By Sardar Khan Niazi
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader, the former Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has announced the ending of Long March. The PTI central leader gave this announcement soon after the tragic incident of firing on Imran Khan’s container at Wazirabad.The PTI Long March was slowly inching toward Islamabad when the firing took place at Imran Khan’s container in which he including the close aide of PTI chief Senator Faisal Javaid, Imran Ismael, Ahmed Nasir Chattha, Imran Yousaf, and others were injured at Allahwala Chowk. They were shifted to the local hospital immediately for medical assistance.
Imran Khan received a bullet in his leg and was rushed away from the gathering to a hospital on a stretcher with a strict security cordon laid around him. The firing caused panic among the marchers, which triggered a stampede in which many people also got injured. The DPO has said that the police have arrested two people in connection with the firing on PTI’s long march container.
It is very shocking that no security arrangements were there despite the threat conveyed to PTI by the police. Whether it was the taxing inflation or people’s despair with the rising power cost, a complete reluctance of the PDM government to pay attention to the dilemma of the people, or the upsetting voices of the flood victims in the deluge-ravaged areas, the marchers had no scarcity of reasons to complain.
Apparently undeterred by the federal government’s threats to deal with any lawlessness, Imran Khan was marching forward. On the sixth day of March, he said the turnout of the PTI Long March in Islamabad and Rawalpindi would break all records of public gatherings in Pakistan. He warned that nobody should think our movement would end in Islamabad, it will continue for the next 10 months until we do not have elections.
The May 25 long march had ended in complaints mainly because of the use of massive force by the government. Control over the Punjab administration at that time had allowed the federal government to block the marchers. However, the situation has completely changed now with the return of the PTI government to the Punjab province.
It may not be that easy for the current government to control the situation after this firing incident. Still, it is too early to guess the outcome of this war of nerves. With the PTI controlling the two most powerful provinces, it has worsened the PDM government’s predicament.
A weakening economic situation and growing inflation have given huge energy to the PTI Long March. The government should have understood that Imran Khan was changing his mind a lot, which clearly indicated that it was a part of his strategy to keep some doors open for compromise.
Imran Khan’s opponents said that he was creating chaos and unrest in the country, while the PTI chief said the PDM government was harming the national interest by disallowing a fresh mandate for people to decide who could govern them.
They also alleged Imran Khan through his enthusiasm for power was strengthening the hands of the foreign-sponsored separatists who were out to endanger the stability and the integrity of Pakistan.
They said popularity among the foreign-sponsored separatists was a threat to the solidity and strength of the country, therefore, it must not have been overestimated or commended instead any such trend should have been nipped in the bud.
There was a need to find a political solution to end the deadlock. Perhaps, the PDM government seemed to be unaware of the reality on the ground. What type of government is it, reduced to just an Islamabad enclave, and is refusing to get a mandate from the voters?