Amir Mateen
ISLAMABAD: Political winds seem to be turning fast against PTI/PAT sit-ins.
With Imran Khan issuing daily strictures against everything and everyone that moves on two legs, the counter attack at Parliament was not less lethal. Political parties seemed unanimous in condemning Imran Khan and his boringly repetitive harangue. It is perhaps the first time in our history that an opposition party is castigated by its opposition pals more than the sitting government. Yet nobody calls it friendly opposition.
Surely, Imran Khan’s politics is set for a roller-coaster drive — no matter what scenario you might take. Imagine that his best-possible dream materialises and Big Khan becomes the Prime Minister. Though it seems hard to imagine, considering his bull-in-a-china-shop image, life would not be easy because of the precedents that the mighty Khan keeps setting.
What moral authority will Imran Khan the PM have about the sanctity of his office — forget about the supremacy of the Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Constitution. Who will stop marauding political gangs from attacking state institutions? Only the politically naïve will think that the PML-N, the PPP or the JUI don’t have the capacity to bring around a few thousand hordes to D-Chowk. The spectre of Jamaat-ud-Daawa joining in to replace PAT is hair-raising. Imagine how Imran Khan will have the moral authority to sermon about the rule of law after having given calls for civil – disobedience, nonpayment of taxes, violation of Red Zone and attacks on PM House, and what not.
Funny that Imran Khan’s life will be more hellish if he returns to opposition benches on, as they say, the earlier salary. That is if the mighty Burki/Niazi Pathan curbs his elephantine ego and swallows back his solemn oath of seeking “death or PM resignation.” We look forward to watch Imran Khan absorbing the rebuttals from the very parliamentary lot that he keeps declaring as “chor, dakoos.” We saw a glimpse of that when one opposition member after another stood up to poke holes in Imran Khan’s combo of “fairy tales, pack of lies, absurdities” put-together.
National Party’s Kamal Bungalzai was the first one to challenge Imran Khan to understand the reality of Balochistan. Surely, Imran Khan can’t talk on behalf of the province where he does not have a single member. ANP’s Senator Ilyas Bilour suggested Imran to first deliver the ‘Camelot’ that he had promised to the KP voters. He alleged that the governance in the KP was far from perfect, adding, “people are dying in floods and refugee camps while Pervaiz Khattak dances here in Islamabad.” Showing a rare sense of humour, Chaudhary Nisar had earlier suggested that we might just issue Khattak’s picture as a “Lost CM.”
But the most deadly attack was unleashed by Senator Saeed Ghani who, as a quintessential jiyala, is one of the last Mohicans in the new PPP. He believed that Imran Khan has now taken upon himself the divine role of declaring that who will go to hell, and who will not. The crux of his rebuttal was: The only way to improve the system is from within. It is far easier to criticise without offering a solution.
Ghani was spot on when he said that “the PTI drama was scripted from day one.” He pointed out that PTI’s Mahmoodur Rasheed had spilled the beans about the conspiracy in a talk show. The idea was to involve the khakis through a SC stricture after storming the PM House and the Parliament. The Courts were extra vigilant in the case of the PPP but “why can’t the Supreme Court issue orders to clear the Constitution Avenue mess.” The implication was that the establishment and the courts were reluctant because the whole crisis was intra-Punjab affair. The reaction would have been stronger if anybody from the smaller provinces would have dared to attack Islamabad. The resonance of this double standards pertaining to Tahirul Qadri’s call for writing slogans on currency notes was heard in the parliament lobbies also. Senator Saifullah Magsi repeated what was being talked about in the social media that Ghous Bux Bizenjo was sentenced for 14 years for a similar offence.
Many agreed with Ghani’s idea of pleading before the Supreme Court to invoke Article 190 of the Constitution asking the army to clear the Constitution Avenue. Others opposed the move to involve the army and using even the civilian force. Still others believed that Dharnas are dying out anyway. The law of diminishing returns is at work and the more Imran Khan stretches it the more he will lose. The government will continue tightening the noose by picking up more PTI/PAT vigilantes to scare away the crowds. But many are sick and tired of the mess and want a faster solution.
This might be the test of nerves more for the government than the PTI/PAT. One wrong step could reverse the moral high ground that the PML got from showing restraint after the Model Town fiasco.
Tail piece 1: Senator Raza Rabbani came out with joint parliamentary committees that should go a long way forward in strengthening the civilian institutions. The most important proposal was to have a parliamentary committee that could oversee national security. We believe that this was in the context of initiating civil-military relations in a positive way. Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadir was perhaps overly skeptical in viewing military as part of the executive, which gives the government the sole right to deal with the “sensitive matter” alone. Come on General! The PML (N) government does not have the capacity to dare suggest reforms to the military—particularly after Dharnas. Perhaps Senator Raza wanted the government to share its burden with the parliament instead of pursuing its usual go-alone approach. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a win-lose situation!
Tail piece 2: We always thought that Saeed Ghani was a fellowplebeian. His defense of parliamentarians’privileges was shoddy. The public anger that PPP’s Rehman Malik and Ramesh Kumar faced on a PIA airliner is perhaps a national outcry against VIP culture. It’s sickening!
The News
September 18, 2014