ISLAMABAD: As the National Assembly begins a monsoon session on Monday, all eyes will be fixed on the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) as to how it conducts itself after a judicial commission threw out its challenge to the present parliament.
According to political observers, a public remorse for damage suffered in different spheres ranging from national economy to diplomatic embarrassments to loss of children’s school days in Islamabad from over four months of a PTI-led sit-in, in the capital last year seems in order.
PTI chairman Imran Khan has shown no willingness to summon some sportsman’s spirit of his cricket days and, instead, suggested that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif apologise for delaying the formation of the judicial commission to probe allegations of an organised rigging of the 2013 general elections and thus forcing a sit-in outside the parliament house by the PTI and its non-parliamentary ally PAT of Allama Tahirul Qadri.
Any show of hubris, along with a debate on the commission report as demanded by opposition leader Khursheed Ahmed Shah, is likely to provoke fireworks in the house, which is due to meet at 4pm after a month’s recess and, according to a tentative calendar, could last until Aug 13.
Although the prime minister refrained from claiming a victory in his address to the nation after the commission issued its report on Thursday and Imran Khan too accepted it with reservations, questions of victory and defeat are bound to arise in a debate.
The PTI could also come under pressure if the government-allied Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam presses for the adoption of its pending resolution asking Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq to accept the resignations submitted by PTI lawmakers at the start of their protest in August.
While neither the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N nor the PTI seem in a mood to forgive and forget, Khursheed Shah of the Pakistan People’s Party could provide the mean course of claiming a victory for parliament, which at one point seemed threatened during its siege in August by tens of thousands of protesters demanding a resignation by the prime minister and fresh elections.
Other major issues likely to be discussed during the session include the devastation caused by recent floods triggered by monsoon rains and fresh tensions with India following clashes along the Line of Control in Kashmir.
Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2015