Mitigate political tension

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AT a time when people in many parts of the country have badly been affected by torrential rains and devastating floods and are waiting for a coordinated and well-knit relief and rehabilitation operation, political confrontation is continuously on the rise because of extreme positions adopted by the opposing sides.

After the arrest of Shahbaz Gill, a case has also been registered against PTI chief Imran Khan amid warnings by the party that Imran Khan was their ‘red-line’.

Addressing his party workers and supporters at Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh, Khan once again criticized national institutions alleging that ‘neutrals’ are supporting, what he called, ‘thieves’, raising doubts about their neutrality.

He also alleged that directions for anti-PTI actions came from somewhere else, adding that a plan was being implemented to decimate the party.

There can be no two opinions that PTI is one of the major political parties having its roots in the masses and this has again been confirmed by the convincing victory of the party’s candidate in the just-held by-election in NA-245 constituency of Karachi, where the party bagged more votes than its rivals.

Earlier, PTI had a landslide victory in by-elections in Punjab which paved the way for its return to power in the largest province of the country.

There is no doubt about the popularity of the party but it is the policy of confrontation, aversion to dialogue and discussion, antipathy towards Parliament and bombardment of state institutions that are landing the party into deep trouble.

We have been emphasizing in these columns that national institutions must not be dragged into political controversies and political parties should learn to do politics on their own and not through the clutches of institutions.

It is regrettable that unrelenting criticism of and attack on state institutions amounts to bringing them into disrepute which will have serious implications for smooth functioning of the State.

What would be the future of the country if the confidence of the people is undermined in our defence and judicial institutions?

There is an unfortunate impression that political parties do not want the institutions to be truly ‘neutral’ and ‘impartial’, rather they want them to extend them legitimate and illegitimate support in advancing their questionable agendas.

Contrary to the viewpoint being expressed by the PTI leadership, national institutions have demonstrated extreme restraint in responding to the unprecedented rhetoric and criticism.

Instead of blaming others, it is time to ponder who pampered Shahbaz Gill to make a lengthy statement during a live television show which attracted charges of sedition and led to his arrest?

Similarly, police officials and judicial officers were dealing with the Gill case as per relevant rules and laws and with this in view what was justification to publicly threaten senior officers of the Islamabad Capital Territory Police as well as the lady judicial magistrate?

Why did the PTI insist that the drone that killed Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zwahiri originated in Pakistan when all reports confirmed that it flew from a Central Asian country?

As for Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), it is discharging its responsibilities and functions in a fair and transparent manner, an impression substantiated by the outcome of all the recent by-elections in different parts of the country, a majority of which have been won by the PTI.

However, despite all this there is a sustained propaganda campaign against this prestigious institution only because of what it found in long-running investigations into foreign funding by PTI.

A policy revision is overdue to avoid self-infliction and damage to the economic and security interests of the country.

There is a need to appreciate that the party could not impose its will on the government so far on the issue of holding early elections and it is unlikely it would succeed in coming months.

There is, therefore, hardly any justification to raise the ante and waste energies in fruitless pursuits.

Instead of hurling abuses against political opponents, PTI should focus on improvement of its governance in Punjab and KP as delivery matters much in the ultimate analysis.

The negative and self-centered use of social media should also come to a stop as the society stands badly polarized with consequences for national unity and solidarity.

True and visionary leaders unite nations and do not sow seeds of hatred.

 

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