Risks of playing hardball with opposition

  • PM needs to walk a fine line


One had hoped that a 48-hour respite from a strenuous schedule would cool down the strung-up Prime Minister, leading him to build upon the recent positive developments in Parliament. The PTI had reached a rare understanding with the opposition on bringing back 11 ordinances for debate in the National Assembly. The PM had also constituted a committee of the ruling party’s parliamentarians to pass laws through consensus with the opposition. The outburst against the leadership of three opposition parties combined with a message to the judiciary to restore public confidence in the institution was therefore unexpected. That courts have recently delivered verdicts that were not to his liking should have led the PM to undertake introspection instead of giving an angry response

Former PM Nawaz Sharif has left Pakistan. The LHC had removed the conditions put by the PTI government. Henceforth it is a matter between Mr Nawaz Sharif and the court. The best way for the PM now is to concentrate on the serious issues that trouble the common man. His performance will not be judged from cases registered against political opponents, but from his ability to deliver on the promises made to the electorate. Unless there is an is an end to political uncertainty, there is little likelihood of investment and job creation.

The anti-corruption campaign should have been conducted firmly but without creating the perception of a witch hunt with a political bias. When everybody from the PM and cabinet members down to party’s social media trolls get involved in the campaign with frenzy, they are bound to generate panic in society. With NAB, FIA and the FBR in full cry, the demoralised bureaucracy is reluctant to sign papers and the business community is hesitant to invest.

It is time for Mr Imran Khan to stop playing Messiah and let the system work. No single party, let alone a single individual, can resolve the complex issues facing the country. What is required instead is collective wisdom. For this the Prime Minister has to help make Parliament functional by seeking the opposition’s support instead of hurling challenges and mimicking his opponents.