In a round circle?

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RAPIDLY changing political and other developments are betraying all speculations about an imminent end to the ongoing crisis, which has already started taking its economic toll, compounding woes of the ordinary citizens ahead of Ramzanul Mubarak.

The joint opposition, once again, demonstrated its strength in the National Assembly on Wednesday, ahead of the debate on the motion for vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Imran Khan as it gathered, according to media reports, about 199 supporters of the move including 22 dissident members of the ruling PTI, the number of which swelled due to additions from Jhelum and Karachi.

However, the Government conveyed an impression of being undeterred and instead active members of the cabinet as well as Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed that their chances of success would swell from the existing ‘80%’ to ‘100%’ on Sunday when voting is expected on the make or break motion.

Buoyed by its surging strength, the opposition is demanding of the Prime Minister to resign as he has already lost confidence of the majority but the ruling party, using cricket metaphors, says the Captain would fight ‘till the last ball of the last over’, giving an impression of politics moving in a round circle.

The apprehensions about physical confrontation were successfully deflated when both the government and the opposition parties behaved responsibly by organizing their rallies away from the sensitive Red Zone of the capital but there is renewed fear about a showdown as PTI has announced to bring 100,000 people to the D-Chowk in front of the Parliament House on Sunday, which is seen as an attempt to pressurize members of Parliament and could also be converted into an instant sit-down if the no-confidence motion succeeds.

In the given situation, the numbers’ game is clearly in favour of the opposition and the government can only avert its fall by luring in the opposition MPs either through sale/purchase (a practice that the treasury benches claim to abhor) or ‘abduction’ or forcible prevention of opposition MPs from attending the voting session of the National Assembly.

Under these circumstances, the opposition already has worries about safety and free movement of its MNAs and the announcement of bringing 100,000 people to D-Chowk would force it too to take counter measures and one can understand the consequences.

The messy situation has arisen mainly because of constitutional deviations and violations vis-à-vis the process of vote of no-confidence.

The Constitution lays down a clear procedure which has not been followed strictly by the Speaker and attempts have also been made to delay and influence the process either through the judiciary or issues like the ‘threatening’ letter, which is being linked to a foreign-funded conspiracy to oust the present government.

There are also allegations that a conspiracy is being hatched to assassinate Prime Minister Imran Khan whereas the Government itself claimed it busted a terrorist gang that was planning to bomb the opposition rallies in Islamabad.

Under these circumstances, there is a serious threat to the law and order situation and it is the responsibility of national security institutions to take preventive measures, allowing peaceful culmination of the process of no-confidence.

Both the government and the opposition are definitely entitled to make political moves to advance their causes but they must do so while remaining strictly within the bounds of the law, the Constitution, parliamentary practices and the spirit of the democracy.

In the political process, parties have to respect each other’s mandate and willingly accept to play their roles either in the government or in the opposition as mandated by the people and sanctioned by the Constitution.

Both sides need to make calculated moves ensuring their actions do not add to the political tension and uncertainty.

There is a need to bring the process to a peaceful conclusion at the earliest as deflection of attention from the governance is causing issues like unexpected load-shedding that consumers are experiencing in the initial days of summer.

There are also reports that the country could face a serious shortage of gas in summer when its consumption even though when its consumption comes to the bare minimum.

It is also time that the letter chapter is closed as it has the potential to create difficulties for the country in the realm of foreign affairs.

 

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