ABDUL RAHMAN MALIK
THE National Accountability has touched the new heights after two ex-Prime Ministers and a former President have been nabbed by National Accountability Bureau that has given birth to severe political crisis and prompted the scattered Opposition to be united on a single platform to initiate anti-government protest to oust the incumbent government of PTI and demand fresh elections. Pakistan has been confronted with various socio-economic and politico crises, the latest in the row is the political turmoil after the heads of two mainstream political parties ie PML-N and PPP were arrested by NAB in various corrupt practices during their government, assets beyond income and incurring the loss of millions to public exchequer.
The arrest of former PM Nawaz Sharif and former President Asif Ali Zardari has triggered widespread protests throughout the country and massive traffic jams since the violent party workers of both PML -N and PPP chanted anti-Govt and anti-NAB slogans and heavily criticized PM Khan of masterminding NAB references and cases against the Sharifs and Zardari to take revenge from both Party leaders. PTI’s Naya Pakistan has so far been revolving around the arrest of bigwigs since nothing has been recovered as yet. There is no logical end for the NAB cases against the Opposition leaders. According to sources, the arrest warrants of two prominent political leaders ie former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former Finance Minister in PML-N Government Miftah Ismail were issued and they were arrested on the same day.
Those who are likely to be arrested by NAB include CM Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, former leader of Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, MPA Nasir Shah, MPA Jam Khan Shoro, MPA Abdul Rauf Khoso, ex MPA and Zila Nazim Sardar Saleem Jan Mazari. The disclosure regarding the possible arrests has jolted the PPP Sindh since after such huge arrests; the Sindh Government is likely to collapse as MPA Faryal Talpur, Sharjeel Memon and Agha Siraj Durrani are already arrested by NAB in various corruption charges and assets beyond income case. Besides this, four PPP Ministers in Sindh Cabinet resigned to secure the NA 205 seat that had fallen vacant after the death of Federal Minister Ali Mohammad Khan Mahar. The by-election was held on 23rd July 2019 and it was a tough contest between the late Ali Mohammad Mahar’s son young Ahmed Ali Mahar (Independent) and his maternal uncle Mohammad Bux Mahar PPP candidate. After a tough contest, PPP candidate returned as victorious for NA 205 seat.
The mass arrests by NAB have created a political vacuum in Sindh and the change is imminent. It is also reported by some analysts that the Forward Bloc may be formed of 25 to 30 disgruntled MPAs of PPP to form a coalition Govt with ruling PTI. If PTI succeeds in bringing in-house change, it will enable it to implement its policies in Sindh and will strengthen the Federation and help in the legislative process both at the provincial and federal levels. PTI will address the issue of deprivation and will chalk out a comprehensive plan to implement relief and welfare projects for Sindh so that real development could be brought by transforming the lives of people of Sindh. The Sindh Govt will also enable PTI Government to introduce New Local Government system to improve governance at grassroots level since it is called basic democracy since the old colonial-era. Commissionerate system has failed to deliver and have several shortcomings to cater to the needs of governance and its improvement.
JUI Chief Moulana Fazal Rahman is considered to be a big threat for PTI Government since he has been a strong critique of PTI even before PTI’s coming to power and has been leading the Opposition from the front. He even threatened to hold million march to Islamabad if PTI Government was not dissolved itself. He also refused to support Senate Chairman Aslam Sanjrani after the Government delegation failed to pursue him. The PTI has lost on economic front since it took the loan from IMF on tougher conditions that have crippled the already fragile economy of Pakistan. The price hike has invited the Opposition to be united to launch protest drive against Government since the PTI’s inefficiency has given rise to US Dollar to historical high at 151 due to mismanagement of currency exchange. The PTI’s Naya Pakistan slogan for housing is also criticized since it has so far failed to fulfil its promise to provide low-cost housing to low-income employees and people. The over-taxation has frightened the people that have affected the productivity of the businessmen and left an adverse impact on Auto Industry where the main Auto Industry firms have announced to halt their production owing to high customs duties, taxes and low sales of units.
The PTI’s Naya Pakistan was also short on Governance and legislations since no major legislation has been done in National Assembly for almost one year, only presidential ordinances are issued. The lack of numbers is halting PTI to get the bills passed owing to strong Opposition. Pakistan has done the crucial task. The recent visits of Afghan President Asharaf Ghani, Saudi Crown Prince and other Leaders to Pakistan affirm that Pakistan has redesigned and realigned its foreign policy as envisaged by PM Imran during his victory speech. The Recent successful visit of PM Imran to the US was a success as President Donald Trump gave a warm welcome to PM Imran Khan and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The Donald Trump’s statement about PM Modi resolve Kashmir issue spread like wildfire in India as Opposition heavily criticized Modi’s such request. The dismal and bleak picture of PTI’s Naya Pakistan heralds that PTI has lost on all other fronts except internal policy and external policy since the law and order is fair but it is going to be horrible if immediate steps were not taken to control and maintain it. The First Year has disappointed the public and people have started raising their voice against heavy taxes, dearness and lack of good governance model that may root PTI on the right spot as the inefficiency, immaturity and incompetency to manage affairs of the country has become a nightmare.
— The writer is freelance columnist, based in Sindh.
ABDUL RAHMAN MALIK