No permanent friends or foes in politics

  • PPP quits opposition ‘alliance’

The PTI has the highest number of votes in the electoral college. The opposition is therefore incapable of defeating Arif Alvi even it was to put up a joint candidate. The only difference is that with the opposition’s votes divided, the margin of Alvi’s victory would be larger.

The PTI is the only party which has representation in all the elected houses, with 251 votes of its party members in the 706-vote-strong electoral college, the tally going up to a formidable 314 when the votes of its seven party alliance are also counted. Both Fazlur Rehman and Aitzaz Ahsan had built up unrealistic hopes of making inroads into the solid bloc of 15 Senators despite the fact that they had all voted for the PTI supported Chairman Senate and 20 MQM legislators who had supported Imran Khan for the slot of prime minister.

In view of the hostility prevailing between the PML-N and PTI the hastily formed alliance of the opposition parties was aimed solely at protesting against unfair practices during the elections. However, cracks started appearing soon after its formation. The opposition failed to stage a big protest as planned and did not even wear black bands on their arms, as decided, to express their rejection of the ‘massively rigged’ July 25 elections. Coldness prevailed between the PPP and PML-N during the MNAs’ oath taking ceremony. It was widely noticed that Shahbaz Sharif simply ignored the PPP leadership, compared to Imran Khan who greeted both Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

In the next five years the PML-N and PPP would come together only when it suits both to do so. The PML-N and MMA are likely to stay together longer as their relation with PTI is marked by vindictiveness. The PPP will however formulate its response on the basis of each issue that arises, opposing government moves that do not suit it while supporting those that benefit the party. The stand taken by Khurshid Shah on Local Governments is the latest example of the policy. The entire opposition may come together only on issues that affect all.