Towards Conciliation?

In a surprising turn of events, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur and members of the federal cabinet, including Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi, held a joint press conference in Islamabad, where the former said he had found a solution to the province’s power issues and was willing to cooperate with the centre.

The resolution of the power concerns is not the surprising event here – although the contents of the agreement need some explanation as well – it was the image of a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) firebrand sitting next to an outspoken government minister in the spirit of cooperation and mutual agreement.

For months PTI, led most vocally by the KP Chief Minister, has maintained a political stance of confrontation that prioritizes throwing roadblocks in the operation of government affairs, disrupting parliamentary proceedings, amplifying anti-government dissent, and repeatedly challenging the legitimacy of the general election and the resultant government. As damaging as this strategy has been to Pakistan’s interests, especially as it navigates a crucial period in its economic recovery, it was inevitable that at some point the opposition would have to work with the government. Such is the nature of democracy that neither the government nor the opposition can get much done unilaterally without the buy-in of the other. Many had been urging the PTI to temper its stance; to criticize, but cooperate on operational matters, and it seems that the party has finally heeded such calls. Perhaps that would be wishful thinking. The current accord only came about after PTI MPA Fazal Elahi led protesters inside Peshawar’s Rehman Baba Grid Station and forcibly activated feeders of Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) on Sunday.

From PTI’s perspective, this could be further vindication of its stance, where confrontation brought about government capitulation. Considering the tone and tenor of PTI politics, it wouldn’t be surprising if this moment does not lead to conciliation but sparks continued confrontation.

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