Withered PDM

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THOUGH there is no formal announcement for understandable reasons, the eleven-party alliance of the Opposition – Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – has evaporated from the political scene for all practical purposes due to its internal differences.

As was widely anticipated, one of the major components of the conglomerate – Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – vehemently opposed the idea of submitting resignations from the assemblies together with the long march at the crucial meeting of the heads of political parties of the alliance in Islamabad on Tuesday and as a consequence even the long march stands postponed for now.

leadership of the alliance has claimed that PPP has sought time to discuss the issue of resignations once again in its Central Executive Committee meeting and that the PDM would wait for the decision of the PPP before deciding the final fate of the long march but given the consistent Opposition of the party to the demand of resignations it is a foregone conclusion what finally would happen.

This is, indeed, a major setback to the Opposition but the outcome of the Tuesday’s meeting might prove to be a blessing in disguise for the country as people would get a respite from the politics of protests and street agitation.

It was, perhaps, with this in view that speaking on behalf of the ruling PTI, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry welcomed the decision of delaying the long march, pointing out that the Government has already invited the  Opposition for a dialogue on electoral reforms and now the two sides should sit together to talk on relevant issues.

It is also time for the Opposition to review its strategy and instead of relying heavily on the politics of confrontation; preference should be given to parliamentary politics.

Otherwise too, the Opposition seems to have lost the option of pressurizing the Government into resignation or for mid-term polls because of internal rifts and differences of approach on how to realize this objective.

It is now crystal clear that the PPP is totally opposed to part ways with its share of the system and just used the platform of PDM to get maximum benefits both from the powers that be and other component parties of the alliance.

It was because of the maximum flexibility and spirit of accommodation demonstrated by PML(N) that the PDM decided to allow PPP to field one of its stalwarts as a candidate for the Senate seat from the Federal Capital despite the fact that the numbers in the NA favoured PML(N).

However, the PPP leadership was eyeing the coveted office of the Chairman of the upper house, a target it missed due to the phenomenon of ‘rejected’ votes.

Analysts also point out that cases of PPP leadership have been shifted to Sindh courts and the PPP leaders are not facing the type of pressure being applied against PML(N) leaders.

The approach of the PPP as part of PDM has been self-centered and its decision not to tender resignations is reflective of the ground reality that the party is unlikely to gain more from immediate fresh elections than what it already has.

PPP could not make inroads in Punjab and its presence in the KP and Balochistan is fragile and, therefore, it is not expected to get any advantage in case of dissolution of assemblies in the near future.

The Government might have heaved a sigh of relief over inability of the PDM to pursue its agenda of protests and long marches but it too is unlikely to benefit in the long run if focus continued to remain on verbosity than actual delivery.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has aptly pointed out that the Government faced no threat from PDM but the price-hike is the real challenge.

The statements of the Prime Minister for the last several months clearly showed a greater realization on the part of the Government about difficulties of the people due to price-hike but unfortunately the planners have not been able to harmonize their policies with the oft-declared intentions of providing relief to the masses.

On the one hand, the Government pledges to come to the rescue of inflation-hit masses but on the other hand there is no pause to the policy of hiking electricity and gas tariff as well as prices of POL products, which have direct bearing on the price situation.

The economic condition of the country is not as rosy as is being painted while issues like unemployment, corruption, rising crime rate and people’s frustration from the justice system need immediate attention of the Government if it wants to maintain its popularity.

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