When in a hole, stop digging

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  • The government, opposition talks

One of the positive outcomes of the Azadi March is the initiation of a serious dialogue between the government and the opposition. The government seems to have realized that to complete its tenure it cannot continue to ignore developing working relations with the opposition and holding meaningful dialogue with it. The change of discourse from non-parliamentary language to an urbane idiom is a welcome development. After two meetings with the opposition on consecutive days, the government team’s leader said they are trying to find a middle ground with the opposition to break the ongoing deadlock.

Had the government abided by the supremacy of the Constitution, there would have been no need to demand the PM’s resignation or re-election or not entrusting the Army with any election related task. Months after the PTI government came to power the leaders of both the PPP and PML-N offered their cooperation to the PM provided he acted in accordance with the Constitution. The offers were rejected out of hand.

Violating the principle of the rule of law, cases were initiated by the NAB against opposition leaders while ignoring the corrupt in the ruling party, while the government exhorted the Bureau to act more speedily in awarding opposition leaders heavier punishments. Pemra was employed to stifle the media. The government connived with or passively witnessed transgression by certain institutions and departments into others’ domain in violation of the constitutional provisions. The Prime Minister ignored the National Assembly by remaining mostly absent from it while the PTI leadership encouraged party legislators to use unparliamentary language against the opposition. The Parliament’s prerogative to make laws was usurped by the executive which decided to rule by ordinances. The Supreme Court judgment in the Faizabad sit-in case still remains unimplemented.

The best way to ensure internal security and stability, rightly cherished by the corps commanders, is for every institution to work strictly within the sphere allotted to it by the constitution.  The Parliament should make laws, the executive should run the country lawfully, the courts should dispense justice and the army should defend the geographical borders of the country. Disturbing the constitutional equilibrium can harm the country. Use of force against social movements seeking to restore the equilibrium has caused irreparable national losses.