Political tightrope


All is not lost. PML(N) Chief Mian Nawaz Sharifs assertion that he is prepared to cooperate with the government provided President Zardari implements the Charter of Democracy must have brought some respite to the PPP leadership from the crisis caused by the JUI(F)s angry exit from the ruling coalition over the summary dismissal of its minister.

The JUI(F)s departure triggered a flurry of political activities and the government was seen scrambling to find new allies. Besides re-establishing its contacts with the PML(Q) the PPP leadership also approached the like-minded group in a bid to retain its majority in the National Assembly in case the MQM also walks out of the coalition. On the other hand, the PML(Q) and its breakaway faction were also contacted by the governments estranged allies but the JUI(F) failed to muster any support on the issue of in-House change. The crisis began long before the sacking of the two federal ministers over corruption and mudslinging at each other. It was the Reformed General Sales Tax on which the government faced resistance not only from the opposition but also from its coalition partners. Expediency continued to take precedence over national interest. The governments decision to shelve the imposition of the RGST for the next few months is quite unfortunate but then that was the only possible way out to defuse the prevailing crisis. It however provides a breathing space to the political parties to get their act together.

Mian Nawaz deserves appreciation for distancing himself from the political machinations aimed at destabilising the system and his gesture needs to be reciprocated by the PPP leadership. Hopefully, it will become visible after Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharifs meeting with Prime Minister Gilani. At the same time, this message should trickle down to the cadres in order to stop the likes of Babar Awan and Rana Sanaullah from driving a wedge between the mainstream parties by making provocative statements against each others leaders.