Consequently, the procedure with regards to the no-confidence as prescribed in the Article 95 of the constitution was followed, leading to the ouster of the Prime Minister Imran Khan from power, paving the way for the election of the new Prime Minister, which also has been completed. Though the PTI had nominated Shah Mehmood Qureshi to contest the election for the new Prime Minister against Shahbaz Sharif, in its parliamentary meeting just before the commencement of the Assembly session, the party made a decision to resign en masse from the assemblies. However, PTI’s members did come to the assembly and after Shah Mehmood Qureshi delivered a lengthy speech heaping scorn on the opposition and propounding the international conspiracy theory to ensure Imran’s exit from power, they all walked out when Qureshi announced en masse resignations from the assembly. Imran as usual, stayed away from the assembly deliberations.
Imran Khan is sticking to his conspiracy narrative. There is no doubt that Imran Khan has considerable following among the people, particularly the youth, as we all witnessed this week, when responding to his call, people came out on the streets to show solidarity with him. But the fact is that the parties comprising PDM have far greater support than PTI, which was amply reflected in the 2018 elections.
Imran Khan, even at the peak of his popularity, could not win a simple majority to form the government. During his three-and-a-half-year rule, the graph of his popularity surely went into nose-dive as was reflected in the result of 17 by-elections for the National Assembly and provincial assembly seats, as well as the polls for cantonment boards. A Gallup survey released this week maintains that 57 percent of people are happy over Imran’s exit and 71 percent are also unhappy as the PTI government caused record inflation and increased poverty.
I think the decision of the PTI not to sit in the assembly and to prefer street politics is a perfect recipe for perennial political instability in the country. It is neither politically beneficial for the party nor can it strengthen democracy as wrongly perceived by Imran Khan. Democracy achieves strength only when all political parties follow and promote a culture of cooperation, accommodation and tolerance with the sole purpose to promote the well-being of the masses.
Imran says he does not want to sit in the assembly with his opponents whom he calls thieves, notwithstanding the fact that they also have a very strong support base among the masses. No matter how hard he tries, he cannot banish them from returning to the assemblies. Leaving the field open for the government and relying on only street power to achieve political objectives is the most un-imaginative move, to say the least.
The only way this un-ending political turmoil can be avoided and the country put on the path of sustained socio-economic development is for all the political parties to sit together and evolve a system of governance, elections and accountability which enjoys the consensus of all political forces. Imran particularly needs to heed this. If he continues with his style of politics, I am afraid he will never be able to achieve his dream of having all the cake for himself. That would harm the long-term interests of the country.