Opposition falling over itself

  • Not so united

“It is important for Pakistan that the opposition comes together,” Ahsan Iqbal, acting PML-N secretary general, said on Saturday even as his party, as well as PPP, seemed more interested in scoring points against each other than erecting a robust opposition. The way the two parties are trying to arm-twist each other in favour of their preferred candidates, now for the position of president, betrays an egotistical, not mature, way of doing politics. First they couldn’t agree on a PM candidate despite going the extra mile to improve their numbers for days. Then there was the showdown in Senate; primarily to make a statement – that too within the opposition. And now they are falling over themselves in trying to make the symbolic presidential election nomination as hard as possible.

It is strange, to say the least, that our senior politicians can sometimes behave in such a manner despite being in politics for more than three decades. By disagreeing on every important matter they risk splitting the opposition even before the electoral cycle has properly taken off. Besides, everybody knows that all this noise is largely frustration over losing the election. Therefore, the best job they can do now is gel together, give the impression of a well-oiled machine and give the government a tough time in parliament.

By cutting each other’s legs they will weaken themselves irreparably and rule out any chances of a comeback five years later as well. Our politicians never tire of singing songs of their long struggle against dictatorship, etc, and the perfect, romantic fight for democracy. Yet once in the representative democratic system they (politicians) sadly show little respect for its institutions. Hopefully the opposition will realise that the only viable road open to it is rebuilding its case for the next election; for which its performance on the other side of the aisle will be crucial. And, with any luck, the PTI government will also, finally, set a tradition of giving parliament its due respect by engaging the opposition in a constructive manner.