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Burying the hatchet: Nawaz’s timely gesture

May 16, 2013

AFTER a campaign dominated by mudslinging, two of the victors of the May 11 vote seem to have decided to end the friction between them. On Tuesday, in a magnanimous gesture, Nawaz Sharif visited Imran Khan in hospital, gave him a bouquet and offered to “bury the hatchet” now that the elections were behind them. The man destined to be prime minister a third time said he had nothing personal against the PTI chief and that he wanted the two to have “a working relationship to steer the country” out of crisis. Even though we have no word directly from Mr Khan, a spokesperson for the party said that he had reciprocated the PML-N chief’s gesture. A cricket player himself, Mr Sharif offered “a friendly match” to the victor of the 1992 cricket World Cup after the latter recovered. Later, Mr Sharif told newsmen Mr Khan congratulated him on his electoral triumph, and the PML-N chief believed the PTI had the right to form government in KP.

In the aftermath of an election that has given the people a renewed confidence in the political process, all politicians have to realise the vital role they have to play in consolidating democracy. Because four military interventions have worked against the evolution of a refined democratic system, the country has been witness to an abysmally low political culture. Often, the opposition aims at nothing higher than bringing down the government irrespective of the consequences. This myopic attitude must change. Political differences should not be allowed to turn into personal enmity and taken to a level where the very survival of the system is threatened, as seen quite a few times during the last five years. Ignoring some genuine complaints of electoral fraud, all parties have by and large accepted the results. On Tuesday, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, whose PPP is the second largest party in the National Assembly, accepted the people’s mandate and pledged to work for democracy. Let’s hope the promises now being made are kept.