By Sankar Ray
Political pyrotechnics in Pakistan touched a high point with the decisive victory of three-time Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan People’s Party, pulling a shock victory defeating the ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. It raised the PPP strength in the 100-seat Pakistan Senate, the upper house in the Pakistani parliament to 20 and taking the tally of Pakistan Democratic Movement to 53 against 47 of the ruling group of which the PTI strength is 26.
In his latest column in Lahore-based The Friday Times editor Annam Seth in his piece , captioned, ‘Saab pebhaari Asif Zardari’ hinted at the simultaneous beginning of the process of defeat of Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi and his party, PTI and opening of the pathway for the victory of PDM in the next National Assembly elections, scheduled in 2023. But at the moment visible is King Khan’s immediate setback in the election for the Senate Chairman, due on 12 March. The unanimously chosen PDM candidate is Gilani who will take on the PTI nominee Sadiq Sanjrani.
Significantly, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz stated bluntly, “We would do everything necessary for winning,” while taking potshot at the Opposition, accusing the latter of always violating rules and using money.
The Opposition is skeptical about a clean electoral process. The PDM President Fazlur Rehman and chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam alleged that intelligence agencies tried to subvert the recent Senate election and if the latter resort to similar thing, PDM would make “all facts” public. At a press conference, flanked by the Pakistan Muslim League vice-president Maryam Nawaz and PPP co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, he termed both vote of confidence obtained by the PM in the National Assembly and the assembly session unconstitutional. “There is no provision in the Constitution that the prime minister or government should move a summary to convene the National Assembly session for the confidence vote.”
Constitutional experts think that the motive behind holding a vote of confidence for the premier was to ascertain which party members switched allegiances in the Senate elections. Unlike the Senate election, National Assembly lawmakers cast their votes through an open ballot, not secret ballot. According to Islamabad -based legal expert Osama Malik, “Those who revolted against the PTI could be disqualified under election laws. But the decision to go in for confidence vote was an indication that the PTI boss was already in a footloose state – a state of unnerved isolation.
Obviously, Maryam didn’t let an opportunity to banter the government’s announcement of Sanjrani’s candidature, questioning why the PTI could field its candidate when it did not enjoy majority. Bilawal Bhutto, replying to a question said that the government wanted to keep Yusuf Gilani out of race for the Senate chairman. Which was why Central Election Commission was moved to withhold the notification of his success.
Sethi, keeping up his chagrin towards ‘Miltablishment’ thriving on the patronage of which King Khan reigns, found the PTI’s worry “writ large on Imran Khan’s face’ , more so due to PDM’s frontal attack “The Miltablishment decided to loosen its embrace of Imran Khan to protect its eroding credibility. This led to a rout of the PTI by the PMLN in the recent by-elections and emboldened the Election Commission of Pakistan not only to stand its ground but also condemn the PTI administration in the Punjab for electoral fraud and malpractice”.
Pathetically enough the PTI was in an unseemly hurry in trying to stem the tide by petitioning the Supreme Court to disallow secret balloting in the Senate elections only to be appropriately retaliated by a popular wave lauding the CEC’s neutrality. The SC too refused to oblige the ruling clique.
PTI’s image as a populist political party is blurred. A senior functionary of government employees’ association, representing employees of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee under Federal Ministry of Food Security tweeted in desperation that employees ‘are deprived of salaries for 6 months. People are starving with their empty pockets they couldn’t pay utility bills, rent, and school fees, groceries. Plz help us.’
Women under Imran hukmat are increasingly enraged and restive. Benazir Bhutto’s daughter Aseefa B Zardari’s tweets reflect the mood of the other sex “The women of Pakistan have struggled to tear down the walls of patriarchy. As my mother once said, ‘For women leaders, the obstacles are greater, the demands are greater, the barriers are greater, and the double standards are more pronounced’ they fight for respect. They fight for space. They fight for equal opportunity. They fight for others. They fight for themselves. They fight for the women to come. And they stand together for a better today and even a brighter tomorrow”. Indeed Pakistani women have been in the battle ‘from the frontlines of the pandemic to the frontlines of the battlefields. They have given justice, and cultivated their land birthed and nurtured this nation. “They have led with conviction and fought for the rights of all,” a woman counter-tweeted.
TFT editor pitifully reminded the intelligentsia of Miltablishment’s heavy investment in the current hybrid system’ , managed by the PTI supremo. Miltablishment, infamous for its ‘well-trodden history of both seizing power when the moment’ now a popular upsurge, led by the PDM. TFT editor pitifully reminded the intelligentsia of Miltablishment’s heavy investment in the current hybrid system’ under the PTI supremo. Miltablishment, infamous for its ‘well-trodden history of both seizing power when the moment’ now a popular upsurge, led by the PDM. (IPA Service)