PTI and PML-Q study in contrasts and strange bedfellows | By Tariq Aqil

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PTI and PML-Q study in contrasts and strange bedfellows

THE murky and mysterious political arena is full of surprises and the biggest enigma of all is the unholy alliance between the PTI and the PML-Q in the Punjab.

Imran Khan and the Chowdries of Gujarat have major political differences and they just don’t see eye to eye on many issues, especially on the question of the dissolution of the Punjab Provincial Assembly.

It was only a few years back that Imran Khan had labelled Choudhry Pervez Elahi as the biggest Daku of Punjab and yet today the same Daku today is his chosen partner in the most important province of the country.

PTI and PML-Q are two divergent political forces and the only thing keeping them together is their desire and need to hold on to power and it is very clear that contrary to their claim of doing principled politics both are simply power hungry and will go to any extent to remain in control of the province of Punjab.

The Kaptaan of the PTI keeps shouting from the rooftop that he is not power hungry and his only objective is to save Pakistan from the looters and plunderers and he is struggling for the cause of real freedom for the country but in reality he too is no different from all the other politicians he is so fond of abusing and vilifying.

The PTI claims that the PDM coalition is nothing but a partnership of politicians based on their personal political interests with no common goal or ideology and that this alliance was formed for the sole purpose of ousting Imran Khan and saving their ill-gotten wealth stashed abroad but the same appears to be true for the PTI and the PMLQ in the Punjab.

The political understanding of the PTI and PMLQ is a study of differences and contradictions like the formation of the IJI back in the 10980s when the ISI was instrumental in clobbering the alliance of many parties in order to keep the Peoples party and Benazir Bhutto out of power.

In 2018 the alliance was formed by the blessings of the powerful military establishment not based on any common ideology but for the sole purpose of denying power to the PMLN in the Punjab, so like any other political alliance in the past this alliance was also formed to grab power.

There is no love lost between Imran Khan and Choudhry Pervez Elahi and yet they are coalition partners in the Punjab.

Imran Khan wants to dissolve the Punjab Assembly and enforce early elections but Pervez Elahi is in no hurry to carry out the wishes of the PTI leader, he wants to stay in power longer to strengthen his party’s position in Punjab.

Since the time of Choudhry Zahoor Elahi in the 1960s the Chowdries of Gujarat have a political history remaining on the side of the powerful military establishment.

The political strategy of the PMLQ is till the same that’s to remain in the good books of the military establishment and to maintain his political alliance with the PTI.

Pervez Elahi is very adroitly maintaining a delicate balancing act and is in no hurry to take a vote of confidence he will wait until the Lahore High Court takes a final decision on the matter and in the meantime he is just making excuses to gain more time as Chief Minister of Punjab.

This ploy by the Punjab CM is nothing but a sad comment on the state of democracy in the country; this is nothing but a crude compromise to maintain his power in Punjab; it is nothing but a cheap tactic to better serve the political interests of the PTI and the PMLQ.

Imran Khan is now fully ensconced in Lahore and his Zaman Park home is the scene of daily meetings with the top level PTI leaders to evolve a political strategy for achieving his political goals and ambitions.

The PTI rules the roost in the Punjab and KPK but there is no evidence of any meeting to discuss the problems faced by the people of their ruled provinces such as the spiraling prices of food stuff the rising threat of terrorism or the plight of the flood affected people of Punjab.

It appears that the leaders of both the PTI and the PMLQ simply do not have the time or the desire to think of the real and pressing issues faced by the common man under their rule.

Pervez Elahi is fully focused on strengthening his political position in the Punjab by launching more and more development projects and least concerned about controlling the price spiral or unemployment in his province.

The price of essential commodities, especially food items such as flour, ghee, sugar, meat and vegetables, has gone through the roof, hoarding is rampant and the market is being manipulated for the benefit of unscrupulous elements and black marketers.

To add misery to the woes of the people of Punjab, the Nanbai Association of Punjab has jacked up the price of naan to Rs 35 and the price of roti to 25.

The people of Punjab are now at the mercy of greedy market forces and hoarders of food items and the government seems to be completely helpless against these evil forces.

One of the primary duties of the Provincial Government is to control prices and prevent hoarding and black marketing but the life of the people is fast reaching an unbearable point.

—The writer is Professor of History, based in Islamabad.