Worse every day

The latest developments are merely making the crisis deeper

There is an element of self-parody in the shenanigans displayed by politicians. The federal government’s reaction to the PTI’s dissolution of the Punjab Assembly was to notify 35 more resignations of PTI MNAs. The PTI then decided that the consequent 33 by-elections (as two are women’s reserved seats) would all be contested by party chief Imran Khan. The PDM coalition’s response in turn was to decide not to contest any of those seats. Mr Khan is thus headed to add another 33 unopposed to the six seats to which he has already been elected.  His original seat (NA-71, Mianwali-1) is also in doubt, because the Election Commission of Pakistan has disqualified him from it in the Toshakhana Reference. Mr Khan is in appeal against this decision.

As a matter of fact, the seven by-election wins have not been notified, because he has not yet declared his election expenses on any. Normally, he would opt for one seat and by-elections would be held on the rest, but now it seems he is to hold 40 seats hostage. That is almost comic, and almost hides the arbitrariness of how Speaker Pervez Ashraf has behaved. After hanging on to the resignations for nearly 10 months, he is accepting them without the personal appearance on which he relied on as a reason to keep them pending.

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There seems no way out of the current political crisis except to give Mr Khan what he wants and allow him the National Assembly dissolution he craves.  If the PDM government had shown it had some sort of roadmap towards taking the country out of its present crisis, there would have been some point towards them remaining in office. However, it has nothing except hope, that grows more forlorn with each passing day. However, being politicians, they hope that matters will improve enough for them to face the electorate, which they cannot do at the moment. One problem with the latest developments is that they do not take the country an inch towards taking the painful but necessary steps that alone can begin to reverse the economic crisis. It is true that any party elected to office will try to duck hard decisions, but the legitimacy that a new government will have after elections will exceed that of the current government.

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


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