Yet Another Movement

It seems that the only form of politics the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) knows is the politics of protest. So much so that even when it was in the government, it spent most of its parliamentary man­date protesting various opposition members. Now back on the aisle, it is most comfortable in, PTI has gathered a smattering of political par­ties under a new banner -Tehreek Tahafuz Ayeen-i-Pakistan (TTAP) – to campaign against the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) led co­alition government.

The grievances of the opposition - surrounding inconsistencies in the electoral process - are shared by many, and the right to protest is a consti­tutionally protected right integral to democracy. However, there is a time and place for everything. Pakistan stands at a crossroads, where as a na­tion we need to focus on three strategic goals: political stability, econom­ic reform, and border security. After languishing in limbo for PTI’s entire term, Pakistan’s economy is showing a positive outlook, with growth and ease of inflationary pressures predicted. International organisations are lauding the reform process and our diplomatic outreach to repair bro­ken relationships with the US, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China is bearing fruit. The sudden increase in attacks on our strategic infrastructure also reminds us that forces seeking to disrupt this stability are ever-present and getting more desperate with their tactics.

At this delicate time, the last thing the nation needs is a disruptive coun­trywide movement that inflames emotions, distracts Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), and creates a roadblock in legislative action. The dispir­iting notion is that this movement is backed by the entire PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, which is actively disrupting the normal oper­ation of the state in a never-ending protest without clearly defined goals and objectives. This same disruption for disruption’s sake is displayed in the National Assembly, where PTI and its allies goad, sloganeer, and gen­erally manipulate legislative norms to break up active governance. They pick debate topics that flame emotions rather than ones that the govern­ment needs to legislate on, and the same policy is replicated in the media.

This agitation needs to stop. The PTI cannot be on the campaign trail forever. What the nation needs at this moment is all hands on deck, and rivalries set aside, to steer Pakistan out of an economic maelstrom and into calmer waters. Then, and only then, should PTI resume its protest movements. PTI needs to demonstrate maturity and selflessness, the na­tion is greater than any one party.

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