A positive U-turn needed

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  • To complete tenure

PM Imran Khan deserved the two day rest at Banigala to recover from recent shocks. One was caused by Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Azadi March and the attitude of the PTI allies. Ch Shujaat Hussain prevailed upon the PM not to listen to his favourite “immature advisers” and deal with the marchers with kidgloves. The second shock was caused by the LHC judgment allowing former PM Nawaz Sharif to fly out, striking down the conditions like the indemnity bond and one time leave to fly out. The PML-Q and MQM leaders too demanded that the ailing politician be allowed to leave without conditions.

The government’s legal advisers tried to give the judgment a spin to prove it ‘reinforced the stance of the government’. The judgment however left the PTI’s ‘naïve players’ fuming and fretting. Zulfi Bukhari called the verdict “sad day for the people of Pakistan”. PTI’s social media activists wrung hands calling for a Presidential system where the head of the government can appoint judges of his choice.

Imran Khan’s total and complete concentration on accountability has added to the economic downturn of the country. The rhetoric against the corrupt elements and the repetition of ‘no NRO to anyone’ have sent a message to all institutions that their performance is to be judged from the number of the corrupt nabbed and the amount of looted wealth recovered. The NAB, FIA, FBR and others went after politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats arresting many on mere suspicion and trying to make them confess through nerve breaking methods. The scared bureaucracy stopped to take decisions, the panicked businessmen abstained from investing and the politicians started mulling an agitation

Imran Khan must review his policy to complete his five year tenure. He has to tone down the corruption rhetoric and put breaks on institutions zealously conducting the arrests and trials. He has to develop good working relations with the opposition, reining in PTI’s loose guns and making NA sessions meaningful.  The move to withdraw 11 references for debate was a positive step. So is the decision to form a panel to engage the opposition on legislation. Recourse to streets will end if differences are resolved through a strengthened Parliament with the PM attending its sessions fairly regularly.