Fo­ment­ing a po­lit­i­cal cri­sis

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Ma­lik M Ashraf Email: ashrafazim2000@ya­ — The writer is free­lance colum­nist based in Is­lam­abad.

IN the wake of con­tin­ued dis­agree ment on the TORs for Ju­di­cial Com­mis­sion to be set up to probe Panama Leaks, the op­po­si­tion par­ties are now up­ping the ante against the gov­ern­ment and are threat­en­ing to launch street ag­i­ta­tions. PTI has al­ready filed a ref­er­ence with the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of Pak­istan for the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of the Prime Min­is­ter for al­legedly con­ceal­ing as­sets and giv­ing in­cor­rect in­for­ma­tion to the ECP. PPP the other ma­jor po­lit­i­cal party is also re­sort­ing to a sim­i­lar ac­tion. From th­ese de­vel­op­ments it is not dif­fi­cult to in­fer that the op­po­si­tion par­ties are bent upon fo­ment­ing a po­lit­i­cal cri­sis in the country, when it can ill-af­ford in view of per­me­at­ing pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion.

Ever since the gov­ern­ment and the op­po­si­tion have been dis­cussing the TORs, I have in my writ­ings main­tained that the op­po­si­tion does not want a probe into the Panama Leaks as its own stal­warts are the own­ers of the shell com­pa­nies and have myr­iad of skele­tons in their cup­boards. They only want to cre­ate a po­lit­i­cal cri­sis to set­tle score with the gov­ern­ment and there­fore would not agree on any­thing which ac­tu­ally leads to the for­ma­tion of the Com­mis­sion. Is it not iron­i­cal that all the par­ties in the op­po­si­tion who are gun­ning for the Prime Min­is­ter and his fam­ily com­prise of the in­di­vid­u­als in their top ech­e­lons who ei­ther have a rep­u­ta­tion of be­ing cor­rupt or are also under probe for cor­rup­tion. An­other point worth not­ing is that all th­ese par­ties have dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal creeds and even have been lev­el­ing al­le­ga­tions against each other of be­ing cor­rupt and shown ut­ter dis­dain for each other. Their get­ting to­gether is a po­lit­i­cal com­pul­sion for them all.

The PPP and MQM are feel­ing the heat as a re­sult of the suc­cess­ful oper­a­tion in Karachi by the Rangers. PPP is par­tic­u­larly an­noyed over the ar­rest of Dr.Asim who al­legedly has made star­tling rev­e­la­tions of cor­rup­tion which one way or the other seem to have links with its co-chair­per­son. Some of the PPP min­is­ters and lead­ers in Sindh are also under probe for their links with crim­i­nals and tar­get killers. MQM is also not happy about ar­rest of tar­get killers and ex­tor­tion­ists who have con­fessed their links with party, though the party in­vari­ably has been deny­ing those al­le­ga­tions.

PTI, par­tic­u­larly its chair­man Im­ran Khan who has been de­feated at ev­ery le­gal fo­rum in re­gards to his rig­ging al­le­ga­tions and has seen his dream of be­com­ing Prime Min­is­ter through a con­spir­acy ef­fec­tively shat­tered, is a dis­grun­tled man who is bent upon cre­ate a cri­sis in the country stay­ing true to the say­ing’ nei­ther we shall play nor let oth­ers play’. His party has lost al­most all the by-elec­tions and also has been badly mauled in the lo­cal body elec­tions. But the man is so stub­born that he still keeps on harp­ing on the same tune of rig­ging and has il­lu­sion about his pop­u­lar­ity. The pop­u­lar­ity of a leader is as­sessed at the bal­lot box. The ground re­al­i­ties, though they may be un­palat­able to some, are that the PML (N) un­doubt­edly re­mains the most pop­u­lar po­lit­i­cal party in the country and it still en­joys the con­fi­dence of the ma­jor­ity of them who voted it into power.

A close look at the stale­mate on the TORs re­veals that the op­po­si­tion par­ties have been very un­rea­son­able in their ap­proach and their main tar­get has been the Prime Min­is­ter in­stead of all those whose names have ap­peared in the Panama leaks. They were not ready for any ar­range­ment that en­sures across the board ac­count­abil­ity. In some cases they have even tried to be the ac­cuser and the judge. Th­ese tac­tics were de­lib­er­ately em­ployed to cre­ate a dead­lock and cre­ate the im­pres­sion that it was the gov­ern­ment which was try­ing to avoid the probe and that in view of the gov­ern­ment stance, street ag­i­ta­tions were a jus­ti­fied op­tion for the op­po­si­tion. I think only one TOR was enough for prob­ing the Panama Leaks that the Com­mis­sion should in­ves­ti­gate the cases of all those who al­legedly own off-shore com­pa­nies and the le­git­i­macy or other wise of the money in­vested in them. The modal­i­ties to go about the probe should have been left to the Com­mis­sion which has the pow­ers of a ju­di­cial court. The TORs sug­gested by the gov­ern­ment more or less stressed this point quite elo­quently. Mak­ing so much fuss on the is­sue smacks of sin­is­ter de­signs. The country ac­tu­ally needs re­forms in the sys­tem of gov­er­nance which has in­built av­enues of cor­rup­tion and breeds a cul­ture of graft and en­ti­tle­ment.

We have seen such tac­tics em­ployed by the op­po­si­tion par­ties in the past to destab­lise the sit­ting gov­ern­ments for their nar­row po­lit­i­cal gains or sim­ply to set­tle score with it. That surely has been the bane of our so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. They have been mis­lead­ing the masses by rais­ing slo­gan of fix­ing cor­rup­tion while they ac­tu­ally worked to per­pet­u­ate it. I think the masses have to show un­der­stand­ing of their machi­na­tions and not heed their calls for street ag­i­ta­tion, which is purely mo­ti­vated by po­lit­i­cal vendetta rather than any good of the masses.

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