A sudden outburst of bonhomie in NA

  • What goes up fast comes down fast


In a rare exercise of give and take, the opposition agreed to withdraw a no-confidence motion against Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri and the government agreed to hold a debate on the ordinances that were previously bulldozed through National Assembly, leading the opposition to call it the “darkest hour in the parliament’s history”. Speeches delivered soon after the agreement underlined the need to further improve the assembly’s atmosphere. The understanding reached is a positive development. But it would be unrealistic to hope that henceforth everything will be hunky dory in the NA.

While it takes two to tango, the treasury benches bear a greater responsibility to make the system work in order to be able to deliver. A number of factors stand in the way. To start with is the rigid mindset at the top that has stood in the way of developing working relations with the opposition. There is a perception that with the support of all institutions that matter, PTI, can simply ignore the opposition. Some of PTI’s immature legislators who are careless in the use of vocabulary are a permanent source of bad blood with the opposition. So are government’s official and non-official spokesmen who think the best way to please the PM is to provoke the opposition, cast aspersions on PPP and PML-N and insult their leaders. What is more, serious differences persist between the government and the opposition including the way ailing political leaders are being treated.

The JUI-F’s Azadi march turning into a sit-in and followed by a ‘Plan B’ has lessons both for the government and the opposition. If the PTI thought that no party would be allowed by the establishment to challenge it in the streets, it must have discovered that it was mistaken. The opposition has to realise that the internal weaknesses of the mainstream parties combined with the media trial of their leadership are creating a political vacuum which is being filled by a combination of sectarian outfits, parties confined to one or two provinces and those who use the religion card to seek political power. The development has the potential to create a Pakistani version of the BJP.