PM in upbeat mood


PRIME Minister Imran Khan’s address at the inaugural ceremony of Hazara Motorway on Monday sent a message that he was in upbeat mood in the aftermath of the sit-in by JUI(F) in the federal capital and verdict of the Lahore High Court granting permission to former Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad without conditions, which were previously imposed by the cabinet, for medical treatment. He mocked ‘dharna’ of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, taunted PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, reaffirmed his opt-repeated stance not to give any NRO to the Opposition and appealed to the top leadership of the judiciary to take measures to, what he called, restore confidence of the masses in the institution of justice.
Imran Khan has a reputation of giving a tough fight – be it in sports or politics – and his speech showed he was in the same frame of mind as before even after some negative developments, from his point of view, on the national political scene. This must have sent a message of hope and confidence to the otherwise somewhat demoralized workers of his party who are finding it difficult to defend some of the policies, programmes and postures of the Government. Majority of people would subscribe to the view that there should be no leg-pulling of the Government and every elected government should be allowed to complete its constitutionally mandated term so that people could decide its fate on the basis of its performance at the time of next elections. The country has suffered grievously due to political instability and the resultant lack of consistency and continuity in policies and it is time all stakeholders should sit together to bring this vicious circles of instability to an end. However, all this requires that all stakeholders and parties should agree to a ceasefire both in terms of statements and moves and actions to create a congenial atmosphere for a result-oriented national debate on the crucial issue.
We have been emphasizing in these columns that it is the Government that finds itself in disadvantageous position in case of tension and chaos and benefits most in the event of peace and tranquillity. It is also a fact that it is always the Government that is in a position to give concessions to the other side and therefore, the ruling party should not feel shy of doing so for the sake of its own interest and that of the Government. Unfortunately, some of the utterances of the Prime Minister conveyed an impression that there was little room for national reconciliation. The advice of the Premier to the Judiciary to restore confidence of the masses was clearly in reference to the latest judgement of the Lahore High Court, which meant that the Government has not accepted the verdict with open heart despite the fact that it has widely been hailed by the entire nation and even Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, a staunch ally of the PTI, too has described it as a win-win verdict by the court that provided face saving to both sides. Same is the approach of the opposition parties that make unbecoming remarks about Judiciary and judicial processes when judgements against them are delivered. There is dire need to strengthen institutions and not to make them controversial and only then the country and the state would become strong.
The tendency of expecting the judiciary to toe the line delineated by a particular segment of the society is not going to help the cause of neutral and independent judiciary. Similarly, the Opposition too is a major stakeholder in the system and it should not always be made target of scathing criticism and instead be given due respect. The recent understanding reached by parliamentary parties under which controversial bills that emanated from ordinances were withdrawn and the no-confidence motion against the Deputy Speaker was also taken back by its movers is a clear testimony that complicated situations can be tackled wisely through give and take, which is essence of democracy. Again, though JUI(F) is pursuing Plan-B of its protests but according to Chaudhry Brothers, who were instrumental in sorting out the issue of sit-in, claim that Maulana Fazlur Rehman ended his protest in Islamabad after an understanding with the Government, which needs to be respected. We believe that instead of relying on political rhetoric, the government ought to concentrate on completing CPEC projects as some of them are facing delay besides launching and implementing new development projects to make a mark as far as performance and delivery is concerned.

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