Clouds refuse to dispel

Flurries of activity fail to lend the situation clarity

It cannot be said that politicians have gone into hibernation. Whether they belong to the ruling coalition, or the opposition, they keep on gnawing at the situation in the hope of gaining some advantage for themselves. The best example is probably offered by Prime Minister eSharif in an interview to a Turkish news agency while in Ankara. He said that his government hopes to seal an IMF deal later this month, even though his Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, has admitted the IMF will not be releasing the last tranche of its current programme, and is already looking to another. Mr Sharif is ever being the optimist, and is clearly contemplating a future in which the coalition he heads goes into elections after having successfully negotiated a new IMF programme. Meanwhile#e, the President of the PDM, of which Mr Sharif’s PML(N) is just a component, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has predicted that the coalition may engage in local adjustments, but its members will probably contest elections separately. This lends credence to, but does not confirm, rumours that the Maulana is aspiring to the Presidency, which will be vacated later this year, while Mr Bilawal Bhuttp Zardari is aiming to become Prime Minister.

The PTI, meanwhile, is no longer bleeding as it was until recently, but the departure of another ex-MNA showed that its travails are perhaps not yet over. It was significant that former Speaker Asad Qaisar and former party Secretary General Asad Umar denied any contact with party maverick Jahangir Tareen, who is heading up a group of ex-PTi men. There was a heavy symbolism in their being in court in Islamabad, in connection with the May 9 attacks, which began a period of implosion for the PTI.

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Though the PTI is being put through the grinder for its involvement in the May 9 attacks, there is no indication that the last year of political turmoil is drawing to a close. The Supreme Court, from examining the question of adherence to the constitutionally provided time limits, has now retreated into a kind of navel-gazing, with a reserved  verdict on whether or not there was any conflict of interest in judges hearing the case of the judicial commission on audio leaks. The solution for all of this remains for the two sides to talk to each other,but Mr Qaiser was probably right when he said that the atmosphere did not seem conducive for talks.

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


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