs to pursue in days to come. One hopes the sentiments would express themselves in deeds.
Meanwhile, unconcerned about the plight of the people in affected areas, Mr Khan continues his struggle for power. He has announced kick-starting his ‘movement for real freedom’ from Saturday, calling upon his supporters to reach Islamabad. What they will be required to do in the capital is still unknown. Will it be a single-day rally or a longer sit-in? Will the participants remain confined to the area allotted to them or they will encroach upon D-Chowk to hinder the functioning of the federal government? The government meanwhile must not deprive the PTI of basic freedoms ensured by the Constitution. The PTI on its part must confine its activities to the venue allotted to it.
The PTI leadership needs to heed the Supreme Court’s advice to return to the National Assembly to play its due role which is its obligation, particularly at a time when the nation has been badly affected by the catastrophic floods. As the court put it, “Consider the country’s economic situation as well.” Mr Khan needs to act on the Chief Justice’s observation that one should conduct oneself in a dignified manner and exercise “tolerance in matters of the state”.