Saner counselling from Gujrat

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DIFFERENT interest groups are reading differently into somewhat changed behaviour of Chaudhrys of Gujrat
but what Ch. Shujaat Hussain and Ch. Pervaiz Elahi are counselling to the Government is not just beneficial for the ruling party but also in the larger interest of the country and the system. The two leaders, known for their reconciliatory and soft-pedalled politics are advising the Government, these days, to shift its focus away from accountability and instead use its energies and time to resolve the precarious economic predicament and arrest rising inflation that has become a cause for worry for masses.
PML(Q) is a coalition partner of the PTI Government and therefore, frank and candid remarks and straight forward suggestions being offered by its leadership are being taken by some circles as harbinger of some change but a careful analysis of their opinion would make it clear that their only motive is to bring down the level of bitterness in national politics and contribute towards mitigation of problems of the people. What they say is, in fact, also the viewpoint of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is describing price-hike as number one issue and has been holding frequent meetings with authorities concerned to address the challenge. One might not agree to the Prime Minister when he says the price-hike was a conspiracy against his Government as most of the phenomenon is product of the Government’s own policies, programmes and initiatives but his remarks do indicate that he too is worried about the issue as this agitates minds of all segments of the society. Therefore, there is nothing strange if Chaudhrys ask the Government to focus on economy and price-hike, adding that if the situation was not tackled right now then no one would be ready to become Prime Minister of the country in the next three to six months. Chaudhrys and PM hold the same view on the issue but their approach is different with the former emphasizing to go for national reconciliation and the latter insisting on opposition-specific accountability. There can hardly be any two opinions that no government can deliver without peace of mind and this is also true in the prevailing circumstances. There are huge challenges before the Government but instead of addressing them it is bogged down in political rhetoric and a stage has come when almost entire opposition has come on one platform as far as criticism of the Government’s policies and its performance is concerned. The resultant political instability is not only damaging the economy further but the situation is also ripe for all kinds of speculations, conjectures and rumour-mongering, which does not augur well for the country. There is demand for fresh elections and PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is claiming that we will have elections and a new Prime Minister next year. Maulana Fazlur Rehman too is anticipating progress towards achievement of his goals by the year end and although he has wound up capital’s sit-in but his workers are blocking main roads and highways these days. People and the government would start feeling real impact of the blockade when there would be supply issues due to disruption in transportation. He is also threatening to start blocking of roads inside cities during Plan-B of his agitation, which would mean law and order situation in cities and towns and possible disruption of normal life. Under these circumstances, the Government needs to show large-heartedness as is being counselled by Chaudhry Brothers by making reconciliatory gestures towards the opposition as no leader or party alone can resolve the complicated problems and challenges being faced by the country. At the moment it seems the only issue of the country is whether or not Nawaz Sharif should be allowed to go abroad for medical treatment with or without submitting surety bonds. We too have been emphasizing in these columns that this has humanitarian angle and should be treated as such but the Government is vitiated the political environment by attaching unprecedented conditions to his departure from the country. The issue is now before the court and the Government says it would accept the verdict in letter and spirit but the question arises as to why the authorities lost an opportunity to reduce tension in politics by demonstrating goodwill gestures. The Government should listen to its coalition partners and take practical measures for reconciliation as well as provision of relief to the people who are getting weary of stubborn price-hike and joblessness.

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