While not directly meant as a riposte to the Election Commission’s postponement of the Punjab and KP polls, PTI chief Imran Khan addressed the party’s rally at Lahore’s Minar-i-Pakistan. Having received protective bail in the various cases against him, it was possible for him to appear personally and address the gathering. It was not an overwhelming show, and he did not make any fresh announcement, choosing instead to unveil a programme to receive the economy, after saying that the incumbent government had failed signally at that task. His proposals sounded much like his proposals before the 2018 elections, none of which materialized after the polls. The real thrust of the PTI’s effort to get the Assembly polls back on track had come earlier in the day, when it went to the Supreme Court pleading for the Court to direct the ECP to withdraw its notification postponing the election.
However, a statement by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah indicated that the government remained in a truculent mood. Rana Sana’s calling Mr Khan a liar and a traitor who should not be allowed to hold a rally at Minar-i-Pakistan could be interpreted as a threat to Mr Khan. Not only does Mr Khan cherrypick opponents’ statements to his own advantage, but of lte he has been alleging that his life is in danger. He has used that excuse to avoid appearing before the courts, though that threat did not prevent him appearing at Saturday’s rally. Mr Khan had earlier accused Rana Sanaullah of being behind the attack on him at Wazirabad on November 3 during the Azadi March. Why he had to make a statement which Mr Khan could use to say he was bein threatened, is unfathomable.
There does not seem to be any resolution in sight. Mr Khan says that the only solution is elections, but those elections must be accepted by all participants. At present, even a judicial decision will not be acceptable to the PML(N), which assumes that it is tilted towards the PTI. Until all the stakeholders, Mr Khan and those he vilified as dacoits, do not sit together and agree on a date, elections will merely throw up a government unacceptable to a large portion of people. There does not seem any movement towards such a solution. Yet without that, there seems no solution to the country’s problems.