Changing sands of Pakistan’s politics


By Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Departure of Tahirul Qadri, Chief of Pakistani Awami Tehreek (PAT) abroad should not auger well for the nascent political alliance that seems to have died a pre-mature death after PPP pulled out of the alliance, on the pretext that it was not happy with the PTI Chief Imran Khan’s derogatory remarks about the Parliament. Although, various political parties had gathered under the banner of PAT to mount a collective struggle to get justice for the victims of the Model Town incident, factually the underlying motives were to not only destabilize the Punjab government but also to bear pressure on the Federal Government paving way for early elections or removal of the government before March in order to stop the Senate elections.

From the half hearted effort that was put in for this gathering at Lahore, apart from mere rhetoric and a 10 Point statement there were no tangible results. Opposition parties’ move to achieve their objectives has virtually scuttled.

The party leaders, especially Tahirul Qadri, who was spearheading the move, are left with no option but to go into hibernation, albeit for a while.

The change in Balochistan despite through a democratic process, is viewed by some media reports, had a direct connection with postponement or at least a delay of the Senate elections.

With PML Q now in command of Balochistan government, dissolution of the Assembly, with good efforts could be also engineered, if needed. On the same corollary, KPK Assembly may also be in jeopardy.

All these events could ultimately have impacted the time schedule of the Senate elections and the election of Chairman Senate.

However, in the emerging scenario it is evident that Senate elections shall take place on time and PML (N) would probably command the majority in the Upper House even though PTI will get a reasonable number of seats. As a matter of fact Senate elections will greatly suit the PTI as it is likely to get more seats than it would lose.

A question still lurks in the minds what really was the motive of PTI to want a delay in the Senate elections?

PML (N) of course appears to have emerged victorious in the prevailing political circumstances. While the combined opposition parties made some efforts to corner the ruling party and dent its credibility but they have  failed, at least for the time being. These parties failed not because PML N has delivered wonders for the people, but owing to the internal fissures among the opposition parties.

A united opposition with common objectives would have obviously played a more decisive role in dislodging the government but the subsequent events have amply demonstrated the weaknesses of the disjointed efforts of the opposition.

I have pointed it out time and again that when it comes to traditional politics PML N and to a certain extent PPP are simply unmatched.

These parties have their spread at the grass roots level thus making it almost impossible to beat them if the elections take place within the parameters of the system in vogue. While PTI has an emotional appeal to a good percentage of the population but owing to factors so peculiar and embedded in the country’s political environment which will override the final count of the PTI. Only a drastic revamping and a complete transformation of the existing electoral system altogether will enable the ordinary people to also contest the elections.

Otherwise, PTI would continue to grope in the dark and parties such as PML N and PPP will take a heavy toll on PTI’s possible vote bank and resultantly on the people of Pakistan.

PTI leadership is well aware of the ground realities which, is why it wanted a delay in the Senate elections and then strive for a longer term caretaker set up composed of neutral and honest people and thereafter through them achieve the purging of the Augean stables! This novel thought undoubtedly sounds good but will it ever see light of the day?

To the general masses it is of a little concern who remains in power whether PML N or PPP and for how long? Their primary concern is resolution of their problems and provision of basic facilities of life.

Judged by this yardstick, while there are a lot of tall claims and mega projects launched for optics alone both PML N and PPP lag far behind in meeting these gigantic challenges which is why people have become wary of these political parties and desperately need a change.

But unfortunately under the present circumstances it is a very optimistic thought to expect a change any time soon.