LEADERS and parties are rightly criticized for taking U-turns on important policy decisions as these reflect poorly on their ability to visualize and plan response to issues and challenges but sometimes U-turns become pleasant and appreciable as did the PTI during its Core Committee meeting in Islamabad.
It decided to put off the plan for another long march on the Federal Capital and decided to actively take part in the by-elections of 20 constituencies of the Punjab Assembly slated for July 17.
Whatever the real factors and reasons behind this major move, it is a welcome development as this shows the PTI has now correctly analyzed and accepted the ground realities and has decided to play its due role of an effective opposition.
If the move is not followed by another U-turn by the party, it will surely have a soothing effect on the overall political tension in the country and send signals of somewhat political stability which is missing for many months.
It also confirms that the threat for launching another long march after six days on the occasion of the flopped ‘Azadi’ March on May 26 was just a face-saving.
The party did not receive the support and the kind of reaction it expected from the people and out of frustration Imran Khan returned to Peshawar vowing to come back again with due preparations.
However, on completion of the six-day deadline, IK announced that he has been advised to wait for some more days and a date would be announced accordingly but all these were taken as mere window-dressing because the decision to reshuffle the party set-up and appointment new heads also confirmed the party realized the poor response of the people was the main cause behind its unimpressive show of strength.
Anyhow, the Government can now relax and concentrate fully on tackling the apparently insurmountable economic and financial challenges of the country.
There is also a viewpoint that PTI is deriving satisfaction over the helplessness of the Government in handling the economic crisis as it has to own mistakes of the past for the sake of the country.
It is believed that instead of wasting time on organizing protests and rallies, the party should focus its energy on elections while continuing to lambast policies of the Government, especially those that lead to an increase in the burden of the common man.
The decision to contest by-elections in Punjab is also interesting as this runs contrary to the overall policy of the party under which it tendered resignations from the National Assembly (albeit on papers).
The reason is understandable as both the PTI and Pervez Elahi do not want to leave the field open for PML(N) and its allies to win the seats and gain majority in the provincial assembly lending stability to Hamza-led government and posing potential threat to the speakership of the PML(Q) leader.
PTI is also contesting the election in furtherance of its claims to put pressure of public opinion on ‘turn-coats’.
There is also the issue of reserved seats, which would be re-distributed as per latest parliamentary strength of the parties in the house after the by-elections.
Politics apart, but prudence demands practical work on the latest proposal of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for Grand National Dialogue for collective good of the people but regrettably, PTI has instantly rejected the offer on making scathing remarks against the national leadership.
By closing doors for talks with political opposition, the parties, in fact, betray their own interests and options for the future as solo flights are not encouraged or practised successfully in a democracy.
The tendency to sideline political opponents dubbing them corrupt and looters is not going to pay in the ultimate analysis as allegations and counter-allegations mean throwing dust on each other damaging the overall image and reputation of politicians and elected representatives.
All stakeholders should, therefore, sit together and ponder over ideas and plans that could help the country stand on its own feet as genuine sovereignty and self-respect are deeply linked to the economic status of a country.
We would continue to end up with begging bowl before global lenders if every government in power is kept under pressure not to take corrective measures for fear of the opposition and the public opinion.