Ahmed Ali Khan |
In 2011 threats to former President Asif Ali Zardari by the then CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif to be hanged in the public was referring to Bhati Gate. He alleged that the corruption was touching to its limits being carried out by PPP led government. But the situation has conversely changed when on the floor of the house the two rival parties joined hand together to resist the ongoing corruption round by the government. Both the political adversaries of the past on January 15, 2018, shake a hand as both the parties share issues and problems in common that helped them to make a handshake.
The question is arises as to what were the factors that helped them brought together. It is not rocket science to get into the roots of the recent developments. The two past political enemy is the friends of today. Once thirsty of each other lives are now looking for cooperation. Their rivalry can be measured in the light of Shahbaz Sharif the then CM of Punjab rhetoric against PPP co-chairperson and President Zardari.
PTI was mounting pressure on the status quo in general and the PML -N in particular. PTI was blaming the status quo of stilling the votes of its voters.
In an address to the rally being held in Lahore on October 28, 2011, he said, “we will hang Zardari and his cronies at Bhati Gate.” The rivalry of both the parties is decades old. There was no third party to compete with them. So the government in the center would have shuffled between them. In order, to gain the government in the center and provinces they did not hesitate to coerce each other publically. Furthermore, to defame the opponent in the view of the public, morally and politically to cut down its vote bank even personal attacks were used to make against each other.
Corruption, Kickbacks, and Money laundering were the main allegation that had been raised against each other since long. PPP and PML-N also accused one another of corruption charges. As the government in the center used to be shuffled between them, they always blame each other instead of taking any concrete action. The Charter of Democracy of May 14, 2006, in London, between the then PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto(RIP) and PML-N president Mian Nawaz Sharif was an evidence of their nexus.
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Since the third party has come to challenge the status quo, the two parties are tilting toward each other, as both the parties are to face the common fear of third Force. Sliding of the government into the hands of PTI has made the situation more worrisome for them. There are some factors that helped them to shake hand.
Firstly, PTI campaign against the election of May 2013, in which PML-N has come victorious, alleged to be rigged on a high scale in favor of N League. PTI was mounting pressure on the status quo in general and the PML -N in particular. PTI was blaming the status quo of stilling the votes of its voters. As PPP was also part of the status quo sided with the government. PTI mass movement compels them to come to the same point to thwart the movement jointly.
The accountability court on Dec 24, 2018, convicted former PM Nawaz Sharif and Sentenced to seven years in prison in Al-Azizia case. The court also imposed a fine of $ 25 million in Al-Azizia case.
The building of a relationship between them was getting momentum as the Sit-in was going prolonged in 2014. Throughout this period both the parties approached each other cautiously in contrast to their past. The apology of Shahbaz Sharif to Zardari in 2015, is an evidence of this fact. He said, while talking to the media,” I have apologized before, and if you say I will apologize again” prior to this Shahbaz Sharif had been harshly criticizing Asif Ali Zardari in the past when he was serving as the president.
Secondly, the sliding of power from their hand into the hand of PTI, which highly critic of the two parties alleged them of corruption and question their loyalty toward the state. The ruling party of the previous tenure is no more in power. PML-N also lost the government of Punjab, where they had ruled for many terms. Nevertheless, they are not in government in Punjab but still have a political stake in the province.
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The same is the dilemma with PPP in center and provinces, once called chain of all the provinces, restricted to only Sindh. PPP is in government but not having such that majority to ruled out any change in the setup. As the opposition grand alliance and central government mulling the option to topple PPP government and to impose governor rule. Both the parties feel insecurity as Vote bank of PPP and PML-N has taken over by PTI.
Thirdly, the last but not the least, the derive against corruption by the government is a Headache for the status quo parties. To punish the corrupt and put them behind the bars was one of the promises of PTI. The PM Imran Khan has embarked upon himself to punish everybody involved in corruption. Which evidence can be seen in the recent corruption crackdown by the government against political leaders and other accused. Whose base was, fortunately, provide by Panama papers scandal.
With the entrance of third force in the politics of Pakistan, both the parties feel insecure. In recent few years, both the parties were cautious about the power of PTI.
In July 2017, the then PM Nawaz Sharif disqualified by Supreme Court of Pakistan. But the miseries did not finish here. The accountability court on Dec 24, 2018, convicted former PM Nawaz Sharif and Sentenced to seven years in prison in Al-Azizia case. The court also imposed a fine of $ 25 million in Al-Azizia case. The PML-N current president is not spared from the brunt of the crackdown. He has also been questioned and later arrested by NAB in Ashiana Housing Scheme. On Dec 6, 2018, has sent to the kotlakpat jail. Many other prominent leaders of PML-N has also under the trap in corruption charges.
The same is the issues with PPP leadership. They are also under scrutiny by the federal investigation Agencies. Former president Zardari and his sister had also been asked to appear before FIA, JIT on Nov 28, 29, 2018 respectively in money laundering charges. The name of Zardari its sister Faryal Talpur and even the Name of Chief Minister of Sindh have been placed on ECL. Sharing the common danger of corruption derive force them to joined hands and come up with one voice to challenge the government.
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Government is busy in Anticorruption campaign to bring the culprits to the justice. On the other hand, the opposition blaming the government stance against corruption is one of politically motivated and based on revenge and political victimization. The opposition also criticizes NAB of partiality and discrimination to pressurize it. They also demanding changes in the rules and regulations of NAB. These are the problems that both the parties shares in common and consider a threat to their leadership and political power.
To protect their respective interests both the parties are applying the prominent axiom” the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” That is why both the parties joined hand in hand to counter government efforts against corruption etc. Which is evident from the reception given to Zardari on his arrival to the national assembly by PML-N parliamentarians and later had a handshake by Shahbaz Sharif, PML-N president on Jan 15, 2018.
The future of this stalemate is seemed nowhere to be resolved as the opposition parties change their behavior and rhetoric from that of Bhati Gate to parliament.
With the entrance of third force in the politics of Pakistan, both the parties feel insecure. In recent few years, both the parties were cautious about the power of PTI. They had a similar point of view but hesitated to directly support each other but they did so indirectly. Before the handshake, they were struggling separately which now they think were costly. But now they want to build a common front against the government. As their intentions reveal that they are discussing joint agitation against government actions.
With the passing of every single day, the pressure is mounted on the opposition by the government as it moves the campaign forward. On the other hand, the opposition by joining hand also is an existential threat to the government. That will lead to more chaos in a political system in the already chaotic political environment.
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An unstable political system conversely affects the economy of the state and halt the way foreign direct investment. That would lead to further devastation of the already paralyzed economy. Neither the government nor the opposition is ready to step back from their stances. The future of this stalemate is seemed nowhere to be resolved as the opposition parties change their behavior and rhetoric from that of Bhati Gate to parliament.
The Views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.