Lull as parties prepare for imminent conflict

ISLAMABAD  -  The elections are over. Political par­ties are busy in for­mation of govern­ments across the national assembly and the four provincial assemblies.

The political players are weighing in on political gambits. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which until Feb­ruary 8 seemed concerned about Im­ran Khan’s cases only, is, in particular, busy in making alliances with smaller parties to fortify its position in a post-election national political arena.

Political emotions ran high, espe­cially after Imran Khan’s oust­er via a parliamentary vote in 2022.But the recent days have recorded a significant decline in political drama as the political parties seem busy in occupying strategic positions in the assem­blies and the constitutional of­fices. Few of the erstwhile PDM parties have announced form­ing governments at the Centre, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan. Meanwhile, the embattled PTI which is in a comfortable po­sition of forming government in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, is running from pillar to post to re­verse the ‘stolen’ mandate and secure reserved seats for wom­en and minorities in the assem­blies. The PTI-backed indepen­dent returned candidates have already joined the Sunni Ittehad Council for the purpose.

Currently, there is a lull on the political horizon as new govern­ments shape up but the issue of alleged manipulation of elec­tion results is still smoldering. It was the PTI only before the polls which was crying foul but in the post-election scenario, few more political parties – also from the erstwhile PDM – have joined the chorus.

The temporary pause in the political fight gives a sense of the lull before the storm. Amidst a hue and cry over the election results, the PTI is busy in secur­ing whatever it could i.e. reserve seats in the assemblies, gov­ernment in the KP and finding new sympathizers and seeing the new lineups, one can easily foresee the future scenario. The PTI is not accepting the election results. The party has warned of ‘worst political instability’ ahead if the nation was forced to accept the “slavery of crim­inals” as they refer to the PDM 2.0 as new rulers in the Punjab and Centre.

The PTI has almost set the tone for the future course of ac­tion by saying that they reject the entire drama of PDM 2.0 af­ter the PML-N and the PPP made an announcement to form a coa­lition government in the Centre. “The nation gave the mandate to the PTI in the Centre, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) with a clear majority of 180 seats. The party will resist using all platforms against the theft of the public mandate. Decision-mak­ers must give the majority party its due right to form its govern­ment.” Said a party spokesman. “The people’s mandate must be respected. Mother of all riggings must be stopped now. Stop mak­ing a fool of yourself in front of the whole world,” said Imran Khan in a message from jail.

Acting PTI Chairman Barris­ter Gohar Khan has also assert­ed his party’s right to form gov­ernments at the Centre as well as in the provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and demanded the announcement of the election results in accor­dance with the Form 45. He warned that degrading the rela­tionship between the state and the people would not benefit the country in any way. Gohar said PTI founder Imran Khan was un­justly imprisoned in false, fabri­cated and fake cases, the PTI’s electoral symbol of ‘bat’ was tak­en away, it was not allowed to run election campaign and ev­ery possible effort was made to throw it out of the election race by flouting the Constitu­tion and the law. He warned that the move to forcibly change the election majority into a minori­ty through manipulation of the results was a recipe for disaster.

The PTI would find no place to hide until February elections. These polls seem to have provid­ed a breathing space to the mar­ginalized PTI which emerged as a ‘victorious’ against all odds. A careful scrutiny of the recent statements made by the PTI leadership suggests that the par­ty is clear on at least three points; they will not accept the pres­ent election results, they are de­termined to take reserved seats and that the party will go to ev­ery length to get Imran Khan out of jail. In a bombshell statement Thursday, PTI’s senator Ali Zafar announced that the party would write to the IMF that funds to the country be linked with ‘correct­ing’ the election results. Amid rigging allegations, the conflict is likely to continue in the courts and the assemblies in the com­ing days. PTI are firm in their views that accepting the election results would not be an option for them. Though they will fight their cases at the relevant avail­able legal forums, yet they would adopt a stubborn posture in the assemblies. 

So, it’s not difficult for anyone to predict the near future. Until Feb 8, the PTI was out of the as­semblies, their leadership was in hiding, their political workers were on the run, their houses were being raided on a regular basis and they were facing le­gal challenges. But now the PTI would have its own government in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and they would be present in the na­tional assembly and Punjab As­sembly as a strong opposition. The PTI leaders are coming to public after a long refuge. Mian Aslam Iqbal, Ali Amin Gandapur, Senator Faisal Javed, Atif Khan, Shehram Tarakai, Kamran Ban­gash, Senator Aun Abbas Bap­pi have reappeared, also giving a sense of strength to the work­ers at least to the extent of the KP. On the other hand, no party has an absolute majority in the National Assembly.

The PPP has decided not to join the coalition government or cabinet though it would support PML-N in forming the govern­ment and electing the prime min­ister. This indicated PPP lead­ers preferred to keep a distance from a government that every­one anticipates would be weak and compelled to take political­ly unpopular decisions on the ail­ing economy. It may be the first experience in Pakistan of form­ing such a government meaning thereby the PML-N-led coalition will be an unstable minority gov­ernment. PML-N leadership even at the start of the tenure is wary of the possibility that the PPP could pull the rug from under the coalition government’s feet any time that suited it.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt