Resolve of Coalition

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AS was expected, the PML-N government and its allies have decided that the current set-up will complete its tenure till August 2023 and the general election would be held at the stipulated time next year.

According to media reports, after a series of meetings, the coalition partners have decided not to succumb to the pressure for holding snap polls and instead expressed their firm resolve to take tough and bold measures to address malaises of the economy and improve governance.

The decision comes as PTI is preparing to organize a long march on the capital to press for its demand for early elections, declaring that it would not return from Islamabad empty-handed.

There were rumours a few days back that PML(N) was ready to quit the Government citing its inability to act freely to address the critical challenges facing the country.

Hints were dropped both by London-based supremo of PML(N) Mian Nawaz Sharif and Vice President of the party Maryum Nawaz, who believed the Government needs not bear the burden of wrong policies and bad governance of PTI during the last about four years.

Similar hints were also dropped by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah who remarked, “If we are stopped from working, our hands and feet are tied and reservations are expressed on our performance, then those responsible should take the burden.

Why should we take the responsibility when we are not responsible for destroying the economy”?

However, in a meeting the heads of the Unity Government decided to reject the demand for dissolution of the National Assembly and holding of fresh election immediately declaring that such a decision under pressure would set a bad precedent.

This confirms the widely held belief that the planned long march of PTI is not going to make any substantial change in ground situation and differences can only be sorted out through sincere dialogue.

We have been emphasizing in these columns that the Government has the capacity and capability to deliver as per expectations of the people provided obstacles are not created in the way of decision-making as these amount to disrupting the famous Shehbaz speed.

Much depends on the actual strategy of the PTI leadership about future course of the long march – whether it would be converted into a long-drawn sit-in and at what venue.

The party has initially announced to organize the gathering on the Srinagar Highway of the capital but keeping in view the experience of the 2014 march and sit-in at D-Chowk, the Government seems to be in no mood to allow the protestors to march towards the Red Zone which has already been sealed.

The decision of the Government and the arrangements being made to ensure security of the Red Zone are understandable as the area hosts important offices and diplomatic missions and any law and order situation in the zone impacts upon the working of the Government and impedes free movement of senior officials and members of the diplomatic community.

There are also numerous decisions of the courts dis-allowing any gathering in the Red Zone and alternative sites like Parade Ground and F-9 Parks have been earmarked for political activities so as to keep disturbance to normal life to the minimum.

The Government has also declared that it would handle the long march in a democratic way but urges PTI not to block the Srinagar Highway and instead hold the rally at some other viable place.

There are also apprehensions about a showdown in case the rally is not confined to an agreed place.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a senior leader of PTI, has claimed that initially protestors would gather at Srinagar Highway and the next strategy would be announced there, which adds to the uncertainty surrounding the event.

We however hope that sanity would prevail and neither the Government nor the PTI indulges in any provocative act that could have serious consequences for both sides.

 

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