PM’s firm ‘No’ to resignation


AS Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (F) is insisting on the single point agenda of seeking resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan has categorically declared that he would never resign under pressure. Talking to newspersons in Islamabad on Wednesday, he said it appeared as if the JUI-F chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, is backed by foreign elements, adding that even his charter of demands is not clear.
JUI(F) leader Akram Khan Durrani informed media men after a meeting of the opposition parties’ Rahbar Committee that all the parties were unanimous on the demand for resignation of the PM as the general election was massively rigged in favour of the PTI. Given the extreme postures adopted by the two sides, result-oriented talks between the Government and the Opposition seem to be a remote possibility despite the fact that the former has formed a Committee for the purpose. However, there are good signs on the political horizons as well as was evident from several positive gestures of the two sides. An official statement issued in the Federal Capital said the Government, with its firm belief in upholding democratic ideals, would allow the proposed Azadi March, if it takes place within the ambit of law and constitution as interpreted in the decisions of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and Islamabad High Court. The decision came as per recommendations of the Committee of the Government and following clear-cut Court directions that holding of peaceful protests was democratic right of the people. This is something appreciable as earlier stance of the Government meant confrontation as the KP Chief Minister was threatening to block the marchers at all costs and there were also reports about arrests. On the other hand, Maulana Fazlur Rehman has also apparently changed his original position by saying that his protest was neither a long march nor a sit-in, rather it was a movement. This is despite the fact that the guidelines issued to would-be participants urge them to bring with them ration, text-books (for students), two sets of dresses and blankets. But here again the good thing is that they have been strictly prohibited from carrying licensed or illegal weapons, knives, batons, stick rods, etc. They have also been asked to be peaceful and encourage others to remain peaceful during the march and avoid damaging public and private property on the way. Though there is universal consensus that peaceful protests was democratic right of citizens and they are entitled to air their grievances while remaining within the ambit of the law and the constitution but demanding resignation of an elected Prime Minister or the Government through pressure tactics was neither justified in the past nor now. This tradition of undermining strength of the Government or trying to bring it down should come to an end as it has badly damaged the country’s political system, democratic process, economy and its image in the comity of nations. We have been emphasizing in these columns that every elected Government should be allowed to complete its mandated term and it should be left to the masses to decide its fate through ballot. If there are any wrongdoings or deviations from the law or the constitution, then there are lawful ways to address them. As the Prime Minister has pointed out the Army is also firmly backing him and the country is being taken forward in a coordinated manner. However, the Government too should not take it for granted and improve its governance, which is not enviable at the moment. PTI came to power to reform the economy but there are hardly any signs of required improvement in the situation. It also promised to eliminate corruption but there is no progress towards that end except cases against the opposition leaders, which are being viewed by them as political vendetta. There are legitimate complaints that the instance and rates of bribery have gone up during tenure of the present Government and this is confirmed when one goes to utilities companies for securing gas or electricity connections, visits patwari to get property documents, comes into contact with police station, traffic official, licenses issuing authorities or faces trial in courts. The Government, therefore, instead of relying heavily on statements and trading of barbs should focus on real challenges facing the country and problems that still haunt the citizens despite coming into power of a party that pledged a real change to them.

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