What had started as a rosy bonhomie between all opposition quarters as they rolled their sleeves to push Imran Khan out of Islamabad has now been reduced to a confused lot. The grand alliance’s deadline to the prime minister to step down has passed without any retreat from the government.
While the government is steadfast in its determination to not show the opposition any flexibility, the PDM leaders are still grappling from a crisis fast intensifying within their folds. They are still not unanimous about what to do next. Would it be a long march, resignations from assemblies or a parliamentary motion to show nill confidence: no one knows!
A meeting held in December had warned that in case Khan did not step down by January 31, long march’s schedule would be announced the very next day. But now, the leadership is struggling to come to a consensus on its future line of action.
On Sunday, PPP chairperson, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, noted that the opposition parties would “hopefully” discuss its plans at the PDM’s next meeting. What a downhill move!
Apart from PPP, other leaders have kept their mum on the falling dominoes. As for resignations, the constituent parties have also collected the notices of their national and provincial lawmakers, but have now decided against submitting them.
In sharp contrast, our prime minister is increasingly comfortable in Islamabad. His relaxed body language on television (screening of telephonic session with the public), as well as his undeterred resolve to take on opposition members, spell one thing in great detail: he is here to stay!
At a meeting held on Tuesday, he claimed that he was ready to tender resignation only and only if opposition parties returned the money stolen from the nation.
It should be noted that Khan is not ready to take a u-turn on Broadsheet Commission, Qabza Mafia and foreign funding case. He appears even more focused on the government’s plan of introducing open ballot in the
Upcoming Senate polls. Going by his passion for speed as a former fast bowler, PM Khan is on a head-on collision with those who are after his seat. As opposed to his strong-handed approach to opposition, the premier has not tightened his grip around his inner circle. His ministers have now jumped to the occasion; ready with an epitaph on PDM. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi quipped on Saturday, “(Opposition members) have started saying that they will resign from assemblies at an appropriate time,” sarcastically calling 2023 the “appropriate time.”
Meanwhile, Information Minister Shibli Faraz claimed that the opposition had been exposed over its “resignations’ drama.”
Coming from a high position, following decency and letting the disoriented movement depart on its own would have cemented Khan’s administration as a political genius. He could avert this political crisis without his team even lifting a finger. Another crucial avenue remains sustenance of inter-party unity. The PTI is largely safe from the ongoing attacks but whether it can protect itself from internal squabbles depends upon the competence of its top brass As is evident from major setbacks in showing unity or public support to fuel a movement big enough to ouster the administration, it is probably game over for the opposition movement. The parties’ (especially PPP) inconsistency that largely stems from their own goals and approach has led to confusion beyond imagination within PDM ranks.
How will the movement unfold? Is PDM being politically wise or employing unneeded caution? Only time will tell. For now, their spirited campaign seems to have fallen to ashes!