IN a tough talk with a group of journalists in Islamabad on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke his mind about the existing political situation arising out of the no-confidence motion against him and how he intends to address it during the next few days.
The PM categorically stated that he will not resign, ruled out talks with the opposition parties adding that he would fight out the battle till the end.
He also claimed that he has still not shown his cards and would give a surprise to the opposition on the eve of the no-confidence motion.
We have been repeatedly pleading in these columns that the practice of leg-pulling of the elected governments must end and all those mandated to govern by the masses during elections should be allowed to complete their tenure.
There is also absolutely no justification to pressurize the elected Prime Minister to resign or float any minus-one formula.
All this was also true when Imran Khan and Allama Tahirul Qadri used all conceivable pressure tactics to dislodge the then elected government and is also relevant in the present context when attempts are being made to cause the fall of the government both through fair and foul means.
However, the process of no-confidence motion is necessarily a legal, constitutional and parliamentary method of bringing about a change and it should be taken as such by all.
The acrimonious exchanges that have accompanied the process of no-confidence are bringing bad name to the political parties, politicians and the democratic system.
There are two options to resolve the prevailing political crisis – allowing the no-confidence move to culminate in a true democratic and sportsman-like spirit or engage into a comprehensive dialogue on the issues being agitated by the opposition parties.
In a democratic dispensation, the opposition is considered to be a government in waiting and therefore, there should be no hesitation to talk to it on national issues and for the cause of political stability and core interests of the country.
No one would gain anything substantial and instead might lose much if the on-going political battle is allowed to be influenced by personal egos.
Irrespective of the final outcome of the vote of no-confidence, no one would be able to rule the country with the required peace of mind for years to come in the given political realities.
If the move fizzles out, as is being claimed by the Prime Minister in a confident manner, the ruling party will not have smooth sailing as the dissident members, after bitter and spiteful exchanges/labels attached to them, are unlikely to return to the fold of the party and might prefer resigning, complicating difficulties for PTI.
The Prime Minister also threatened that he would not sit idly if his government is ousted through no-confidence motion and the same is true of the opposition, which is unlikely to allow the government to function smoothly or peacefully.
And in case, the opposition parties form the government after the fall of the PTI government, the new set-up is unlikely to sustain for long because of internal contradictions of the opposition parties that have conflicting agenda and interests.
Therefore, the most appropriate course to deal with the prevailing situation is to initiate a grand dialogue with the sincerity of purpose and objective to pacify all forces and forge consensus on how to proceed ahead.
The logic being offered by the Prime Minister that he cannot sit with a ‘thief’ (an uncalled for reference to the leader of the opposition) is not cogent as he has not been convicted by any court of law and no one should be maligned merely on the basis of perceptions and allegations.
The Government must bear in mind that it cannot throw two major political parties (PML-N and Peoples Party) into the dustbin just because of its own narrative about them when the two parties have solid bases in Punjab and Sindh and roots all over the country.
The strategy of ‘surprises’ is seriously flawed as luring opposition MPs to the government fold or preventing them from voting through administrative tactics (the Prime Minister is on record having said ‘the opposition will know in the morning how many of their people have left them’) would cause loss of higher moral grounds.
If the intended ‘surprise’ or the ‘trump card’ has anything to do with any non-political announcement at PTI’s March 27 rally, it could backfire and history will not forgive us.