No trust again

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THE situation in Punjab and KP is still fluid but according to former President and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari the coalition parties have decided to table no-trust moves against the Chief Ministers of the two provinces in a bid to frustrate plans of the PTI to dissolve these Assemblies as part of the strategy to exert more pressure on the Centre to announce snap polls.

In a television interview on Thursday, Zardari insisted that an early general election is neither good for PTI nor democracy.

He, however, added that they would contest the elections if PTI succeeds in dissolving the Assemblies.

PTI is sticking to its previous decision of dissolving the Assemblies of Punjab and KP as it thinks it would manage more seats if general election was held prematurely because of its existing popularity graph.

There are many ifs and buts about practical implementation of the decision to dissolve the two Assemblies or quit them by way of tendering resignations.

The coalition government was apparently banking on the final posture of Ch Pervez Elahi but he reaffirmed his support to the decision of Imran Khan to dissolve the assemblies during a meeting with the latter at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.

In the meeting, Pervez Elahi is reported to have once again pledged his loyalty and stressed that he owed the Punjab Assembly to the former prime minister.

In this backdrop, it is a foregone conclusion that the coalition parties can hardly pose a real challenge through no-trust moves as they do not have the required numbers.

They also cannot expect desertions from PTI as such votes cannot be counted as per latest interpretation of the law by the Supreme Court but Pervez Elahi could be in real trouble if his own party men desert him under instructions from the party head Ch Shujaat Hussain.

Otherwise, no trust would only serve as a pre-emptive measure to stop the Chief Minister from rendering advice to the Governor for dissolution of the Assembly.

The situation in the KP Assembly is even tougher for the coalition Government at the centre as PTI has a comfortable majority in the House.

The statement of Mr Zardari is also an indication that the option of Governor’s Rule in the two provinces is the least priority in the given circumstances.

However, there are no firm guarantees that the PTI would succeed in its ultimate objective of seeking an early general election by dissolving the assemblies.

This is because there are clear indications that the Federal Government would prefer elections in the two provinces rather than going for general election.

With its governments gone, PTI cannot expect for sure to get a majority in new elections and there would be no worthwhile difference even if it gets enough members elected to form governments in Punjab and KP as it is already in power in these provinces.

No trust move or dissolution of the assemblies could prove to be a plunge into darkness by their initiators as nothing can be said with certainty about the final outcome given the treacherous nature of the political manoeuvrings in Pakistan.

There was much talk about neutrality but Ch Moonis Elahi has publicly claimed that their party was advised by the former Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to stand with the PTI during the crisis.

Moonis said that there was no doubt that former COAS Bajwa fully supported the PTI, but when he withdrew his support, he had become a bad person.

If his claim is correct, this explains the subsequent developments in relations to Punjab when the PML(N) Government was first made dysfunctional and then dislodged in an intriguing manner.

We have been emphasizing in these columns that only dialogue can help resolve the political and economic challenges facing the country and, therefore, the political parties should come to the negotiating table to sort out their differences on various important national issues.

Without reforms and consensus, general election is hardly expected to produce any stable arrangement even if one party or coalition partners secure a comfortable majority in the elected houses.

The tendency of leg-pulling and non-acceptance of the mandate of others is the root cause of political tension and instability in the country and, therefore, consensus building is the need of the hour.