Huge question mark against IK, but will it affect his political future?

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Salahuddin Haider

A huge question mark hangs against the name of Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief Imran Khan but will the desertion from the party of lady MNA Aisha Gulalalai can be read deeper than that, is too early to premature. Nevertheless a dent has been created, which is indisputable. Information secretary of PTI Naeemul Haq offered a simple one-line explanation that he will dilate on the subject late. For the present, all he can say is that Gulalalai had come to meet Imran with a delegation o fairly reasonable number of people, and had asked for a national assembly ticket. For who, has not been explained.
But more sensitive is the question as to what forced Imran Khan from staying away on a crucial day for voting where number game is invariably crucial. His decision to absent himself from the of election of a new prime minister, interim of permanent, was baffling. The election for the coveted post of premier, even interim for 45 days, of MNA from Murree-Kohala was important. That PML (N) commanding an unchallengeable majority was never in doubt. Results of voting for the post of interim prime minister showed that Khaqan Abbasi polled 221 vote, with MQM too siding with him. The urban-based party from Sindh, had withdrawn its candidate, MNA Kishwar Zehra, chief of the party’s women wing at the last minute.
What led MQM to that decision has remained unexplained, but surely the meeting between a PML delegation of two important members at the party’s temporary headquarters of Bahadurabad in Karachi, may have solved, or atleast carried assurances for solution in near future. Without that, being a hard bargainer, could never have agreed to support a party, with which it had love-hate relationship for many, many years. But MQM decision to back Khaqan Abbasi did prove beyond any shadow of doubt that it had deep grievances against the ruling Peoples Party in the southern province.
Farooq Sattar, a veteran parliamentarian, and mayor Waseem Akhtar have serious complaints of unjust treatment at the hands of Asif Zardari, and his chief minister Murad Ali Shah. They have been held up from street agitation for fear of negative reaction from the para-military force, called Rangers, calling the shots in lower riparian area of the country. The Tehrik-i-Insaaf is already confronted with far too many issues, each much more serious than the other. His party faces rebellion in its ranks. One of its ministers had openly challenged the authority and justification of Pervez Khattak to be the chief minister.
Simultaneously, two-member representation in the cabinet of the Qoumi Watan party, had defected from the KP coalition to the PPP side, a fact which can not be ignored either. Imran seems least concerned, and rightly so as long as Jamat I Islami is on his side. The JI will remain part of the ruling coalition for obvious reasons. For the time being, there is, therefore no threat to the coalition government in Khyberpukhtoonkhawa, but things can change quickly, if not immediately, perhaps in the general elections slated for next year. Whether Imran is really worried, cannot be said with any amount of certainty, but politics has its own set rules, which is vital for those in the game. These rules can be altered to suit expediency with wisdom and foresight, but considerable moral strength is required for that. Does Imran or his PTI possess that strength, coming days will furnish the answer. Predictions can be hazardous at this stage.
The PML (N), suffering a huge setback by the supreme court decision, but has shown tremendous strength by standing rock-solid behind its leader. The voting pattern in the national assembly Tuesday, was indisputable evidence. The inaugural speech from the new prime minister for 45 days of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was also a clear pointer. He named Nawaz Sharif as “our prime minister” and the vast majority of the house, thumped desks to reassure their fallen hero that he lives in their hearts.
This is significant for coming days, as Shahbaz Sharif to be installed as the next prime minister after election as MNA from Lahore constituency of NA-120, will galvanise voters behind him to assure continuity of party’s rule at the federal level, and in the Punjab and Balochistan. That is the present situation. Noon League is popular at present, and unstoppable, to use the phrase from Maryam Nawaz, but the English maxim that there is always many a slip between cup and the lips, can not be overlooked either. Analysts or glass gazers will have to wait for the next parliamentary polls for the answer to their question.