It is unfortunate that despite being 75 years old, the country’s political and economic crisis is far from over. The leaders bereft of acumen and sensibility continue to exchange barbs in Assembly as well as through press conferences using derogatory language against each other crossing all moral frontiers.
The political disarray and instability have impacted the Economy to the extent that the Dollar has rocketed upwards while the rupee continues to lose its value and slipped to its bottom due to falling exports and depleting foreign exchange reserves. IMF program on tough conditions and regulations has jolted the whole economic system and turbulent political instability has further worsened the situation to an alarming condition ahead if the incompetence continues to haunt the economic policies
In such circumstances, the political parties should show restraint and take serious steps to resolve this impasse that has overcast the clouds of uncertainty. The people are more concerned regarding the state and the fear of default than their political parties or dirtiest political conspiracies and tactics to stick to corridors of power.
They have almost forgotten their role as reformers and problem solvers and instead just created such a mess that is deteriorating the situation each passing day. The mainstream parties such as PPP, PML–N, and JUI have joined hands to defend their overtures whether taking place by hook or crook. Their 15-party coalition seems to be at daggers drawn towards PTI as they have forgotten their national role to take the people out of the crisis. PTI is under the radar of the ruling coalition as the narrative built by Imran Khan has dusted their political future.
The tested and tried parties have got the power through the conspiracy, though they claim to have the legitimate right to rule the country by amending NAB laws and depriving overseas Pakistanis of the right to Vote fearing that extending the right to vote and EVM may take these corrupt elements out of Election Winning race.
Since they are well aware that the overseas Pakistanis have strong support for PTI so they want them out of the electoral process. The evil designs of this rejected class are crystal clear that they are not sincere with those expats from whose exchange Pakistan economy gets strong support.
Politics of revenge
Furthermore, the governance crisis in the biggest province of Pakistan – Punjab – has further aggravated the situation. Since the resignation of CM Usman Buzdar, Punjab is being run either on an Adhoc basis without any Government or as Trust. The musical chairs between Hamza Shahbaz and Chaudhry Pervez for Punjab’s top slot have already messed up the situation and created a political crisis. Though the Supreme Court decision in favor of PTI Nominee Chaudhry Pervez Ellahi has so far cleared the air for time being.
Luckily, PTI and PML-Q coalition has been successful in installing their Government in Punjab and winning Speaker and Deputy Speaker’s slots. Though, the PML-N-led coalition has challenged the Speaker Election in the High court which is also ringing alarm bells if the high court terms the Speaker’s Election null and void.
It is beyond understanding that on the one hand PTI demands General Elections to bring political and economic stability to the country but on the other hand, it wants to hold provincial governments of KPK and Punjab. Especially, after regaining power in Pakistan’s largest provinces, PTI seems to have backed out from its demand for General Elections.
The existing Constitutional crisis is far from over as both PTI and PDM-led coalition are at loggerheads and making every effort to destabilize the PTI Government in Punjab province as, without it, the coalition appears to be limited to Federation as PTI has Government KPK and Punjab Province.
The politics of revenge, opposition, ego, and stubbornness have shaken the very roots of the country. The economic and political crisis seems to have no signs of end given the polarized and selfish nature of the leaders.
The political imbroglio starting from the no-confidence motion is far from over as it is deepening with each passing day.
Serious concern for Pakistan
The leadership crisis is evident from the prevalent state of affairs when the dollar is rising against the rupee and depleting foreign exchange reserves ring the alarm bells for the country but our political parties being devoid of sensibility continue infighting over the lust for power or throne.
The Political theatre has opened many fronts that are increasing the risky journey ahead that including electoral reforms, delimitation, falling rupee, and terms of engagement with the IMF program and efforts to get the IMF tranche released. Even the Army chief approached the US to expedite the release of tranche so the emerging economic crisis could be tackled and falling foreign exchange reserves could be increased.
The fuel price hike has already created inflation costing heavy to common men but the so-called coalition parties in power just show their teeth in mass gatherings that everything is going fine. Their non-serious attitude shows that they will not provide any relief to common people. They are concerned for the power and want to retain it for a long time as they believe that PTI after the en masse resignations saga, are out of the contest and they will not experience any opposition as PTI is not mulling over returning to Parliament terming the multi-party coalition as a mixed pickle.
The PTI terms the coalition as an imported Government since it was formed with external support. If the PTI MNAs return to Assembly, they will have the feeling that on their Government benches, they will find those criminals who were either convicted or sentenced.
Meanwhile, the acceptance of 11 MNAs of PTI by the Speaker National Assembly and their subsequent denotifying notification by the Elections Commission of Pakistan has added fuel to fire in the already polarized and turbulent political situation.
Fearing the adverse decision in the alleged Foreign Funding case by the Election Commission of Pakistan, the PTI passed Resolutions in both Punjab and KPK Assemblies demanding the resignation of the Chief Election Commissioner. Even PTI has decided to register a reference in the Supreme Court of Pakistan against Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and Members.
The establishment being neutral or apolitical must come forward to unite the political forces so that the strategy is devised to revive economic growth and stop the rupee from further losing value. The judiciary is performing very well since it is proactive to help prevent the country from falling prey to turbulent political and constitutional crises.
The Political leaders have their priorities than those of national interest that is causing the economy and stock market to crash.
The political debacle emancipating in Punjab Assembly has engulfed the entire country since all coalition parties were pressing hard to make full court to hear the case of Deputy speaker Mr Dost Mohammad Mazari’s ruling regarding PML-Q Party Chief alleged letter calling the MPAs to vote for Hamza Shehbaz instead of the Parliamentary party nominee Chaudhry Pervez Illahi who had a thumping majority in the House with 186 Votes against Hamza bagging 179 votes. But it was rejected by Supreme Court clarifying that the Full bench is not needed to decide the case and decided the case in favour of Chaudhry Pervez Illahi terming the Deputy speaker’s ruling null and void.
Getting Pakistan on the right track
Since then the Political weather has become very hot and PML N-led coalition Government has built pressure on ECP to announce foreign funding cases of PTI to continue their political rivalry as they want that the PTI should be banned and Imran Khan should be sentenced for receiving funding from Israel and India. Their reliance on the outcome of PTI’s foreign funding case is aimed at political rivalry with PTI chief Imran Khan and his party due to its narrative of corruption.
The decision was reserved for eight years but finally, it is being announced after the ruling coalition exerted too much pressure on the Election Commission of Pakistan. The PTI will eventually challenge the decision. Political analysts are of the view that the Political crisis will further deepen and will further aggravate economic conditions and the Pakistani Rupee slide against Dollar.
It is the need of the hour to have the charter of Economy and reach the consensus to hold early General Elections so that the Economic and Political situation may be stabilized with a new Government with a simple majority whoever gets it.
The concerns and fears do predict that ECP’s sudden decision to announce the foreign funding case will create the worst political crisis which will risk the economy and provide the opportunity to the country’s foes to conspire against the fragile state of affairs.
Let’s hope that whatever happens, it should not have any adverse effect on the country’s disarrayed political arena because the economic crisis, increasing Power tariffs, and skyrocketing inflation that has already made the life of common men miserable and the uncertain situation presenting a grim outlook that is dangerous for the country.
It is imperative for all the parties to sign a charter of the Economy so that economic conditions could be improved. It is in the national interest to have an apolitical COE that can put the economy on the right track.
Abdul Rahman Malik is a Policy Researcher, Governance Specialist, and Development Sector Professional having worked for Asian Development Bank and other National and International Development Organizations. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.