Messy politics  


AT a time when there was dire need to bring down political temperature, both the Government and the Opposition are intensifying the war of words complicating the political mess and diminishing the prospects of any dialogue. On Monday, the two sides took the tension to new heights with the leadership of the Opposition’s 11-party alliance – Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – giving ultimatum to the Government to resign by January 31 or face long march and the Government making mockery of the strategy and actions of the Opposition.
There is surely legitimate thinking on the part of patriotic Pakistanis that the game of destabilization should come to an end and every elected government should be allowed to complete its constitutionally mandated term of five years and that term can be reduced to four years if parties find it difficult to wait patiently for five years. However, this noble objective requires deliberate and sincere efforts from both the Government and the Opposition to play their roles while remaining strictly within the constitutional and legal framework. There is some appreciable change as far as the Government’s thinking on the issue of talks with the opposition is concerned but the lofty goal would remain a far off cry until and unless brakes are applied on provocative statements. The direction given by Prime Minister Imran Khan to his party-men for mobilization to respond to the Opposition are understandable. The Government is well within its right to present its point of view before the masses and clarify its position on issues being agitated by the Opposition. However, this should not mean polluting the atmosphere the way it is being done by some people at federal and provincial levels. Though the Opposition has hurled the threat of Long March but it should be acknowledged that it has not given a date for the purpose and a schedule would be announced after January 31. This is a sort of flexibility on the part of Opposition that offers an opportunity for talks to be held in the intervening period. We have been emphasizing in these columns that the Government needs peace of mind to implement its welfare agenda and, therefore, it should not hesitate in initiating contact with the Opposition which has not much at stake.